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O'Sullivan and O'Connor share western title spoils

Image © Healy Racing

It was all to play heading into Sunday’s action at Loughrea, with the rescheduled Galway Blazers fixture set to decide the outcome of the closely matched western rider’s title.
 
The defending champion Derek O’Connor was one of three riders title on five winners entering the day’s action alongside his fellow 2023 title holder Pa King and Alan O’Sullivan.
 
It was O’Connor, a 12-time champion in the region, who was the first to strike when he teamed up with John Nallen’s Minella Sixo to gain a hard-fought victory in the Farrell Auctioneers, Valuers and Estate Agents five-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.
 
The Shantou gelding gallantly outbattled King’s mount Barry Fife to edge O’Connor into a one-winner advantage in his quest to secure the title for a 13th time.
 
It was a narrow advantage that he held onto for just 60 minutes, as in the afternoon’s penultimate contest, Alan O’Sullivan drew level once again as he guided his uncle Eugene’s Earth Furies to land the Galway Race Committee open.
 
Their eight-length defeat of Down The Highway was the all-important winner that the 20-year-old Mallow native had been seeking to secure him a share of his first-ever title.
 
In contrast, for O’Connor this 13th title in his home region has come 15 years after his first.

 

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