If you say the name Jonjo O’Neill to an average racing fan, then they will probably reply that he was the jockey who rode some of the greats such as Dawn Run and Sea Pigeon back in the 70’s and 80’s. He has since embarked on a training career, starting in the north before relocating to Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire and this season the winners have just kept coming.
He had a very fruitful Cheltenham Festival which produced three victories, Holywell, Taquin Du Seuil and a World Hurdle triumph courtesy of More Of That, who beat off Annie Power up the hill to put himself at the top of the staying hurdlers division and remain unbeaten. He sent a couple of runners to Southwell on Monday and it was At Reception who was victorious to give the stable their 125th winner of the season under top young conditional Maurice Linehan.
Also amongst the winners on Monday’s card was jockey Andrew Thornton, who rides the course extremely well, and is continuing his pursuit of 1000 winners. He edged another step closer when Speckled Door took the two and a half mile handicap hurdle on his handicap debut, and this winning pointer could be capable of winning more races before the season is out.
Richard Johnson had another winner to try and consolidate his place in second in the jockey’s title as he scored with Tim Vaughan’s Yes Daddy in the two mile handicap hurdle, having enough of a lead to beat the favourite Good Of Luck.
The easiest winner on the card came in the first race of the day when Memorabilia scored under a typically smooth and confident ride from Denis O’Regan and for Newmarket trainer John Ferguson. It was so smooth that Memorabilia also broke the course record in the process and remains a horse on an upward curve over fences.
Other winners on the card included Great Value, who was equally impressive despite not always being fluent in the following handicap chase under Wayne Hutchinson, Lamps was victorious for the second time in a week, and Amberkatann took the closing bumper under very good amateur Bridget Andrews.
We're hosting three meetings next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with more information available online at www.southwell-racecourse.co.uk.