TOP local horse breeders, the Dillon Family, will be guests of honour at the Clonakilty Point-to-Point races on Sunday, May 22nd, at Inchydoney – with the first race at 2pm.
At the recent event launch, the races committee made a presentation to the Dillons to mark their great success as breeders of Conflated, winner of the €250,000 Irish Gold Cup in February.
Barry and Terry Dillon and their father Kevin bred Conflated on their farm at Ballymacowen outside Clonakilty.
Kevin is well known in the dairy industry as the former chief executive of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association, and a successful dairy and pig breeder.
Conflated is now the winner of over €300,000 on the race track, trained by Gordon Elliot and ridden by Corkman Davy Russell, and was beaten narrowly in the Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree.
Back next Sunday after a two-year break due to Covid-19, the Carbery Hunt Point to Point at Inchydoney is the last chance to enjoy top class racing over the jumps in West Cork until next autumn, following the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee announcement that the two-day South Union Foxhounds fixture at Kinsale has been cancelled.
The programme of at least six races – races are divided if there is a large entry – on the farm of Leslie Beamish, includes a four-year-old maiden, a winners of one, and an open chase. The entrance fee is €8, a racecard costs €2 and parking is free.
Clonakilty Point-to-Point has jumped at the chance to celebrate the Dillons’ achievements, the latest West Cork connection with the top flight of National Hunt racing.
Perhaps the biggest of all those connections was the Clonakilty-owned Imperial Call winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1996, trained by Fergie Sutherland.
Imperial Call was from Lisselan Farms, only a half-mile from the Dillons’ farm.
Three years later, Imperial Call made a dramatic winning comeback in the Heineken Gold Cup, trained near Clonakilty by the 23-year-old Ray Hurley, who will be the official starter at the local point to point on May 22nd. Ray is a valuable long-time meber of the races committee. Ray also trained Cheltenham winner Whyso Mayo.
Also on the races committee is former top local trainer Thomas O’Leary, handler of Grade 1 horses such as Newmill and Scarthy Lad.