The penultimate point to point fixture of the Ulster season on Saturday at Newry saw points fans endure a winter’s day of wind, rain and cold.
The inclement conditions took a toll on the attendance however, the progressive Mr Bolt, which is owned by a quartet of Belfast boys linked to the point to point betting ring, completed a quartet of victories and successfully supplemented his debut win in open company at Ballymena when landing the feature in a photo finish by a head from Muirhead.
The success was important as rider and former regional champion, Noel McParlan is now one behind [19-20] Derek O’Connor who heads the Northern Region riders championship with only the two-day Necarne Festival at Irvinestown remaining.
Winning Silverbridge based trainer, Sean McParlan said: “I’m delighted for the lads – I’ll try to find another similar contest before the end of the season.”
Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton, who saddled his stable star, Warne to finish fourth in the Champion Hunterchase at Punchestown the previous evening, supplied the winner of the opener, Definitely Grey, which scored with Declan Lavery aboard albeit a degree lucky with Slicker City falling at the final fence when in the lead.
This is another youngster destined for sale with the local trainer successfully selling several talented pointers at last week’s bloodstock sales.
The form of the Ballymena man was further endorsed on Sunday when Chef D’Oeuvre won at Laurencetown.
The five year old geldings maiden took a similar twist with the aptly named, Ah Little Luck falling at the last fence to allow I Just Know to win and denying Noel McParlan, who partnered the faller, the opportunity to draw level in his quest to regain his riders title.
Lisburn trainer George Stewart combined with former champion rider Mark O’Hare in the mares maiden with Howwouldsheknow scoring.
The Newry rider doubled up on the day when sharing the spoils in finale with his mount, Without Wings, trained by Liam Lennon, dead heating with the Graham McKeever trained, Mighty Leader partnered by Derek O’Connor.
Quiet Account trained at Crossgar by Colin McBratney returned to action in points after placed efforts on the course to claim the older geldings maiden providing Noel McParlan with a treble at Taylorstown.
The winning trainer said: “I pleased for the owners who have been great supporters in recent years. He’ll go back the track now.”
The winner is owned by Donaghcloney based Frances Savage, who has enjoyed considerable success with her horses from the Crossgar yard.
The Ulster point to point got further endorsement at the Punchestown Festival when Petit Mouchoir – winner of his maiden on his debut at Kirkistown claimed the £100,000 Land Rover bumper.
General Principal is another bumper winner which made his winning debut at the North Down venue while Yorkhill, formerly based with Templepatrick handler, Colin McKeever and now trained by Willie Mullins, was ultra impressive winning his bumper at last week’s festival.