ON one bad day weatherwise, but on a good day for following hounds, Irish Horse World hunting correspondent Noel Mullins attended the opening meet of the Iveagh Foxhounds at the Cromie family’s farm in Brague on Wednesday when retiring Master Sarah Dawson was presented with a painting by Liam Clancy.

The artist not only brought up the painting but a horse of his own as well and enjoyed the day’s sport as did several members of the Iveagh Branch who were taking part in the Pony Club hunting certificate course.

Also out was the East Down’s joint-Master Pat Turley. Watch out for Noel’s report on the meet in the Irish Horse World section of this paper in the next couple of weeks.

Sarah, who held an open day at her yard outside Banbridge early last month, will continue to hunt with the Iveaghs.

At time of writing, she was due to have two runners at Down Royal yesterday and one at today’s second session of the Ladbroke Festival of Racing.

Loughbrickland a happy hunting ground on Saturday

THE Co Down Hunt is extremely fortunate that its point-to-point at Loughbrickland last Saturday was so well-supported with every race being sponsored.

Half of the six races were won by northern-trained horses but, disappointingly, only one of these had a local rider on board while only one was bred in Ireland.

Dungannon’s Cormac Abernethy partnered his third winner of the season when the Colin McKeever-trained Forcing Bull made all to land the Dennison JCB five-year-old geldings’ maiden in the colours of race sponsor, Wilson Dennison.

The French-bred Papal Bull bay, who had finished third on his comeback run at Toomebridge at the start of the month, is due to come under the hammer as Lot 32 at next Friday’s Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale.

First runner

McKeever’s son Graham saddled his first runner and winner of the season when Derek O’Connor partnered Shane Wilson’s January Jets to victory in the Barclay Communications open where he beat Colin McBratney’s charge Welsh Saint by two lengths.

The Foxhunters at Aintree is the seasonal target for the successful eight-year-old Presenting gelding who won a hurdle and a chase when in the care of Henry de Bromhead.

January Jets cost McKeever, Wilson and O’Connor £22,000 when they purchased him at Goffs UK’s horses-in-training sale in September.

Following his win under O’Connor second time out in a Ballysteen maiden in April 2019, the gelding had changed hands for €115,000 at Goffs Punchestown Sale early the following month.

Noel McParlan, who was on board Welsh Saint in that open, had earlier filled the same position in the Albert Bartlett winners-of-one where the Caroline McCaldin-trained Ballymagee went down by 13 lengths to David Christie’s charge Ferns Lock.

That British-bred Telescope gelding, who had finished second at Portrush on his first start for the Derrylin trainer, runs for the partnership of Ray Nicholas and Sam Campbell and was ridden by Barry O’Neill.

Necarne hub

There is no point-to-point in the northern region this weekend because of the Ladbroke Festival of Racing at Down Royal but the season is due to resume next Saturday at Castle Irvine, Necarne which is being developed into a real hub for equestrian sports with the Northern Region of Dressage Ireland having held a leg of their winter league there last Sunday.

Templepatrick’s Warren Ewing didn’t have any runners at the Iveagh fixture but, the following afternoon, saddled two at the Meath & Tara meeting in Tattersalls Ireland where, having her second start, the always prominent Bold Reflection when down by two and a half lengths in the opening Tattersalls NH four-year-old mares’ maiden to the newcomer Working Away.

A daughter of Mount Nelson, Bold Reflection, who is heading to the Cheltenham Sale as Lot 38, was ridden by Maghera’s Dara McGill who later partnered Ewing’s Brain Power to a comfortable 16-length success in the open.