Top turnout at Loughanmore

Mark Hanna , Laura Dick , Sara Dick , Tara Smith , Eileen Steele , Ross Smith, Mavis Dunlop, Lynn Dunlop , Rachael               Stevenson from Ballyrobert
Mark Hanna , Laura Dick , Sara Dick , Tara Smith , Eileen Steele , Ross Smith, Mavis Dunlop, Lynn Dunlop , Rachael Stevenson from Ballyrobert

The East Antrim point to point at Loughanmore which was held over Easter attracted a major turnout.

And while Easter Monday always generates a massive crowd, the second day supplied another bumper attendance aided by the Spring sunshine.

02nd  - Canadian Steel (5) & D G Lavery -  Trainer: B R Hamilton  - purple & pink check  &  01st  - Gonal (7) & N Gault -  Trainer: John Bryson  - black & white hoops

02nd - Canadian Steel (5) & D G Lavery - Trainer: B R Hamilton - purple & pink check & 01st - Gonal (7) & N Gault - Trainer: John Bryson - black & white hoops

Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton produced a smart recruit when Lucky Pass proved the runaway winner of the opener on day one at Loughanmore. The winner with stable rider, Declan Lavery in the saddle impressed when quickening in the closing stages to register a very easy debut victory after Battleford which had been headed fell at the final fence.

Hamilton said of his winner: “I always thought a good bit of him and it was nice for him to show his class first time out. I think he’ll be for sale now.”

The Liz Lawlor trained and ridden, Carrigeen Acebo, duly turned the mares open into a procession when winning in facile fashion for the Champion Lady rider elect. Larne trainer Stuart Crawford, who had to settle for second in the first race, recorded success at his home venue with Mia’s Storm making a winning debut. Leading Ulster owner Wilson Dennison, who supplies the course, registered another winner when A Plein Temps opened his account with Irish Champion rider, Derek O’Connor aboard.

The John Bryson owned and trained, Gonal, was another local success when following up his Armagh maiden victory in the winners contest with Nathan Gault aboard. The odds on favourite, Ballyoptic departed at the last fence.

Mighty Leader, trained by Graham McKeever close to the track, landed the finale to warrant support with the winner owned by the Ballynure Old Boys Syndicate and was making a winning points debut following six starts on the course proper.

A double on day two adding to his first day success saw Barry O’Neill named the top rider at Loughanmore.

Crosslanes made all the running to claim the first race of the second session beating the Graham McKeever trained Lovefromabove into second.

The rider, who heads the Ulster Championship with 15 winners – two ahead of Derek O’Connor quickly followed up when scoring on Mister To Mister trained at Ballyclare by Ben Arthey in the adjacent hunt contest.

Despite just four runners, the winners event supplied a dead heat with the Sean McParlan trained Mr Bolt rallying to such good effect in the closing stages the judges were unable to separate the Noel Mc Parlan partnered horse and odds on favourite, Fagan with Derek O’Connor in the saddle which had appeared set for victory at the last.

Graham McKeever completed a double over the two days when landing the feature on day two with Chosen Dream – owned by longstanding Ulster racing supporter, Peggy Hagan.

Multiple Irish Champion O’Connor again had to settle for runner-up on favourite, Frost, in the six year old geldings maiden won by Charlie Mon. The winner is trained at Lisburn by George Stewart and partnered by Martin Lynch – the winner owned and bred by Gareth Metcalfe at Newtownards.

County Meath trainer Tony Martin, who registered a treble at Fairyhouse, supplied the winner of the finale when Twenty Four Years - with top class lady rider, Maxine O’Sullivan in the saddle - easily landed the older mares maiden for Ulster owner, Thomas Steele.