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Tag Archives: Derek O’Connor

O’Connor takes senior rider title at point-to-point awards

It was time for the point-to-point fraternity to celebrate as the Irish National Hunt steeplechase Committee point-to-point Awards night made a welcome return last Saturday after a three-year absence. A large crowd made their way to Dunboyne Castle in County Meath where the 2022 winners were honoured. Tubber’s Derek O’Connor picked up the Senior Riders’ crown. This was third title in this category (he also won it in 2018 and 2019) as the former record-breaking 11-time champion finished the 2021/22 season with a fine tally of 25 wins. Wexford jockey Barry O’Neill collected his sixth consecutive Leading Rider award, posting the huge tally of 61 winners during the season. O’Neill also claimed the Northern and Eastern Regional title, while sharing the Southern Regional title with Waterford jockey James Hannon. Tipperary rider Pa King came out on top in the Western Region. Colin Bowe, was crowned Leading Handler – he was picking up his 10th title – having sent out 46 …

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Clare jockey’s Cheltenham win crowns amazing week

What an unbelievable time of it 20-year-old Cratloe jockey Mark McDonagh has had in the past week! Tipped by many shrewd judges as a rider to keep an eye on, McDonagh certainly wrote his name in lights when bagging his first Cheltenham winner aboard Banbridge in the final race of the 2022 Festival, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, last Friday. Banbridge completes the festival for 2022 and gives the Irish 7 winners on the day🍀🍀 He gives Joseph O’Brien another festival winner and he’s proving to be an excellent dual purpose trainer and has some career ahead of him👀#CheltenhamFestival — Grant James Thomas (@Grant_Some92) March 18, 2022 A glorious 96 hours for McDonagh, whose grandad, Michael, is a very successful trainer, began in Down Royal on St Patrick’s Day where his guided Roi Mage (13/2) to victory in the featured Bluegrass Stamm 30 Chase for Dublin trainer Patrick Griffin. It was on to Prestbury Park then for …

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O’Connor set for fruitful return to Cheltenham

Michael Duggan catches up with one of the top amateurs in the game ahead of his return to Cheltenham this week DEREK O’Connor missed out on last year’s Cheltenham Festival due to amateur riders not being allowed to compete at the behind-closed-doors meeting. That surely will make the Tubber man’s return to Cheltenham next week all the sweeter, where he will have a few very fancied rides. O’Connor has enjoyed a terrific career, making him a household name in racing circles on both sides of the Irish Sea. Over 1,200 point-to-point winners makes him the winning-most rider of all time between the flags. A memorable success aboard Joseph O’Brien’s Edwulf in the 2019 Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, meanwhile, is another standout moment on his glittering CV. In recent times, the 39-year-old has set up base at Fiddaun on the Clare/Galway border where his busy life sees him combine his role as an agent for leading sales company Goffs UK, …

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White flag raised for Quakerstown

The recent improvement in ground conditions has been welcomed by point-to-point secretary Paul O’Neill who is eagerly looking forward to the County Clare Hunt’s annual Easter Sunday fixture at Quakerstown in Tubber. “We are thrilled that the weather has picked up to allow us run this meeting as a lot of meetings have been lost this season,” stated the Quin man. “The track is in super condition and Gerry Lee who owns the land is a great supporter of ours and racing in general. Easter is quite early this year, but it’s super to have such a track like this at our disposal. There is a great covering of grass on it and we have the fences in place so it is all systems for Sunday.  This meeting enjoys quite a high profile and the fact that we have received 103 entries for six races reflects that. Quite a number of top-class horses have started their careers at Quakerstown – …

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Mullins set to raid Cheltenham Festival

WILLIE Mullins is the man to follow at the four-day Cheltenham Racing Festival, where the champion trainer holds a huge hand. Dominant on both sides of the Irish Sea all season, Mullins knows what it takes to win at the festival, having saddled a total of 41 winners since breaking his duck at Prestbury Park, when Tourist Attraction landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle back in 1995. With a battalion of top-class horses at his disposal, the Closutton maestro will have fancied runners in most of the 28 races and could well equal or surpass last year’s record-breaking tally of eight winners. Tuesday’s opening afternoon could well be dominated by the Mullins/Ruby Walsh alliance, with Min (Supreme Novices), Douvan in the Arkle, the supplemented Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle and Vroom Vroom Mag in the mares’ hurdle all short prices for respective races. Bookmakers were spared a huge pay-out 12 months ago when Annie Power fell at the final flight …

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Under starter’s orders for Cheltenham

By Saddlesource THE Cheltenham Festival ignites images that all jump racing fans instantly recognise with next week’s four-day extravaganza set to dominate the sporting landscape worldwide. The action kicks off at 1.30pm next Tuesday when a deafening roar from the packed enclosures will signal the start of Cheltenham 2014 and the best National Hunt fare on offer anywhere in the world. The crème de la crème of horses and jockeys competing against each other for the most sought after and valuable prizes of the entire season will see fierce action on-track. There is always something special about Cheltenham and these four days can make or break a season for owners’, trainers and jockeys whose entire year can be judged on just how they fare at Prestbury Park where the world’s spotlight is firmly fixed. The highlight on Tuesday is the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle where Willie Mullins’ Hurricane Fly will bid to land hurdling’s crown for a third time. This fellow …

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