THREE north of Ireland-born jockeys rode two winners apiece over jumps in Britain since last Friday week.

That afternoon, Brian Hughes landed the three-mile handicap chase at Bangor on the Venetia Williams-trained Hold That Taught, on Monday just past, he won the two and a half-mile maiden hurdle at Musselburgh on Donald McCain’s charge, Got You Back.

Caoilin Quinn partnered two winners for his retaining yard of Gary Moore. The first, Twenty Twenty, defied odds of 20/1 when claiming the conditional jockeys’ handicap chase at Wincanton on Tuesday with the second, Through The Ages, giving the Downpatrick native a first success at Newbury on Wednesday when recording a 15-length victory in the juvenile hurdle.

Also hailing from Downpatrick and also on Wednesday, Danny McMenamin recorded a double for the Nick Alexander yard at Ayr where he won the novices’ handicap hurdle on Beat The Retreat and the near two-mile, six-furlong handicap hurdle on Cream Of The Crop.

On the flat in the same time period, Dylan Browne McMonagle rode four winners in Australia, all for his current retaining yard of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace; Martin Harley partnered two winners on Saturday at Caulfield; and Luke McAteer landed division two of the seven-furlong handicap at Dundalk on Wednesday on the David Marnane-trained Tynamite.

British pointing victory

FOLLOWING the abandonment of the North Down meeting at Kirkistown last Saturday, the sole point-to-point held in Britain and Ireland at the weekend was Sunday’s Ratcheugh Racing Club fixture at Alnwick where all six winners carried an IRE suffix.

The only one of the sextet with any connection to Northern Ireland was the Kelly Morgan-trained Foxylee who, having made all on her British debut, landed the opening four and five-year-old maiden by seven lengths from the 4/7 favourite Occupied Territory.

Ridden by equine veterinary surgeon Tom Chatfeild-Roberts for his father, John, the five-year-old Mahler mare was previously in the care of Graham McKeever for whom she ran four times.

The present owner’s wife Doone paid £20,000 for Foxylee at the Goffs UK horses-in-training and point-to-point sales in May.

This was a lot less than the £100,000 which Hamish Macauley Bloodstock paid at Tattersalls Cheltenham sale last Friday week for the four-year-old Champs Elysees mare My Forever Annie who won her maiden first time out for Patrick Turley at Lingstown last month.

Northern region

The second half of the 2023/’24 point-to-point season in the northern region is scheduled to start with the first of two East Down spring meetings at Tyrella on Saturday, January 27th.

One imagines that there will be plenty of local pointers being transported south before then with the Shillelagh & District meeting in Tinahely on Sunday, January 7th, being a likely target.

London International Irish successes

THERE was mixed news for sports fans beyond the realm of horse racing in the past week or so.

Let’s start with the good news. After three losses, Ulster got back to winning ways when beating Racing 92 by 31 points to 15 in Round 2 of the Investec Champions Cup on Saturday at Kingspan Stadium.

At the London International Horse Show in the ExCeL arena, young Serena Brown, a member of the Iveagh Branch, riding her mother Roslyn’s Maximilo, teamed up with Norway’s Geir Gulliksen to win the GS Equestrian Pony Club mini-major class on Saturday afternoon.

On Monday night, Canada-based Co Derry native Daniel Coyle landed the 1.60m London Grand Prix on his own and Ariel Grange’s 13-year-old Zangersheide mare Legacy.

Disappointingly, due to a number of issues including road resurfacing and a sizeable, non-refundable insurance premium quote, the Tandragee 100 road races will not be going ahead next year.

Crawford’s Ayr missiles on target

THERE were three locally-trained winners on Wednesday, starting across the water in Ayr where the Stuart Crawford yard was represented by five runners, two of whom were partnered to victory by Daryl Jacob in the colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

The French-bred I Love My Baie (11/4) initiated the brace when landing a novices’ hurdle by seven lengths from the 2/7 favourite, Magic Wave. The Crillon five-year-old, who has yet to run in Ireland, won a bumper and a maiden hurdle at Perth, in June 2022 and July this year, while, last time out, he finished third in a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Haydock.

The double came up in the concluding bumper where the British-bred Ayiko saw off the challenge of fellow 9/4 joint-favourite, Junker D’Allier, by five lengths. This was a second start for the Champs Elysees gelding who had finished second under Stephen Connor in a four-year-old bumper at Roscommon in June.

In the evening at Dundalk, the Zoffany gelding Garrick Painter, who is trained by Noel Kelly for the All Play & No Work Syndicate, recorded his second career success – his first for his present handler – when making virtually all the running to land a handicap under Killian Leonard.

On the breeding front, there was a win on Thursday week last for the Elder Scouller-bred seven-year-old Belle Na Bann (Califet – Cut ‘N’ Run, by Mister Mat) at Newcastle; on Monday for the Robert Kirkwood-bred five-year-old Commanding View (Mount Nelson – Clogher Valley, by Oscar) at Plumpton; and on Wednesday for the Stone Electrical-bred nine-year-old Whatsupwithyou (Shantou – Whats Up Britta, by Milan) at Ludlow.

ITBA in Banbridge

THE Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Northern Region invites all to an “evening of chat and laughs with top industry professionals” in the Belmount House Hotel, Banbridge on Wednesday, January 10th.

Master of ceremonies for the evening, Leo Powell, will be joined by Stuart Crawford, Joey Cullen, Andy Oliver, Richard Pugh and Joe Tizzard. Leo will be calling all to order at 7pm but, if you get there 30 minutes earlier, there will be refreshments available. The “chat” will be followed by the regional breeders’ presentations.

Geoff Angus, Managing Director of Metcollect and Emma Meehan, Chief Executive at Down Royal.

Down Royal’s road to recycle

WHILE this sponsorship has already been covered in this column, I saw one of the recycler’s lorries the other day so took it as a sign to again mention Tuesday’s Metcollect Boxing Day meeting at Down Royal where the gates open at 10.30am.

The last three races on the card contain the sponsor’s names in their titles and it was interesting to see, at the entry stage, that Highstreetfashion, trained by his north Co Dublin owner Pat Rooney, could well turn up to again win the handicap chase.

Derrylin’s in-form David Christie had made five entries for the hunter chase, including the 2022 winner, John Hegarty and Jenny O’Kane’s Vaucelet, and while last year’s winner of the bumper, Lucky Lyreen, could not run again in that two-mile, one-furlong race, his trainer, Gordon Elliott, had entered four horses. These included Pat Sloan’s homebred Getaway gelding Pay The Tab who finished third in a similar contest at Down Royal last month.

“We are delighted to return to Down Royal and continue the festivities into Boxing Day for what will be our fourthyear sponsoring,” commented Metcollect’s managing director Geoff Angus.

“We are excited to promote Metcollect Ltd and raise awareness of our brand to a new and diverse audience. We are looking forward to watching some exceptional horse racing at Down Royal.”

Emma Meehan, chief executive at Down Royal added: “Sincere thanks to Metcollect for once again sponsoring the Boxing Day Races.

“We are delighted to welcome the team back to the racecourse for another consecutive year. With all hospitality packages snapped up and large numbers of tickets already sold, we are expecting a bumper crowd.”