Eoin O’Sullivan (17) will treasure fond memories of yesterday’s Kilkenny Foxhounds point-to-point meeting at Grennan Castle outside Thomastown as he partnered his initial career winner aboard his father Eugene’s The Hollinwell in the open lightweight.
The Hollinwell (2/1), who cruelly unseated the teenager at the final fence when virtually assured of success at Lemonfield the previous Sunday, always travelled with purpose as initially Mountain Pride and then the mare Isourbell took the five runners along. The victorious son of Classic Cliche, a former four-time track victor for Ferdy Murphy, could be called the most likely winner from the penultimate of the 15 obstacles and he eased into the lead at the final fence to beat the admirable Isourbell by a snug two lengths. The odds-on Backstage doesn’t seem quite the force of old and he returned a further one-length adrift in third spot.
An understandably-elated O’Sullivan senior divulged: “This horse was bought specifically at Doncaster earlier this year for Eoin to ride in opens and he was recommended to me by Harvey Smith.”
The winning rider is incidentally studying for his Leaving Cert at Rockwell college in Co Tipperary.
Punters experienced the best possible start to proceedings with Philip Rothwell’s Thornhill Flyer readily justifying 3/1 favouritism in the opening five-year-old geldings’ maiden, the race that attracted the biggest field of the day in 16 runners. Fight Away Boys led from half-way and Thornhill Flyer, a fine third on his only previous start at Tinahely in March, edged ever closer after four out. Thornhill Flyer took up the running at the second last and, whilst soon coming under pressure from five lb claimer Darren Howard, he gamely asserted to dismiss Oakledge Lad by one and a half lengths. Thornhill Flyer is now on the market, although Rothwell hopes that he will remain in the yard.
Donnchadh Doyle’s Mi Westerner (6/4) vindicated the promise of her fifth-placed debut effort at Dromahane last season by making all the running with Barry O’Neill in the five-year-old mares’ maiden. Mi Westerner, who was equipped with cheekpieces, was challenged by the promising newcomer Caballo Sin Mombre from the second last. The latter however wasn’t able to capitalise on a slight error by Mi Westerner at the final fence with one a half lengths the winning margin.
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