DERRYLIN trainer David Christie recorded an across-the-card point-to-point double last Saturday.

He himself saddled John Hegarty and Jenny O’Kane’s Winged Leader to land the Armagh Construction open at Farmacaffley under Maxine O’Sullivan while he sent Ray Nicholas and Sam Campbell’s Au Fleuron south to Punchestown where, on his pointing debut, the seven-year-old Crillon gelding won the novice riders’ open in the hands of Shane Cotter.

Christie narrowly failed to initiate a double at the Tynan and Armagh meeting when his Sifaka went down by half a length in the Mullan Family winners’ of one but he was joined on the scoresheet by two other local trainers.

Narrowly beaten

Warren Ewing and rider Dara McGill were narrowly beaten in the opening WHR Accountants four-year-old maiden with Whinney Hill but their Cabaret Prince landed the McKinney Competitions, Armagh, five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

The Caroline McCaldin-trained, Noel McParlan-ridden Ballyphilip won the concluding Philip White Tyres older geldings’ maiden where Maeve Carlin again had to settle for second on her own Josies Dylan.

At Punchestown, the opening Goffs Arkle Sale four-year-old maiden was won, on his debut, by They Want Me who is trained in Co Wexford by Ellen Doyle.

The Sageburg bay was, however, bred in Co Down by John Kidd out of the unraced Double Eclipse mare Double Dream, a half-sister to Grey Abbey (by Nestor), and dam previously of the graded chase winner Storm Control (by September Storm) and the listed hurdle winner Tagrita (by King’s Theatre).

Orr rocks in Riyadh

OISIN Orr put himself in line for anther Donegal sports star of the year award when winning the Howden Neom Turf Cup, a Group 2 race over an extended 10 furlongs, at Riyadh last Saturday on the Richard Fahey-trained Spirit Dancer.

This was the latest of big race successes Orr has recorded on the now seven-year-old Frankel gelding who is owned by Peter Done, Jed Mason and Sir Alex Ferguson, joint-breeder of the bay with Niall McLoughlin.

Connections enjoyed the win and let’s hope there will be a repeat performance in Dubai on World Cup night.

Over jumps, Brian Hughes and Danny McMenamin both partnered winners at Sedgefield last Friday and at Ayr on Monday, while Hughes was also on the mark at Catterick on Tuesday. There were wins also for Caoilin Quinn at Lingfield last Thursday week and at Kempton last Saturday while, at home, Toni Quail partnered a winner at Thurles last Thursday week and Jody McGarvey did so at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

Good run

The good run of Larne triainer Stuart Crawford continued on Monday at Ayr where, on the Coral-sponsored card, the Daryl Jacob-ridden Bleu D’Enfer landed the near two and a half-mile maiden hurdle by four and three-quarter lengths.

Winner of the best turned out prize, and sent off as the 4/11 favourite in the seven-runner field, the good-looking Turgeon gelding ran in the colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede which were also carried in the following extended two-mile chase by Ballycoose who had to settle for second.

Gault stats for Doddie

THIS is just the annual reminder to log on to Bryan Gault’s for all things statistical regarding the upcoming Cheltenham Festival.

Bryan always uses the website to raise funds for a worthy cause and here he names his 2024 choice and the reasons behind it: “In 2024 I ask for donations to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. They aim to have a world free of Motor Neuron Disease and also to inform and support patients and their families.

“Rugby Union and National Hunt racing have always been my joint sporting passions. In my youth I was a highly unconstructive junior league second row, then spent 20 privileged years as a slow referee. I have also spent another two decades standing as a season ticket holder in Ulster’s East Terrace where I continually fight for the ref’s corner! Doesn’t make me popular.”

Downpatrick tasty bits!

IT doesn’t take much effort to get on to the Downpatrick Racecourse Facebook page and just as little, or much, to like and share their post and tag one friend to be in with a chance of being the lucky winner of a Randox hamper.

Contained within will be a pair of general admission tickets to the Randox Ulster National meeting on Sunday, April 7th, a Downpatrick Racecourse portable charger and a Downpatrick Racecourse beanie (I have one of those and very nice it is!).

There are also plenty of Randox-branded goods such as a jacket, a golf umbrella, a travel mug, sunglasses and much more.

Berry’s contender Quick on the Draw

WINNER of the 2022 The Irish Field senior event rider of the year award, England-based Co Down international event rider Susie Berry is looking forward to next week’s start of the British eventing season having had to sit out the backend of last year following a fall at Blair Castle in August.

While selection for the Irish team for the Olympic Games will be Susie’s main aim this year, she will, as usual, be keeping an eye on the action at Cheltenham where Quick Draw, who she bred in partnership with her mother, Callie, is among the entries for the JRL Group Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir.

Trained by Nicky Henderson and the winner of four chases and three hurdle races to date, the eight-year-old Getaway gelding was the horse who finished alongside the yard’s JCB Triumph Hurdle entry Sir Gino in that gallop on Tuesday at Kempton where Constitution Hill disappointed.

Remembering Tyrella winners

THERE was a seven-race card at Tyrella on Saturday, March 12th, 1994, when the East Downs held their sole point-to-point of the season.

On a busy day for the stewards, John Quinn was the man in form, partnering three winners at the seaside track including Tadila in the open lightweight. Graeme Martin won the opening confined hunt race on Ballyeston but had to settle for second in the following mares’ maiden won by the Liam Lennon-ridden Leafy Glen VI. There were wins also for Brian Morgan and Paul McMahon.

The hunt’s second meeting of the 2003/’04 campaign was held on Saturday, March 6th, when the last race, the seven and eight-year-old maiden, was won by Susie Says who made all under one Jacqueline Kidd.

The other winning riders were Brian Hamilton, Robert Widger, Tommy Peoples, Ciaran Murphy and Andrew Duff.

Widger and Duff also returned to the No 1 spot the following afternoon at The Pigeons where there were 12 races while, on the same day, there were nine races at Crecora, 10 at Bennettsbridge and eight at Lismore.


There were seven races at Tyrella on Saturday, March 8th, 2014, when Wexford’s Jamie Codd landed the winners’ of two in the colours of the colourful Peggy Hagan on the Graham McKeever-trained Chosen Dream.

Run as the fifth race on the card, the confined hunt race attracted four runners, three of them trained by Stephen Magee whose News For Pascal made all under Noel McParlan.

Wexford’s Colin Bowe and Barry O’Neill won the four-year-old maiden and the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden, Derek O’Connor and Ben Crawford (who was riding for Warren Ewing) took the divisions of the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden and the concluding seven-year-old and upwards maiden went the way of Wexford’s Brendan Brooks.

Peter Buchanan to Balmoral

MENTIONED last week as trainer of the Oldtown maiden winner Jacob’s Ladder, who sold for £110,000 to Gordon Elliott Racing at Tattersalls Cheltenham last Friday, Peter Buchanan has been announced as one of the judges for the ITBA racehorse to riding horse class at this year’s Balmoral Show (May 15th to 18th).

The class, which will be restricted to 15 entries, is scheduled to take place in the Main Arena at 5pm on the Friday of the show when Peter, who we presume will be the ride judge, will be joined by Arthur Moore. Other names of interest on the list of judges, which was published this week, are Henrietta Knight, who will be assessing the breeding and youngstock classes along with Scotland’s Angus McDonald, and former British amateur Haydn Hankey who will judge the working hunter horse classes with Scotland’s Andrew Bowie.