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January 10th at Lisgoold was the scene of the opening meeting where a cracking open saw Stay In Touch under Dermot Costello see off Philip Fenton aboard Peter Curlings grey Kerry Orchid.

At Slanemore Enda Bolger partnered Spot The Difference to win a maiden for Eddie Hales and bought him for J P McManus. He disappointed twice later in the season before becoming one of connections favorite horses in recent years over banks with an incredible 14 wins under rules.

First Winner

Aidan Fitzgerald rode his first winner in a maiden on Deejaydee at Patrickswell and he would later win at the Cheltenham festival for Michael Hourigan and Tony Martin.

Mr Flowers won the older maiden at Loughbrickland under Barry Potts and was a terrific servant to connections still running and winning aged 14. At Tallow Montys Pass won his maiden and went on to win the 2003 Aintree Grand National for Jimmy Mangan.
Carol Hyde won a Ladies open at Askeaton aboard Tearaway King. There was a treble at Clonmel for John Thomas McNamara who went on to win his first title with 32 winners -12 clear of Tony Martin and Tom Lombard. Dinghy, Multeen Jet and West of the Moon provided the hat trick.

Largest meeting of the season

The largest meeting of the season was at Armagh with over 190 runners and 13 races.
At Gowran Park Tom Cloke won the mares’ maiden on Papoose who was the dam of leading Grand National fancy Ballabriggs and also the Edward O’Grady-trained Letterman.

Championship runner-up and Northern Champion Tony Martin rode four winners at Maralin including Lyreen Wonder who was a useful chaser for Arthur Moore winning seven races.

At Bruff J T McNamara won on Ahead Of My Time and in years to come won on two of her progeny Five Seven Live and Oar House.

In the season where both riders had their first point’s winners Vinny Keane and Peter Fahey were both on the mark at Ballyraggett where David O’Brien took a double.

At Cheltenham Joe Tizzard and Earthmover beat a strong Irish contingent including Stay In Touch (D P Costello) 2nd, Flashing Steel (P Fenton) 3rd, Elegant Lord (E Bolger) 5th, Wilbar (J G O’Connell) 6th.

Dermot (3) and Tony (2) Costello shared five winners at Athenry beginning with Silver Lake in the four-year-old maiden

Kings Whisper, Richies Delight and Pollyputthekettlon provided Paul Cashman with a Cloyne treble. Ruby Walsh rode his first point-to-point winner on Mickthecutaway at Naas.


Skipcarl took the Gain Mares’ Final under James Sheahan by an impressive twenty lengths. Ross Geraghty won the mares’ maiden at Castletown on Viviennes Joy but was then disqualified for not holding a Hunter Certificate while Dick Sheil who was later racecourse Manager at Fairyhouse won the winners race on his own Harrys Secret.

Gordon Elliott won the maiden on Park Duke who had failed to complete on all 13 previous starts in points. Walyunga won the mare’ maiden at Inch aged 9 under James Motherway. Two foals later she returned in 2005 aged 16 to pull up at Ballindenisk in an open.

Tony Martin got a fall in an older maiden at Tallanstown aboard Own Fields in an older maiden and missed the ride the following day in the Irish Grand National aboard Son Of War who finished tenth under Barry Cash.

At Dromoland Brian Hassett rode a double on All Right Clark and Pharmacy Trio while the unrelated Darragh Hassett won the confined race on Grey Tide with brother Gareth in third on Kolman K.

William Floods Wilbar won the Joseph O’Reilly under Tony Martin at Fairyhouse by 25l.
I Amond took the Novice riders maiden at Ballacolla on Fonthill with other novice riders including Pat Colville, Cathal Swords and Mark Grant.

At Ballymena Paddy Graffin completed a top season on one of the few horses to win the maximum four –Verywell.

At Sumerhill Diane Duffy on Herb Superb spoiled Enda Bolgers party on Dead Reckoning as Bolger bid to bypass Willie Rooneys record.

A rescheduled Champion Hunter Chase at Navan saw Wilbar and Tony Martin beat Enda Bolger aboard Elegant Lord with four runners and two finished. The other pair had departed by the fourth.

Record breaker

On May 24th Elegant Lord won the open at Ballingarry making Enda Bolger the winning most point-to-point rider and bypassing Willie Rooney. This has since been broken again by Derek O’Connor and Jamie Codd.

Gordon Elliott and Simon McGonagle divided the Novice title on nine winners apiece with Elliott needing a disqualification at the end of the season to lift his score to nine.

John Thomas McNamara however took a crashing fall a week from the end of the season when Pride Of The West hit the ground in the last race at Balingarry only hours after Enda Bolger had broken the record. He had to give his acceptance speech from hospital via telephone link on awards night.

AWARDS VENUE:                                        Jury’s Waterford
CHAMPION RIDER:                                      J.T.McNamara 32 winners
CHAMPION LADY:                                        Lulu Olivefalk
CHAMPION NOVICE(Under 21):                    S.McGonagle
NORTHERN CHAMPION:                               A.J.Martin
SOUTHERN CHAMPION:                               T.Lombard
EASTERN CHAMPION:                                  J.P.Berry
WESTERN CHAMPION:                                 J.T.McNamara
HORSE OF THE YEAR:                                  Stay In Touch
CHAMPION SENIOR(OVER 33):                     A.J.Martin
PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR:                      Bart Arnold
LEADING SIRE                                             Buckskin

32        J.T.McNamara
20        T.Lombard, A.J.Martin,
18        E.Bolger, P.Cashman
17        B.Hassett
15        Paul Crowley, E.Gallagher, L.Lennon
14        N.D.Fehily,
13        W.M.O’Sullivan, R.J.Patton,
12        J.P.Berry, D.P.Costello
11        T.N.Cloke
10        J.A.Collins
9          G.Elliott, P.F.Graffin, B.R.Hamilton, P.M.Kelly, S.McGonagle,
8          A.Fleming, D.M.O’Brien, J.G.Sheehan,
7          A.G.Costello, J.L.Cullen, R.Flavin, J.Motherway, J.S.Vance,
6          J.Bright, P.Buchanan, P.M.Cloke, C.A.Murphy, B.Potts
5          M.A.Cahill, W.Ewing, G.J.Harford, D.M.Keane, R.P.McNally, D.A.Nugent, Lulu Olivefalk, K.O’Sullivan,
4          J.A.Boland, J.P.Brennan, P.J.Burke, D.W.Cullen, F.P.Cunnigham, Diane Duffy, N.Geraghty, R.Geraghty, T.Gibney, R.Hurley, V.T.Keane, J.O.McGurgan, J.P.McNamara, D.Murphy, J.P.Murphy, J.G.O’Connell, Rose Ring, M.Spillane
3          J.A.Berry, P.J.Crowley, D.P.Daly, E.Fehily, P.Fenton, A.Fitzgerald, F.M.Hanley, J.Lombard, P.McAleese, P.P.O’Brien, J.F.Robinson, J.M.Roche, J.R.Ryan, D.Valentine, D.Whelan.
2          R.J.Barnwell, K.Beecher, D.M.Christie, G.Clugston, A.J.Costello, P.P.Curran, J.P.Dempsey, B.N.Doyle, P.Fahey, D.E.Finn, J.E.Finn, Barry Fitzgerald, P.J.Gilligan, R.Marrion, J.O.McGrath, G.J.McKeever, A.McNamara, B.Moran, T.J.Nagle, K.F.O’Donnell, A.D.O’Leary, N.W.O’Neill, B.O’Sullivan, D.Quaid, K.M.Roche, R.M.Sheil, J.J.Smyth, L.J.Temple, N.W.Toal, Lucy Townsley
I.T.Amond, W.L.Andrew, C.Andrews, J.P.Baragry, J.Beamish, P.P.Brennan, I.Buchanan, V.J.Burke, A.G.Cash, Barry Clohessy, J.T.Codd, P.J.Colville, C.J.Cosgrave, M.Costello, M.Cronin, B.J.Crowley, G.Crowley, T.W.Cullen, A.J.Dempsey, Lillian Doyle, D.Duggan, D.J.Duggan, M.J.Dunne, Carol Durkan, R.J.Egan, T.J.Farrell, M.P.Fitzgerald, D.W.Flavin, R.H.Fowler, L.J.Gracey, D.Hassett, M.T.Hogan, Mary Hogan, T.P.Hyde, J.Johnston, J.T.Keeling, N.C.Kelleher, R.D.Lee, D.P.Magner, C.J.Maguire, L.D.McBratney, P.J.McCrickard, R.M.P.McNally, G.Mulcaire, P.G.Murphy, J.V.O’Brien, C.M.O’Donovan, E.J.O’Grady, P.O’Keeffe, D.O’Meara, J.F.O’Meara, G.J.Power, K.Ross, Kate Rudd, M.D.Scanlon, J.A.Smith, A.P.St George, B.Walsh, R.Walsh, S.L.Wrynn.

To have a look back through some previous years click on the link below.

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