ALL roads led to Oldtown on Saturday as Rob James continued his rich vein of form when registering his 300th point-to-point winner aboard his own Jingko Blue, who ran out a strong winner of the four-year-old maiden.

Since his first winner aboard Amber Hill at Tinahely in 2012, James, who won last year’s Scottish National aboard Win My Wings, is currently the 11th winning-most point-to-point rider, just six shy of moving into the all-time top 10.

Jingko Blue (3/1 - 9/2) also provided him with his second four-year-old winner as a handler this season, getting off the mark on his debut in stylish fashion.

Always prominent and travelling sweetly, the Matchmaker Syndicate-owned gelding jumped impeccably throughout before shooting into a three-length advantage two from home.

Although that advantage was reduced coming to the last, the French-bred showed determination and guts to knuckle down to his task and see off the persistent challenge of the runner-up Jersey Des Brosses, looking value for the winning distance of a length.

“He is a very nice horse, who I think a lot off and it’s no surprise to see him go out and win there at the first time of asking,” James said.

O’Neill double

Walks Like The Man (5/2 - 9/4 favourite) initiated Barry O’Neill’s double on the card in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden, displaying a visually impressive performance for his owner James Grace.

The son of Walk In The Park was the market pick for the race by virtue of his excellent debut when brought down two from home while looking likely to have a major say at Ballinaboola two weeks ago.

The Colin Bowe-trained homebred made rapid progress four from home, jumping slickly and went into a close second approaching three out.

He looked to have the beating of the second and eventual faller Redstone when left four lengths clear at the last before another challenge came from the fast-finishing Solo Flight. O’Neill proved too strong in the saddle to oblige by a half-length for favourite backers.

“He is a horse we like, and Barry [O’Neill] give him a great ride, he stays very well, and I’m delighted for James [Grace] who bred him himself,” Bowe said of his 16th winner of the season.

It was the Tuckers Syndicate-owned Annalecka (3/1 - 5/2 favourite) who provided O’Neill with his second winner of the day in the five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.

Close third

The daughter of Fame And Glory had finished a close third behind two more experienced rivals when making her debut at Quakerstown in December in a race where a mistake at the last prevented her from finishing closer.

She showed the benefit for that experience as she produced a likeable polished display sitting behind the leader for much of the race.

O’Neill waited patiently until reaching the second-last before asking her to extend, and although she had to put herself right at that obstacle, she quickly had the measure of her rivals and won by a going away five lengths.

“Never at any stage did I think I was in trouble, and she’s won easy there. I’m delighted for the Tuckers Syndicate who own her, as she looks a lovely prospect,” O’Neill said.

Dento and Dec deliver polished performance

CO Down handler Patrick Turley was in the winner’s enclosure following a polished performance from Dento Des Obeaux (4/1 - 5/1) in a winners-of-two event.

The former Willie Mullins-trained gelding has been a model of consistency for his owner Liam Gibney, and jumped impeccably while showing a useful change of gears to put the race to bed at the second last.

The 10-year-old son of Balko, who was just touched off at Ballinboola by Old Style Humor earlier this month, made all under an enterprising Declan Lavery ride, to stamp his authority on his 10 rivals.

With a three-length advantage two from home, and seemingly going very strongly, and with those behind hard at work, a shake of the reins from Lavery sealed an eased down three-length victory.

“He won very well, Liam Gibney owns him and in fairness, he’s done all the work over the years and that’s his third win for him,” Turley said.

“The hunt race in Tyrella in March has been his main aim.”

Er Dancer (7/4 - 9/4 favourite) took the open with ease to back his recent performance in Cragmore when finishing a close third behind the Cheltenham Festival Hunter Chase ante-post second favourite Winged Leader.

The Monbeg Syndicate-owned nine-year-old made stylish progress from the rear here with three to jump to be on the leader’s tail.

Cantering on the outer approaching two-out, Alan Harney never had to get serious aboard the Donnchadh Doyle-trained favourite as they defeated Vis Ta Loi by four lengths.

“He had a very good run last time out, he was only beaten by Winged Leader, and we were very hopeful coming here today,” said Harney, of what was his first victory of the season.

Ryehill gets rewards

KILDARE handler Ross O’Sullivan recorded his second winner of the season in the sphere when sending out Ryehill (4/1 - 6/1) in the older maiden.

The Outback Syndicate and Conor Brett-owned gelding had finished second in each of his previous two outings to date, including when chasing home the subsequent winner Happy Victory at Tinahely last month.


It was notable that connections elected to change the tactics with him, as he was ridden with considerably more restraint than had been the case previously.

Overcoming trouble at the penultimate fence which had him on the back foot, he gallantly stayed on to good effect and crucially outjumped his chief rival Longhouse Star at the final fence to win by a length and a half in the hands of Tom Harney.

Horse to Follow

Jersey Des Brosses (C. Bowe): The debutant son of No Risk At All attracted some shrewd market attention pre-race and was just touched off in a hot four-year-old maiden drawing clear of the eventual third.