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AUTUMN 2017: Novice Riders

AUTUMN 2017: Novice Riders

Eight riders rode their first winner since the beginning of the season while last year’s joint Novice Champion rider, Shane Fitzgerald is the current leading rider in this year’s table with four wins, all of which were provided by Mick Goff.

It was a memorable day for three young riders on the opening day of the season at Castletown-Geoghegan on Sunday as Adam Feeney, Michael O’Sullivan and Ben Love all rode their first winners between the flags.

18-year-old Adam Feeney was the first of the trio to get a winner on the board on the opening day as he steered the Garrett Ahern-trained Sweet Destination to victory in the five-and-six-year-old mares’ maiden. Feeney, who is based with Cork handler Garrett was having his seventh ride to date and is a son of point-to-point rider Tom Feeney.

Michael O’Sullivan was the next novice rider to enjoy his first winner in the saddle as his mount, A Decent Excuse ran out the three length winner of the Open. Michael is also a nephew of the winning handler/owner, Eugene O’Sullivan. The 17 year-old Cork native who is currently in sixth year at school went on to ride a further two winners both of which were for his uncle.

The final race on the card was the six-year-old and upwards maiden for novice riders which went the way of Cee Jay McBride under 18 year-old Ben Love. From Dunshaughlin, Love had three rides last season and is currently studying for his Leaving Certificate while also riding out part-time for handler Gavin Cromwell.

Patrick McGuigan, a native of Rasharkin in Co. Antrim enjoyed a successful day at Kirikistown as he finished third aboard Stornaway in the five-year-old-geldings as well as riding his first point-to-point winner when he steered the Colin McKeever-trained Adamstown to success in the Winners Of Two.

18-year-old Lorcan Kavanagh recorded his initial career success aboard Sea Beat at Boulta in November. Kavanagh, who previously spent some time with Liam Cusack, presently works alongside James Sheehan and this was just the teenager’s fourth mount in public.

The six-year-old and upwards maiden for novice riders at Moira in December saw 20-year-old Daire McConville from Portadown enjoy his first career success when steering He Knows My Name to victory for the Marshal Watson yard.

19-year-old Dungarvan native Conor Houlihan rode his first point-to-point winner at Mainstown aboard Racing Again for Con O’Keeffe. Conor who is currently in first year at WIT studying Business rides out in the mornings and afternoons for David and John Kiely as well as Con O’Keeffe.

At Ballindenisk in December, 19-year-old Edward Doggrell from Sherborne in Dorset partnered an initial winner on Irish soil when Carrignagapple won the Winners of Two for his owner/trainer/breeder Cathy Hamilton. Doggrell presently works alongside former British point-to-point champion Will Biddick in Somerset.

As part of a new feature on, we spoke to some of the next generation of riders that have enjoyed success so far this season. Click here to find out more.


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