THE first session of the Fermanagh Festival normally provides the best of the racing, however, with the extra efforts now required to stage the meeting, organisers need more support from trainers and owners. Rain in advance saw the going on Friday turn soft.
‘Marinero’ claiming the lady riders open to allow winning rider, Maxine O’Sullivan go two ahead in the Ladies Championship from rival Moira McElligott. The winner, the first of a hat trick for Derrylin trainer, David Christie at his home venue, led at the penultimate fence and quickly asserted from ‘Creadan Grae’, which was prominent for most of the contest.
O’Sullivan’s advantage was quickly reduced to one in the following race, when McElligott sprang a surprise with ‘Vinnies Nephue’ beating the major fancy, ‘Ask D Man’ in the three winners event and the winner trained by William Murphy will be campaigned until the end of the season in the rider’s quest to claim the title – the duo having shared the crown with Liz Lalor in a three-way tie last season, while O’Sullivan has already been champion five times in past years.
Banbridge trainer, Gerry Cosgrave, who produced the unbeaten mare ‘Honeysuckle’ – winner of both the Irish and Cheltenham Champion Hurdle earlier this year – claimed the concluding race with another mare, ‘Spring Park Lady’ on her debut, while providing Declan Lavery with the first leg of a weekend double at the venue.
The Warren Ewing trained, ‘Git Maker’, with Barry O’Neill in the saddle, claimed the geldings maiden for the Ballyclare handler and is due in the Doncaster sales ring this week.
Rider, Jack Hendrick was another to land a brace of winners at the Fermanagh meeting, when winning the opening mares maiden on the Cormac Doyle trained, ‘Call Her Now’. The winner made all the running, beating a pair of Colin Bowe trained runners and is bred in the purple, being out of a sister to the great ‘Denman’, which included the Gold Cup in his high profile career and will be much sought when offered for sale.
The Paurick O’Connor trained ‘Herewegohoney’ landed the five-year-old mares maiden, partnered by Eoin Mahon.
Friday, May 14
Necarne point to point
First Race: 1) Call Her Now (Jack Hendrick); 2) Motown Maggie; 3) Croi Corcra. 3 1/2 – 1 1/2. 6 ran.
Second Race: 1) Herewegohoney (Eoin Mahon); 2) Harbour Queen; 3) Getalady. 4 – 3. 10 ran.
Third Race: 1) Git Maker (Barry O’Neill); 2) Hymac; 3) Sweet Beat. 10 – dist. 10 ran.
Fourth Race: 1) Marinero (Maxine O’Sullivan); 2) Creadan Grae; 3) Horrendous Hullabaloo. 3 1/2 – dist. 5 ran.
Fifth Race: 1) Vinnies Nephue (Moira McElligott); 2) Ask D Man; 3) Quill Road. 4 1/2 – dist. 4 ran.
Sixth Race: 1) Spring Park Lady (Declan Lavery); 2) Wildfield Ivy; 3) Miss McGugen. 2 – 1/2. 13 ran.