2016 will be remembered as the year Rhyds Ponder swept all before him.
On a day that Ireland celebrated 100 years since the 1916 Easter Rising, Rhyds Ponder cemented his position as the leading road pacer for the 2016 West Cork winter road racing season.
This son of Hasty Hall, who was crowned All-Ireland champion last week in Old Chapel, rounded off the year with seven wins from seven starts after another top-drawer performance, this time in Ballydehob.
Deirdre Goggin has been in the plate for all those wins and it was fitting that this win would ensure that Goggin would secure the Jockey of the Year Award.
Rhyds Ponder, now on an eight-win running streak, collects the Horse of the Year Award for 2016.
As in all previous wins, Rhyds Ponder set a relentless pace and battered his five rivals into submission, and again had Dream Maker six lengths behind with Rhyds Trixter another length third.
‘A long summer on grass,’ declared owner Niall Forbes was the plan for the newly-crowned champ. It was a good day all round for the Goggin family with Carol – a sister of Deirdre – winning the Best Dressed Lady competition.
It was a day for the lady jockeys as Marie Moloney rode a double on the day, which gave her the leading jockey of the day gong. Lakeview Romeo made it three on the spin with another win in the novice. Moloney sent him to the front early, and three lengths separated them and See You Later at the finish.
Wellfield Damian, a model of consistency all season, made light work of his five rivals in the Grade E to give Moloney her second winner of the afternoon. This was a popular winner for owners Harry and Mary Bennett.
David Brickley also rode a brace on the day. Meadowbranch Kiki set the ball in motion in the Grade D. Again, front-running tactics were employed and despite the best efforts of Lakeview Walter, this son of Kikicolt held on to win by two lengths. Ringo Kid completed the brace for Brickley in the Golden Mile, but, in this two-runner contest, was made to work hard by Easter Lily, who seems to reserve her best runs for this fixture. There was only a half a length between these two at the finish.
So the 2016 road racing season draws to a close but already racegoers are looking ahead to the summer harness racing season, which kicks off at Inchydoney Beach on May 8th.
Novice Pace (The Denis Murphy Cup and Christy Hurley Plant Hire Trophy): 1. M Kelleher, LAKEVIEW ROMEO, Marie Moloney; 2. S Crowley, SEE YOU LATER, J O’Reilly; 3. N Forbes, THE HATCHET LADY, M O’Reilly. Distance 3l 6l; SP 4/5 EV 3/1; three ran.
Grade E (The Martin Swanton Cup and Committee Trophy): 1. H & M Bennett, WELLFIELD DAMIAN, Marie Moloney; 2. G Kane, BIG JIM, T O’Leary; 3. J Cullinane, ROKOCOKO, J O’Reilly. Distance 6l 6l; SP 1/2 5/2 4/1; six ran.
Grade C & D (The Irish Whip Cup and Committee Trophy): 1. Brickley/Shanahan, MEADOWBRANCH KIKI, D Brickley; 2. C & R Joyce, LAKEVIEW WALTER, M O’Reilly; 3. C O’Sullivan, HILLSIDE DARTANIAN, Deirdre Goggin. Distance 2l 10l; SP 4/6 EV 5/4; four ran.
Golden Mile (The Neillie Cleary Memorial and Sandboat Bar Cup): 1. Jennie Brickley, RINGO KID, D Brickley; 2. C Caverly, EASTER LILY, Marie Moloney. Distance 1/2l; SP 1/4 3/1; two ran.
Grade A & B (The Bobby Joe Cup and Jimmy Wolfe Memorial Cup): 1. N Forbes, RHYDS PONDER, Deirdre Goggin; 2. Shanahan/Mycock, DREAM MAKER, D Brickley; 3. Deasy/Hurley/Keohane, RHYDS TRIXTER, J O’Reilly. Distance 6l 1l; SP 2/5 5/2 4/1; 5 ran.