THE Ballymacad Foxhounds held their annual point-to-point fixture at Oldcastle in front of a good-sized attendance on a cold and showery Easter Sunday.

The day started with the four-year-old maiden, and it saw a competitive field of 13 line up. On paper, this looked an interesting contest as the field saw a mix of well-bred newcomers and a litmus test of some smart-looking recent placed form.

In a truly-run maiden, it was the Rob James-trained Oak Grove (5/1) that took the honours, putting up a professional performance to see off the persistent challenge of Tommys Law and the newcomer Yalla Habibi.

The Soldier Of Fortune gelding was never far off the pace and led before three out under Finny Maguire battling strongly to hold off all challengers on the climb to home.

Fourth on his debut at Tinahely behind the exciting Break My Soul, the Matchmaker Syndicate-owned gelding is bred in the purple with his winning dam Side Saddle a full-sister to the top-class Voler La Vedette, from the family of Hennessy and Shishkin and had cost connections €75,000 at the 2022 Goffs Land Rover Sale.

Think a lot

“He is a lovely horse. He had a nice run at Tinahely where he didn’t really handle the track. We think a lot of him, and he has a great pedigree. He will head to a sales now,” reported James.

A field of 13 faced the starter for the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden and it was Grand Albert (4/1) who ran out an impressive winner under James Walsh.

The chesnut son of Jet Away had finished third on debut at Lisronagh and he put that experience to good use here in another truly-run race. Towards the head of affairs throughout, he led from three-out to draw 12 lengths clear of Poetry Man with Nevermindestranger.

Trained by Virginia Considine and wearing her colours, the gelding had cost connections just €8,000 as a yearling at Tattersalls and a sales date now beckons as the handler’s husband Dermot explained: “That’s job done now. He is a lovely horse. He got beaten by two smart horses at Lisronagh on debut and has improved since then. He is a lovely horse”

Took the spoils

The field of 10 for the mares’ maiden included five newcomers and it was one of this quintet, Dairylane Daisy (4/1), that took the spoils as she made the journey from Wexford worthwhile for owner-handler John Byrne and rider Barry Stone.

Josie Alice had set a very modest gallop, but Dairylane Daisy took control before the last and stayed on strongly to hold off the fast-finishing Magnetcattraction by a length with ‘Josie Alice’ a neck back in third.

A €13,000 store purchase, the daughter of Kalanisi is now sales bound according to part owner Timmy Farrell who stated: “She is owned by me and Vincent Byrne, and we bought her at Tattersalls. We always liked her and hopefully she will be sold now.”

Easy does it for Bold Enough’s four

THE easiest winner of the afternoon came in the open, as fresh from his Castletown-Geoghegan win the week previously, Bold Enough (4/7 favourite) coasted home by a facile four lengths to record his fourth straight win of the season.

Under champion jockey Barry O’Neill, the Jeremy gelding stalked the pace setting Diese Des Bieffes to the second last, easing clear before the last under a motionless rider and never once coming off the bridle.

Carrying the well-known colours of Ray Nicholas, the three-time track winner seems to be really enjoying the switch of codes and looks a classy open performer in the making with his shrewd handler David Christie giving notice of his intention to embark on a hunter chase campaign.

“He was good there. We could go to Listowel with this horse, then maybe do Stratford as well,” Christie said.


The winners’ of two contest turned into a procession as the favourite Keep Me Posted (6/4 favourite) and Laura Costello galloped and jumped their four other rivals into submission with a convincing 12-length win over a gallant Getaway Lodge with Hes Rockin back in third.

The Shirocco gelding is trained by Thomas Costello and was recording a third career win from just six starts and his jumping was brilliant throughout.

A delighted Laura was recording a third career success and a second win on Keep Me Posted and she explained that making the running wasn’t the plan.

“He travelled well, and I was meant to take a lead, but he jumped his way to the front,” she said. “He gave me my first winner and he gave my sister her first winner. Dad bought him as a yearling and we have had good sport with him, and we will hopefully have a bit more fun with him.”

‘Brilliant’ day for Lee Shanahan

THIS Oldcastle fixture is sure to have a special place in the heart of young Lee Shanahan as he rode his first career winner aboard the Shane Donohoe-owned and trained Brilliant Corners (3/1) in the older maiden confined to novice riders.

Five runners and a very steady gallop saw this turn into tactical affair, and the 22-year-old Dubliner sent his mount to the front four out.

Strongly pressed by Sifaka, this race produced the finish of the day as Brilliant Corners and Shanahan just held on in the tightest of finishes by a short head to deny Sifaka and Abbie Fitzgibbon with Arctic Craft back in third.

The winning handler was full of praise for the young rider as he stated: “I’m delighted for Lee [Shanahan] to give him his first winner, he works for Ross O’Sullivan and is a lovely young lad.” Donohoe was saddling his third winner of the season from just his tenth runner.

Horse to Follow

Tommy’s Law (M. Scallan): This Kingston Hill gelding has been placed second on both his starts to date and made the winner Oak Grove work hard for his victory. He looks a winner in waiting.