THE penultimate point to point of the season at Loughbrickland, despite resulting in seven races, saw the photo finish camera kept busy on Saturday. The meeting attracted an excellent turnout of fans and a minute’s silence was held for Bruce Steele, who recently passed away and was a longstanding member of the host hunt and a high profile equine veterinary surgeon known to most in the equestrian community.
Nowhere was the camera more essential than in the feature, when ‘Winged Leader’ and ‘Mighty Stowaway’ were deemed to have dead heated in the open race. The first named, trained by David Christie, improved four out to be alongside the Gordon Elliott trained ‘Mighty Stowaway’, partnered by Rob James, which had attempted to make all. After that, the pair duelled for the advantage and, while the Elliott trained runner looked the winner at the final fence, the locally trained ‘Winged Leader’, with Champion rider Barry O’Neill aboard, rallied to such effect on the run to the line, a dead heat was a fair result.
The opening younger horses maiden was divided, with the first split again requiring the assist of the photo finish camera to determine the result. ‘Lost In Transit’, trained and ridden by Rob James, got the verdict by a head from ‘Issuing Authority’, with ‘Largy Hill’ only a half-length behind the principal pair.
Handler, Matthew Flynn sent out the winner of the second divide, with ‘High Class Hero’ and Brian Lawless aboard boasting high class form in advance of the clear cut victory. Both winners of the opener now head to the Bloodstock sales.
Downpatrick trainer, Pat Turley sent out a very notable newcomer to score on his debut in ‘Gaelic Park’ – a half-brother to the Nicky Henderson trained ‘Chantry House’ – with the camera again providing the result of a short head over runner up ‘Hymac’. The winner, with Declan Lavery aboard, recorded a very game effort and readily dismissed a mistake three from home to challenge on the wide outside on the run to the final fence and quicken best on the run in.
The Downpatrick trainer again was notable at the Cheltenham Sale of point to pointers the previous day, when ‘Hartur D’Arc’ – winner of his maiden at Loughanmore last month – sold for £125,000.
Newry trainer, Liam Lennon sent out ‘School Lane’, with Noel McParlan in the saddle, to land the winners contest at his local venue with the camera deciding the winner had recorded back to back victories by a half-length.
Lennon said: “She’ll go back to the course proper now.”
Larne trainer, Stuart Crawford supplied his brother Ben with his 100th success in the saddle when ‘Burnt Ash’ claimed the mares maiden and the trainer advising is another destined to return to the track proper. Ben recorded his first winner in 2009, again trained by his brother. The Larne rider shared the Northern Championship title with Derek O’Connor in the 2012 season.
The Cian Collins trained ‘Definitely Darsi’ provided All Ireland Champion rider Barry O’Neill with a double, when opening his account in the finale for older horses.
Loughbrickland pt to pt
First Race – Division One: 1) Lost In Transit (Rob James) 7/2; 2) Issuing Authority; 3) Largy Hill. 8 ran. head – 1/2.
First Race – Division Two: 1) High Class Hero (Brian Lawless) 4/1; 2) Spirit Of Legend; 3) Benassi. 8 ran. 4 – 15.
Second Race: 1) Gaelic Park (Declan Lavery) 7/2; 2) Hymac; 3) Top Of The List. 7 ran. short head – 10.
Third Race: 1) School Lane (Noel McParlan) 7/2; 2) Dream On John; 3) Fiston Du Mou. 6 ran. 1/2 – 5.
Fourth Race: 1) Burnt Ash (Ben Crawford) 7/1; 2) Hello Arlene; 3) Griege. 11 ran. 3 – 6.
Fifth Race: =1) Winged Leader (Rob James) 1 /2 fav; =1) Mighty Stowaway (Barry O’Neill) 11/10; 3) Dorking Cock. 4 ran. dead heat – 25.
Sixth Race: 1) Definitely Darsi (Barry O’Neill) 2/1; 2) Henry Africa; 3) Kalamakan. 8 ran. 2 – 6.