RAY Nicholas no doubt wished for the impossible, or cloning, on Saturday but he had to miss the point-to-point at Kirkistown to travel to Gowran where his six-year-old Telescope gelding Ferns Lock put up another impressive performance when winning the INHSC Tetratema Cup Hunters Chase.
Earlier, at the North Down fixture, the colours of the popular Belfast owner had been carried to victory in the INHSC open for novice riders by Bold Enough who was having his second run – and second win - for Nicholas and the trainer of both horses, David Christie.
The eight-year-old Jeremy gelding, who won a hurdle race and two chases when trained by Henry de Bromhead, began his racing career with Warren Ewing.
Four of the other five races at Kirkistown were won by locally owned and-trained horses (see page 71) but the only locally-bred winner was Ross Crawford’s Annaghbeg who, on his sixth start, landed the Tattersalls NH five-year-old geldings’ maiden by two lengths.
The Conduit bay, who was bred by Alan and Bill Dunlop, is the first of three recorded produce out of the Jimble mare Pawle who failed to win in three outings on the track and six in points.
This is the family of Youlneverwalkalone, Galmoy, Dance Beat, et cetera.
It was a good weekend on the point-to-point front for breeder Colm McHenry whose stock recorded a Sunday double.
At home, the Westerner gelding Prophet’s Corner (ex Knocklayde Rose, by Even Top) made all, on his third start, to land the winners of three at Knockanohill while at Bishops Court in Devon, the seven-year-old Dylan Thomas gelding Macfin (ex Justfour, by Beneficial) won the conditions race for novice riders.
There were two northern-bred winners at Cothelstone in Somerset on Saturday. Bred by the late Brian Kilpatrick, the eight-year-old Califet mare Miss Benjo (ex Henrietta, by Hushang) landed the opening hunt members race.
The following mares’ maiden was won by the Eric Smith-bred Mount Nelson four-year-old Hazels Delight (ex Supreme Hazel, by Old Vic).
Day one of the Cheltenham Festival was dominated by two former northern pointers, the Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) winner Constitution Hill (ex Warren Ewing) and the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) winner Honeysuckle (ex Mark O’Hare).
Earlier on the card, Co Sligo-born Derek Fox partnered Corach Rambler to a second successive victory in the Ultima Handicap Chase.