Horse and Pony Racing \ Jerry and Aileen Daly

THE Northwest Region kicked off their season in Ramelton, Co. Donegal on Sunday last on what was a memorable day for Tommy Halford, Ethan O’Sullivan and Ruby Kinkaid, all of whom partnered their first winners while Adam Grant took the day’s riding honours with a treble.

Despite the heavy ground after a wet midweek period, some top class racing sent patrons home on good terms with themselves.

Fifteen-year-old Tommy Halford, son of trainer Michael of Copper Beech Racing Stables in Kildare, gave Verstappen an absolute peach of a drive to win the second division of the 12-furlong for his breakthrough winner.

Owned by well-known Kildare farrier Teddy Worrell, Verstappen could well become a Dingle Derby contender next August.

Tramore, Co Waterford jockey Ethan O’Sullivan also landed his first career victory as the 16-year-old who rides out for Peter Fahey partnered We’ll Be Back to victory in the second divide of the mile-race as he made every post a winning one to win for the Letterkenny-based Team Browne Stable.

On a great day for firsts, Dromara, Co. Down 14-year-old jockey Ruby Kinkaid made the perfect start to her pony racing career when landing the Shark Hanlon-sponsored Ladies Derby on Remix for the McLaughlin family-headed Team Mac Syndicate. Ruby rides out for Brian Hamilton’s Downpatrick yard and is a member of the East Down Pony Club.

Athea, Co Limerick owner Pat Collins made his long journey worthwhile as he supplied the Wexford-based Adam Grant with the first two legs of his treble.

Much improved

South Of The Border looks a much improved pony this year and duly followed up his Dartfield success in the 12.2hh contest with a snug victory.

Half an hour later the same combination returned to the winner’s enclosure when Mysterious Lady landed the 13.2hh over six furlongs. The winner had been off the circuit for a long period before being purchased by current connections in the spring.

The Grant treble was completed in the first divide of the mile when Dartfield third Another Plan upset the warm favourite Call The FBI. The winner is owned by Letterkenny’s Shane Gildea.

Kian ‘Tubs’ McNally continued on his winning way when Five Stone Of Lead easily brushed aside her rivals for a facile victory in the mile 14.2hh contest. The winner will be aiming for the big double on champions weekend in Moira.

Last year’s The Irish Field National Champion Rider, Dylan O’Connor, was rewarded for the long journey from his Co Cork base as he registered a double.

All Bets Are Off ran out an impressive winner of the 15hh race over a mile for Mallow owner Maurice Ahern. Way Up North further enhanced his growing reputation when slamming a strong field in the 10-furlong event for owner Christy Kerrigan with multiple winner Bipolar Blondie running strong to secure the second spot.

Kennedy double

Kildare jockey Keithen Kennedy continues to impress and he teamed up with Monasterevin owner Aiden Melia to land a double.

The Highest Level, who made a winning debut in the first division of the mile and a half race, looks a nice prospect for the forthcoming season, while former Dingle Derby hero Mr Bowen revelled in the conditions to win the two-mile from Brandy And Ginger Ale who stayed on stoutly for second place.

Local jockey Patrick McGettiga turned 14 last month and looks like a real star of the future. Having scored on Batman at the opening meeting in Dartfield, he doubled his tally as Fiadh’s Fancy took the novice riders’ race.

The winning jockey will now move up to the bigger pony division in the weeks ahead.

Northwest Horse and Pony Racing Results

Ramelton, Co. Donegal,

Sunday, May 21st

12.2HH Race (6F): 1, P. Collins SOUTH OF THE BORDER (Adam Grant); 2, S. Kerr McNally’s WHERE IT BEGAN (Kian “Tubs” McNally); 3, J.J. O’Keeffe’s TEMPLEHILL TAMARA (Dylan O’Connor).

13.2HH Race (6F): 1, P. Collins MYSTERIOUS LADY (Adam Grant); 2, M. O’Connor’s HOWYABOSS (Dylan O’Connor).

14.2HH Race (1M: 1, S. Kerr McNally’s FIVE STONE OF LEAD (Kian McNally); 2, M. Ahern’s SINONA CARTEL (Dylan O’Connor); 3, S. Crabbe’s LITTLE CHIEF (Keithen Kennedy).

15HH Race (1M): 1, M. Ahern’s ALL BETS ARE OFF (Dylan O’Connor); 2, A. Sweeney’s BLACK JACK (Kyle McHugh); 3, S. Donaghy’s RUBY DIAMOND (Keithen Kennedy).

Open Horse Race (1M) Div. 1: 1, S. Gildea’s ANOTHER PLAN (Adam Grant); 2, I. Worrell’s CALL THE FBI (Kian McNally); 3, Team Holian’s TELL YOU WHAT (Sam Coen).

Open Horse Race (1M) Div.2: 1, Team Browne’s WE’LL BE BACK (Ethan O’Sullivan); 2, A. Scott’s DANNY BOY (Kyle McHugh); 3, D. Burn’s ALLIE (Nicola Burns).

Open Horse Race (10F): 1, C. Kerrigan’s WAY UP NORTH (Dylan O’Connor); 2, S. Crabbe’s BIPOLAR BLONDIE (Adam Grant); 3, Team Mac’s KINNEGAR BOY (Sam Hamilton).

Open Horse Race (12F) Div. 1: I. Worrell’s VERSTAPPEN (Tommy Halford); 2, Team Holian’s BIG BUCKS (Kian McNally); 3, J. Orr’s SILENT PARTNER (Jamie Orr O’Brien).

Open Horse Race (12F) Div. 2: 1, A. Melia’s THE HIGHEST LEVEL (Keithen Kennedy); 2, Team Holian’s TELL US MORE (Sam Coen); 3, M. O’Connor’s IDA’S DREAM (Dylan O’Connor).

Open Horse Race (2M): 1, A. Melia’s MR BOWEN (Keithen Kennedy); 2, I. Worrell’s BRANDY AND GINGER ALE (Tommy Halford); 3, Team Browne’s RHINESTONE COWBOY (Kian McNally).

Shark Hanlon’s Ladies Derby (12F): 1, Team Mac’s REMIX (Ruby Kinkaid); 2, S. Lohan’s REMEMBER ME (Nessa Burns); 3, M. McGee’s FANACANTA (Leah McGee).

Beginners Pony Race (6F): 1, FIADH’S FANCY (Patrick McGettigan); 2, TWITCH IT (Brody Ferry); 3, LUCY (Nina Burns).


• Racing this weekend returns to Dartfield just outside Loughrea, Co. Galway this Sunday, May 28th with a 12 noon start.