MATTHEW O’Reilly was the star of the show as the curtain came down on the winter road-racing season in West Cork at Baurnahulla, Drimoleague.
O’Reilly dominated with three winners and this earned him the Jockey of the Year Award.
Brywins One Off, a winner in Goleen, set the ball rolling for O’Reilly in the Grade E. He led from the start and, despite a late challenge from Kentucky Finale, he eventually had six lengths to spare.
Next up for O’Reilly was Diplomatist, who is owned by his father Tadhg, in the Grade D trot. Newtown Amber led to the opening turn but overshot the bale. This left Rhyds Dilemma in front but Diplomatist took over approaching the final turn and ran out a ten-length winner.
Billycoan Colt gave O'Reilly his third win of the day in the Grade C/D trot. Coalford Bruce really put it up to the winner, leading at both turning points and an upset looked in the making, but O’Reilly, as he did in Goleen, set his charge alight in the final eighth of a mile and ran on to a five-length winning margin.
This win gave Billcoan Colt the Horse of the Year title with five wins.
Only three runners faced the starter in the top grade pace and Ghenghis Pride was sent to post at prohibitive odds. Rhyds Solution set the early pace but Ghenghis Pride took it up to the first turn. Both runners shared the lead between the next two turns with Kestrels Dot Sammy just off the pace. At the final turn Ghenghis Pride eased into the lead and was not for catching, winning by six lengths from Rhyds Solution. The winner was presented with the Nora McCarthy Cup and the cup ‘was staying at home,’ as the winner is trained by Derry McCarthy, a son of the late Nora.
Great credit is due to the local committee who had to cancel the races on two previous occasions due to Storm Dennis. The 2020 summer season kicks off in April.
Grade E Trot: 1. Brywins One Off, M O’Reilly; 2. Kentucky Finale, C O’Driscoll; 3. FireFly Z, A McCarthy.
Grade D Trot: 1. Diplomatist, M O’Reilly; 2. Rhyds Dilemma, T Moloney; 3. Newtown Amber, T O’Leary.
Grade C/D Trot: 1. Billycoan Colt, M O’Reilly; 2. Coalford Bruce, T Moloney; 3. Let’s Party, A McCarthy.
Grade A/B Trot: 1. Ghenghis Pride, T Moloney; 2. Rhyds Solution, T O’Leary; 3. Kestrels Dot Sammy, J O’Driscoll.