THE first three winners on the six-race card at the Mid Antrim point-to-point in Toomebridge on Monday were bred in France while the other three were bred in Ireland.

The first of the Irish trio to score was the Ross Crawford-trained Time For Joy who, on her seventh start, landed the Dennison JCB five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden in the hands of Stephen Connor. The 2017 Yeats bay was bred by her owner Peter Boyd out of the Craigsteel mare Catleen who won twice over hurdles and has bred one winner on the track.

The last of the three French-breds was the Stuart Crawford-trained, Ben Crawford-ridden Imperial Saint, who landed the Doherty Woodshavings five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts’ maiden on his third start, and the first of them was the Noel Kelly-trained, Oran McGill-partnered Jorah d’Alma who won the opening Dennison Commercials four-year-old maiden on his debut. Both of these geldings, and the mare, are heading to upcoming sales.

Successive victory

A 22-length win in the Raymart Open saw the David Christie-trained, Ray Nicholas-owned Bold Enough record his seventh successive victory of the season, this being his fourth success under Barry O’Neill.

Noel Kelly and Oran McGill were also on the mark at Tipperary last Thursday week when they won the Glenview and Rathbarry Stud Novice Hunters Chase with Conor Mohan’s seven-year-old Shantou gelding Shantou Show.

The following evening Stuart Crawford’s good run continued when the J.J. Slevin-ridden Ottizzini justified favouritism in the opening Rory’s Miles2Mayo Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick. The six-year-old Sea Moon mare is owned by three of her four registered breeders viz Victoria Brann, Catherine Gabbett and Anthea Smyth. She is out of Izzini (by Dr Massini) who won three bumpers and a novice hurdle under Steven Crawford.

Friday’s Cosy Roof Handicap Chase went the way of the Ronan McNally-owned and trained Full Noise. The 4/5 favourite was ridden by Keith Donoghue.

Hat-trick for Lupini

BANBRIDGE-based Natalía Lupini saddled her third winner of the flat season at Naas last Saturday when the Dr J Syndicate’s Dandyville brought up an erratically spaced-out hat-trick in the Declan Landy Fencing Handicap over six furlongs.

Ridden by Billy Lee, the 2018 Dandy Man gelding was having his first start since scoring over the same trip at Dundalk on November 25, that victory coming just nine days after the chesnut had won over course and distance. On all three occasions he was sent off as favourite.

Dandyville, who has three other wins on grass to his credit, was bred locally by Leslie Laverty out of Lady Mandeville. That Strategic Prince mare carried Laverty’s colours to victory in a seven-furlong nursery at Down Royal in September 2014 when she was trained by Ado McGuinness.

On the jockey front on the level, Dylan Browne McMonagle rode three winners in the period under review, Luke McAteer partnered two and, across the water, there were single wins for Darragh Keenan and Oisin Orr. Over jumps in Britain, Brian Hughes visited the winner’s enclosure four times while Caoilin Quinn did so once.

Farewell to Brian Dougan

IT was with much sadness that we learned of the death last Friday of Brian Dougan whose funeral service was held on Monday in Tassagh Presbyterian Church.

We remember Brian not just as a gentleman but as Master of the Tynan & Armagh Hunt and secretary of its point-to-point, but also as one of the great Corinthian riders on the point-to-point scene and one for whom the confined hunt race at Farmacaffley was a target each spring.

Finishing straight with Shortcross Gin

DOWN Royal has renewed its partnership with Northern Ireland’s leading craft spirit, Shortcross Gin, which will see the company become the racecourse’s exclusive Irish gin partner, giving the brand naming rights for the track’s premium hospitality suite.

Shortcross Gin was established in 2014 by husband-and-wife duo Fiona and David Boyd-Armstrong who had a mission to create and lead the resurgence in gin distilling. Situated on the ground floor of the Hospitality Pavilion, ‘The Shortcross Gin Suite’ overlooks the finishing straight.

Emma Meehan, Chief Executive at Down Royal said: “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Shortcross Gin, Northern Ireland’s first award winning craft distillery. Building long-standing relationships with our sponsors is important to us and something we strive towards.

Unique experiences

“The Boyd family has a strong history with the course and a genuine passion for horse racing, and this, combined with a brand which shares our passion and vision for great quality and the creation of unique experiences is very fitting for us. We are looking forward to seeing this relationship evolve over the next three years.”

Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, Managing Director of Shortcross Gin said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to renew our partnership with Down Royal, allowing us to continue to showcase our Shortcross Gin and our wider Shortcross product range to the racecourse’s audience.

“We consider our partnership with Down Royal to be the perfect mix, providing us with the ideal environment to target, attract and engage with a highly discerning crowd and to share with them the ultimate Shortcross Gin experience.”

Final countdown in Taylorstown

THE final point-to-point in the Northern Region for 2022/23 takes place today in Taylorstown where, on Saturday, April 24th 1993, John Bright partnered half of the six winners at the Newry Harriers’ meeting en route to being crowned regional champion that season.

Bright rewarded favourite backers when landing the maiden on Alansford and the open on Jims Choice who was a favourite with racegoers. Then, after his mount Millbay was brought down two out by the Tony Martin-ridden Little Martina, John remounted Wilson Dennison’s Pollerton gelding and got up to win by four lengths.

Martin, who had a ride in all six races, landed the opening mares’ maiden on Glensport VI and the concluding unplaced maiden with Lord Antrim. Warren Ewing took the winners of two on board Lucys Cygnet.

Ten years later, the riding honours went to Paul Cosgrave who won the final two races with Robergerie (seven and eight-year-old maiden) and Blades Hotel (winners of one). Second in that winners’ race on Double Scene, Mark O’Hare had earlier landed the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden with Our Toy.

The opening four and five-year-old maiden went to the Derek O’Connor-partnered Ballynure, Jimmy Henry won the six-year-old maiden with Wraparound Sue and Caroline Wilson claimed the open on Double Impact.

Doubles all round

And so on to Saturday, May 11th 2013 when Barry O’Neill partnered two winners for two of the Doyle brothers, The Last Samuri for Sean in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden and High Web for Donnchadh in the winners of one.

Ben Crawford likewise recorded a double. This he initiated in the five-year-old and upwards maiden on the Neil McKnight-trained One Decent Dollar and completed in the 18-runner older geldings’ maiden on Man With Van who was trained by the rider’s brother Stuart.

The Crawfords had lost out in the preceding open where their Onefortheroad Mac went down by two and a half lengths to the Colin McBratney-trained Carsonstown Boy who was ridden by Noel McParlan.

Racing opened with a 10-strong four-year-old maiden where eight of the runners fell and one ran out leaving the ill-fated Monart Diamond to score unchallenged on his only performance between the flags. The Presenting gelding, who was trained by Colin Bowe and ridden by Harley Dunne, was bred in Britain unlike the other winners mentioned in this piece who were all foaled in this country.