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Lemonfield


By Thomas Weekes

Many eyes will be on the Limerick Harriers’ Lemonfield point to point, near Limerick racecourse, on Sunday March 6, following the win of Last Instalment at the venue last year.

The track is well known as both galloping and fair and is in existence since 2000, when it moved from nearby Friarstown. Many stars have emerged in those ten years, notably Hi Cloy (beaten on his debut there), Gunter McBride, Drombeg and last year’s maiden winner, the promising Last Instalment.

Harriers’ Huntsman Aonghus McNamara knows the area and has ridden in point to points at the track.

McNamara says “we’re hoping for a good point to point again this year and most of the top trainers have entries (Bolger, Tyner, Hourigan, Burke, McKeever, Nolan, Cooper etc). Many of the top riders are coming too – John Thomas (McNamara, Aonghus’ only brother) and Derek O’Connor are coming and the ground is perfect for this time of year.”

He adds “I rode myself as an amateur jockey some years ago and won the Ladies Cup at Punchestown twice in a row. I also had two bumper wins along with 26 point to point successes and had a winner at Lemonfield’s first fixture in 2000.”

“The Hunt itself was formed in 1894 and one year a deer was hunted through the city, across the river Shannon. We now hunt a big area from Newcastle West to Charleville to the outskirts of Limerick City and are very grateful to all the land owners for their support.”

“We have a charity day each year in aid of Milford Hospice and have raised €100,000 over the last ten years. We have a hunter trial organised for Crecora on April 10.”

Regarding Sunday’s action, McNamara says “Billy O’Brien is doing the fences and Pat O’Connor is doing the fence aprons. Brian Carey, formerly a Flat apprentice and conditional jockey, whips in for me on Tuesdays and will be riding on Sunday too – he deserves more chances.”

There are 138 entries (21 in the 4YO Maiden & 37 in the 5YO Maiden) for Sunday’s meeting, with former Cheltenham winner Sky’s The Limit among the 10 entries for Open Lightweight.