Annaghmore Sunday

JOHN Boy Roche took the headlines at Annaghmore last Sunday as he won the Liam Wallace Next Generation Pace for C Class Drivers with his own One Cool Touch.

The sport could do with cloning Wayne McNevin from Rathcoole. Wayne pours time and money into harness racing. Two and three runners from his Rough Diamond Stables are almost a constant at IHRA venues.

On Sunday, Wayne, his wife Amanda and family sponsored the race in memory of ‘The Governor’ as Liam Wallace was known. Refreshments were laid on and the family had arranged a lovely mounted poster of Liam Wallace.

The race was unusual in that not one of the four layers on duty priced the McNevin-owned Benny Camden. Two bookies bet without, two bet forecast, as the 10-year-old had looked imperious in two recent wins.

However, the Roches are no respecters of big reputations and John Boy pulled off a nice piece of giant killing. Leah McNevin, drawn 2 on the gate with Benny did nothing wrong. She was on the ‘clock horse’ of the race and went on early in an attempt to out run the rest.

John Boy had no choice but to follow Leah around. The leader may have got lonely in front (he does wear blinkers but, in any case, young John Boy resembled his uncle Billy (Roche) as he gave One Cool Touch a few reminders to arrive on the line.

Sweetest images

One of the sweetest images to arise out of the race was of Leah (runner-up of course) still beaming from ear to ear as she pulled up, delighted that her friend and rival John Boy had landed a touch, pardon the pun. If only we could bottle the enthusiasm and sportsmanship of these young people!

John Boy Roche (18) said: “I think oul’ Liam was looking down on me.” There were wild celebrations while John Boy’s cousins, the McAleers, also cheered a double in the Rebel County (see report below).

Amanda McNevin, mother of the narrowly pipped Leah, stated: “If we were going to be beaten by somebody, let it be John Boy.” The winner was 4/6 favourite without Benny Camden.

John Richardson has been quiet by his lofty standards in 2024. JR signalled that he is still alive and kicking as he drove his first double of 2024. Meadowbranch Adios (1/2 favourite) won the opener in 2.01.9 for Welsh owner Alan Davies.

Rugadh Me Reidh seems to be the apple of John’s eye at the moment and she ran away from a decent field of pacers to win the Grade A to F pace. Always Skye (Jonny Cowden) put in a huge run off a 10-yard trail to be second, and goes to Tir Prince, North Wales, tonight, in the best of form.

The McCulloughs from North Down made it two from two with Gamain Marindais in the top grade trot. The eight-year-old led out, made all to score with Jonny Cowden. Family patriarch ‘Ebber’ McCullough complained that this column misspelt his nickname last week, so here’s a corrected mention.

Key tool

Current leading driver Jonny Cowden sees Gamin Marindais as a key tool in his title bid. “He’s a nice type, you’d be hoping his form will translate to the big grass meetings.”

The G1 and G2 grade pace produced a good old-fashioned result for the layers as Ronan Norton came from a long way back to win with Ayr Harbour,

The Tyrone stable of Sean Duggan had two horses beaten in this, but gained swift recompense when Feline De Noes ran out the winner of tricky looking apprentice trot under Tiernan Loughran.

Craig Pidgeon from Raheny gained his first ever driving win as he guided Helios De Lara like an old hand to win the D to F trot, Some of the regulars quipped ‘the pigeon has flown’ as the sometimes unpredictable Helios De Lara pinged the gate and had too much up his sleeve for Energy Oaks, an encouraging second for Sean Kane. Craig’s uncle and aunt Joe and Catherine Caffrey were delighted for him.

Racing resumes tomorrow at Annaghmore and Lyre, near Clonakilty. Full details at

McAleer and O’Mahony sharing out the driving honours
at Lyre

Lyre Sunday

MIKE O’Mahony from Schull and Troy McAleer from St Margaret’s in Co Dublin shared the driving honours, both driving two winners at the Old Chapel Memorial Day at Lyre on Sunday.

The Cork region has provided a subdued start, but the crowds turned out for the first of the big days in Lyre. Memorial Cups from the Old Chapel Committee were contested.

Mike O’Mahony has forged a great partnership with the Conor Hurley-trained Christy Brown and made it three wins in a row in the Mick Twomey and Donie Barry Memorial. The pairing hit the front late on for a two-length winning score.

With Eoin Murphy on holidays, O’Mahony came in for the catch drive on IB Paddington in the P.J. Collins Memorial. Last week’s winner Someones Fantasy tried to stretch the field and led for most of the journey but the classy IB Paddington was produced in the final 100 yards to win by a modest length.

McAleer, who has a smile as wide as the Atlantic Ocean, kicked off his brace in the opener, the Brian Wilson Memorial. McAleer produced Lady Lou to collar Rhyds Shady Affair and get the verdict by half a length. The winner is owned by Anthony O’Donnell from Limerick.

McAleer completed his brace in the concluding John D Crowley Memorial. Get Me Out Of Here was the rabbit in this, and with an eighth of a mile to go looked a winner, but Newtown Major came through the traffic to win by a neck.


The McAleer family mobbed the winner’s enclosure for the presentation. “We have been lucky in Cork and it’s an honour for us to win today,” Teresa Joyce McAleer, the matriach of the family told The Irish Field. Inspire Me has at times been frustrating but when she on her best behaviour is talented. Kieran O’Driscoll gave her the office early and race favourite Comete Des Landes could not pin her back. The winner is owned by John and Vincent Healy from Dunmanway and T.J. O’Farrell from Togher. Dan O’Mahony, another Dunmanway native and recently returned from Australia, drove his first winner on home soil leading all the way with High Speed Efbe in the Paddy Desmond and Jerry O’Mahony Cup.

In the Deceased Members Trophy, favourite Graal Du Dollar went off stride loosing valuable ground. Denis O’Reilly then produced Duc D’Arry to lead and despite a late comeback by Graal Du Dollar, Duc D’Arry held on by a neck to win.

O’Reilly in US

Fionn O’Reilly from Drimoleague is having a ball in the USA at the moment. He is currently with trainer John McDermott at the aptly named Historic Track (est. 1838) in Goshen, New York.

Fionn has been jogging horses at the quaint track and on Saturday got a taste of the famous Meadowlands Raceway in New Jersey as he warmed up a McDermott runner. Hopefully Fionn will get some drives stateside.

Passing of Kit Bousfield

THE grand old man of British trotting passed away on Tuesday night. Christopher ‘Kit’ Bousfield, owner of the field that hosts the Appleby meetings was a stout stayer at the age of 101.

He had four daughters including Rachel who is married to well-known driver Patrick Kane jnr of Summerhill, Meath. All his many friends in Ireland send sympathy to his wife Sandra and the girls.

2024 National Harness Driver Award

Wins total at June 19th (unofficial)

Jonny Cowden, Glengormley 10

Patrick Kane junior, Trim 6

Jamie Hurley, Reenascreena 5

Troy McAleer, St Margaret’s 5

Michael O’Mahony, Schull 5

John Richardson, Ballyboughal 4

Patrick Hill, Leap 3