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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Father and son in cobalt case made mark on pointing scene

Michael McConville (right) and his father Stephen (left) accept the Red Mills champion point-to-pointer award for Anseanachai Cliste from John Gerety of Red Mills (centre) in 2016
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Stephen McConville, who has been banned for three years by the BHA following its investigation into the cobalt incident at the Cheltenham Festival in March, trains a small team of horses under a restricted licence in Portadown, County Armagh.

Anseanachai Cliste, the nine-year-old chaser whose withdrawal from the Foxhunter Chase was ordered by the Cheltenham stewards, is the most successful horse McConville has trained.

Owned by McConville's son Michael, Anseanachai Cliste has won 12 point-to-points, half of them for the McConvilles, with Michael who was due to ride him at Cheltenham, partnering him to all six victories for his father.

The horse won the Red Mills champion point-to-pointer award in Ireland last year.

Nine days after being prevented from running at Cheltenham, Anseanachai Cliste gave the McConvilles their biggest win when landing the Ulster National at Downpatrick, scoring by a head under Dylan Robinson.

McConville has had only three runners in Ireland this season: Anseanacha Cliste ran fifth in a handicap chase at Downpatrick in June, Lady Multifix was unplaced in two bumpers at the same course and Boogily Lane finished out of the money in a handicap hurdle at Down Royal.

Before Anseanachai Cliste's Ulster National success, McConville had not trained a racecourse winner since 2011 when Leggy Lad scored over fences at Sligo and Down Royal to add to a maiden hurdle victory at Naas in 2010.

Anseanachai Cliste gave them their biggest win when landing the Ulster National at Downpatrick
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