The pointing action focused on Lingstown and Boulta this weekend with competitive racing at both venues this past Sunday.
There was little of real note from the youngsters on show at Lingstown though the Denis Murphy-trained Tricky could be the type to win a bumper judged on his victory in a fast time in the second division of the Four Year Old Maiden. Jamie Codd rode the son of Indian Danehill as they saw off Laraghcon Boy and Play The Ace by 2 lengths and 1 ½ lengths with a 25 length gap back to the fourth placed runner Conas Toi. The feature Open banks race was won by the Kevin Power-ridden Duers who saw off David Christie’s The Last Derby by an easy 10 lengths with 3 parts of a length back to Long Strand. Duers had twice run well this season when runner-up to Clancy Strand at Tinahely and then when fourth to the ill-fated Backstage in a banks event at Tattersalls Farm last month and this formerly useful chaser appears to be in good heart at the moment and may even be up to competing in a minor Hunter Chase at some point this Winter.
Con O’Keeffe sent out Racing Pulse to win a point prior to his expensive sale and Racing Europe looked a similarly useful horse when running out the 3 length winner of the Four Year Old Maiden event under Declan Queally. The gelding owed part of his victory to his jumping though a right-handed jump at the last didn’t help the son of Kayf Tara though he does look speedy enough to make an impressive in a bumper when he goes under rules, which will presumably be in the not too distant future. The Open race at Boulta went to the Eugene O'Sullivan-trained The Hollinwell who was ridden by the trainers son Eoin and was registering his second success of the season having taken a similar event at Grennan last month.
At Thurles this Thursday afternoon the Oliver McKiernan trained On The Shannon could make his handicap debut in the 15:20 2m 2f Handicap Hurdle at the Tipperary venue. The son of Presenting scored in a point at Tattersalls Farm on heavy ground last December and was led out unsold for a decent price at the sales subsequently. The five year old has been disappointing in the main under rules but did show up well at Leopardstown on his return to rules racing last December prior to weakening and he also ran well over nearly three miles at Navan nearly three weeks later. The gelding is a half-brother to the useful Linnel and comes here fresh off a break and can take a hand on his handicap debut.
Definite Memories has joined trainer David Bridgwater since her last outing when running out the odds-on winner of a Towcester Novice Hurdle for her former trainer Venetia Williams. The six year old is of interest to this column due to her Boulta Maiden success two years ago when scoring by four lengths from Lady Milano. The mare was always going to make a much better chaser than a hurdler and it will be interesting to see how she fares against the higher rated pair of Kentford Grey Lady and Ballinahow Star.
Wilcos Mo Chara was running well on his pointing debut at Ballindenisk behind the impressive Carraig Mor prior to falling last December and he gained compensation at the fifth attempt at Dawstown at the start of May when seeing off Fabulous Fun by 10 lengths. The fourth on that occasion Royal Ripple went close on his rules debut at Hexham last month and the now Donald McCain-trained Wilcos Mo Chara could makes his own rules debut in a Bumper at either Musselburgh or Sedgefield in the coming days.
At Newbury this Friday the impressive Ballindenisk winner Tagrita could make her debut for leading trainer Paul Nicholls. The daughter of King’s Theatre easily saw off subsequent chasing winner Liz’s D’Estruval under a good front running ride from jockey Declan Queally when under the care of Adrian Maguire. Maguire has sent out the likes of Denman to win points since retiring from race riding and he will be hoping that this mare can develop into a leading performer under rules for the same trainer.
Bitofapuzzle ran out a 10 length winner from Setters Gift on her pointing debut at Larkhill back in February. The daughter of Tamure has moved to the yard of Harry Fry for her rules career and given she couldn’t have been more impressive in her pointing success it will be interesting to see how she fares should she take on previous winners Falcon’s Present, Shanendou and fellow pointing scorer Jennys Surprise and co in a Mares Bumper at Bangor this Saturday.
The Ballydarragh winner Casino Markets could make his rules debut for the yard of Philip Fenton at Fairyhouse on Saturday. The five year old scored by 2 lengths in his Maiden at the end of March thanks in part due to some slick jumping late and he looks a promising individual though it’s worth noting that his trainer has a healthy 17% strike rate at this venue.
There are a number of ex-pointers engaged at Newbury on Saturday and a success for the Sue Smith-trained Cloudy Too would provide Worcestershire handler Mike Hammond’s academy with their biggest success so far. The gelding saw off a couple of useful rivals, most notably the multiple point winner Findlay’s Find when taking a 2m 4f Cold Harbour Maiden in May 2010 and he will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Teeton Mill who was another British pointer who went on to Hennessy Gold Cup success.
Of the entries elsewhere on Saturday the Toomebridge Maiden winner Five In A Row could bid to get off the mark at the first attempt over hurdles at Newcastle following an easy success in a useful looking Carlisle Bumper last month. Among his rivals for the 2m 6f Novices’ Hurdle could be Boulta Maiden winner from 2011 Ballyalton, bumper winner Captain Cutter and fellow pointing winner Oscar Rock who’s record under rules so far includes a Listed Bumper and an easy hurdling success on his debut in this sphere at Wetherby at the start of the month.
Full Shift was one of the most impressive pointing winners in the UK last season and he is another to be engaged in a Novice Hurdle at Newcastle. Now with Nicky Henderson having been purchased privately by JP McManus the son of Ballingarry shaped like a useful stayer in the making when racing handily and leading from the fourth last to take a 17 runner event under Sam Drinkwater for trainer Tom Lacey and he looks likely to prove hard to beat in the concluding event on the card.
Medieval Chapel looked a touch weak early on in his career when a beaten favourite on three consecutive occasions since finishing runner-up at Lismore in March 2012 but the grey son of Ballingarry came good at Tyrella in March and duly followed up at Kirkistown in a winners race for trainer Ian Ferguson. The gelding has since joined Nicky Henderson and follows a similar route to another Ronnie Bartlett-owned grey in the shape of Simonsig and whilst Medieval Chapel is unlikely to turn out as good as that one he can surely pay his way this season.