After the conclusion of the first big prize money event last week, the Bresbet Easter Cup, racing ramped up with the first round of the country’s second most valuable stake getting underway, in Limerick, the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial.
Sponsored by Limerick’s finest, Noreen and JP McManus, with a purse of €80k to the winner, the country’s top young dogs came from far and wide to take their chance in the first round on Saturday. Beside this events there were seven top finals around the tracks up for grabs in what was another great week for racing in Ireland.
Early Week Racing
Thursday, Shelbourne, the first final of the week was an ON2 unraced that has beenabled progressing through the rounds for a few weeks. The €2k first prize went to the impeccably bred Maries Wedding (Droopys Sydney - Ballymac Petsy) and Dolores Ruth, in 28.82, by nine lengths at 2/1.
First Offaly winner of the week was in the semifinal of an A4 bitch stake, Coolemount Raven won by the shortest of heads, in 29.64 at 2/1, for Croghan trainer Gerry Merriman. In the final of an A3 750 yard stake, Glasmeen Gem (Droopys Sydney - Ballymac Fifi) won the €1.2k purse for Declan Kelly in 42.62 by two lengths at 2/1. Second Offaly winner was in Limerick as Brunswick Billy won an A5 race in 29.46, by one length at 7/2, for Geashill trainer Margaret Bolton.
Enniscorthy hosted the second round of the Future Champions and Micheal Fortune Memorial Open unraced stake, also on Thursday, eight heats, all in super winning times. Fastest of them was Stefans Rock for Shea Campbell in a blistering 28.90 (20 slow), by five lengths, at 4/6 fav. One for notebook.
There was an abundance of top class racing around the tracks on Friday. In Shelbourne Park, in the final of an A3 stake, Costa Candy (Dorotas Woo Hoo - Borna Candy) was first past the line and won the cheque for €2.2k for the Costalot Syndicate, in 29.15 at 7/2, by three lengths.
Newbridge had one of their big final nights of the year, the Brownstown Tango and NTSC Open unraced bitch, won last year by Good Diva for John Kennedy. A fine line up and expect to be reading more about all six as the year progresses. The winner of the €3.2k pot was Tullymurry Faith (Droopys Sydney - Droopys Ring) for Damian McGinn in a fine 28.6 by two lengths at 9/4. Expect to see this bitch next in the Puppy Oaks which will be starting shortly in Shelbourne.
Kilkenny also hosted the final of one of their annual top events, the Ballymac Anton @ Stud McCalmont Cup A1 stake. Local trainer Murt Leahy once again won this stake, having won it last year with Dark Devil. Murt succeeded this time with Zoom (Coolavanny Jap - Droopys Dorothy) in 28.90 (30 slow) at 9/4 with €5k to the winner here.
The conclusion of the Galway Stadium A3 sweepstake was the highlight of a decent card in the country’s only racing stadium in the west of Ireland. Another fine line up with the €4K prize, again staying local, as Headford Honey (Tyrur Bigmike - Headford Fantasy) won by three lengths for Seamus Leahy in 28.90 (20 slow) at 6/4 fav.
The first big final of the year in Curraheen Park was the 2022 Cork Oaks. The trophy stayed with Graham Holland, having won it last year with Cloda Skye, he had Millbank Chosen (Dorotas Wildcat - Droopys Sylvia) on the winners podium in a rapid 28.26 (10 fast) by four lengths at 2/1. €5k to the winner here with Cielo in second for Owen Mckenna winning €2k.
All thirteen races in Limerick were the first round heats of the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial Stake. Seventy eight dogs went to post for the country’s top Juvenile event all vying to take the title from last year’s winner Stonepark Leo trained by Mark O’Donovan. Some exceptional runs delivered on the night with most of the top trainers having a winner and with a double for Pat Buckley. Fastest heat winner on the night was Deadly Showtime for Laois trainer Karol Ramsbottom, in 28.16, by eight lengths. Others to impress were Ballinabola Ed for Buckley in 28.23, Kilgraney Sydney for Thomas Buggy and Glengar Scholar again for Buckley in 28.24. A lot of racing to be run in this stake yet with forty eight dogs still standing.
Five Offaly winners in Mullingar, on a track that was rated .60 slow there was still some fine runs completed. Our first winner was in an ON2 unraced, Wee Castle won by seven lengths in 29.87 at 4/7 for Edenderry trainer David Hanlon. In an A5 grade, Demise Rose was first past the post for Tubber owner Joe Keyes, in 30.09, by three lengths at 4/1. In an A4 sweepstake final, Korando (Sh Avatar- Boynepark Smarty) won the €500 first prize for Rhode owner P.J. Cocoman in 29.58 by four lengths at 4/1. Our next winner was in an A4 contest, Beechgrove Lady won in 30.05 by seven lengths at 2/1 for Ballycommon owner Peter Raine. In the semi-finals of an A1 dual distance stake, 525/550 yard, Hear It Babe had two lengths to spare over her rivals, in 29.72 at 5/2, for Clara owner Bernard (Sonny) Walsh. One other final of note, in an ON3 unraced stake, Hennos Norm (Greenwell Hulk - Joshs Henno) won in 30.21 by two lengths at 3/1 with the €900 first prize going to Meath owner Patrick Henrick.
In Headquarters, dogs paraded for the first round of the Shelbourne Open 600 yard stake, won last year by the great Ballymac Wild for Liam Dowling. Four heats with Allforthebest going fastest for the H.D.J. Syndicate in 32.30 by four lengths at 4/6 fav. This dog will take some beating in this stake having already proved to be the top 600 yard dog in Shelbourne when winning over the trip at the winter festival of racing night. One Offaly winner on the supporting card, in the final of the Skywalker Canny @ stud A1 dual distance stake over the 575/600 yard trip, Geneva Holly (Droopys Sydney - Newinn Boodles) was first home in 32.58 by one length at a decent 8/1 with the €2k purse going to Kinnitty owner Jeannette Mackenzie.
In Kilcohan Park, the semi-finals of the Waterford Open Select Stakes took centre stage, both won in identical times of 28.44 (10 fast). Last years winner Skywalker Barry took the first for Mark O’Donovan by three lengths at 2/1, recording his twenty third career win. The second semi went to One Time Only for Thomas O’Donovan by one length at 8/1 beating a few very short odds dogs in the process. First prize in Saturday’s final will be €9.5k for the winner. One final in. Waterford to Mention was the Paddy and Ciara Sharkey Bookmakers and WTSC A2 575 stake. A worthy winner here of the €2.1k pot as Ballymac Freya (Ballymac Bolger - Ballymac Cameo) won all of the previous rounds and final in 31.33 by two lengths at 5/4 fav for local Deise trainer Declan Byrne.
Three Offaly winners at the matinee meeting in Mullingar, first two were in A4 grades, Lingrawn Elody won in 29.77 by two lengths at 5/2 for Moneygall owner Mary Jones. Horseleap Nelly followed up her latest good form when winning again for Sean McGuinness, in 29.90 by two lengths, at 5/4. Our final winner of the week was Kilbride Dan in an A5 grade for Margaret Bolton, in 30.02 by two lengths, at 10/1. All races in Mullingar were rated .60 slow.
Thursday, quarter-finals of the Champion unraced in Enniscorthy, final of A4 bitch stake in Shelbourne. Saturday, Final of the dual distance A1 stake in Mullingar, final of the Waterford Select stake, semifinals of the Shelbourne Open 600 and second round of the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial in Limerick. Loads of exciting racing ahead.
Tribune Offaly dog of the week
Easy decision this week with Geneva Holly winning the final of an A1 600 in Shelbourne on Saturday night for Jeanette Mackenzie. Well deserved.
In a week where over €50k was given out in prize money, Offaly dogs got a share and returned a very positive eleven winners in the week. Congratulations to all involved in any way.
Late Donal Beattty
On Sunday evening we heard of the sad passing of one of our great friends in the Greyhound industry, Donal Beatty. Born and reared about dogs it was inevitable that greyhounds would be a great part of his life. With his father Paddy he set up his first rearing kennels in Hawksfield before moving to his fine premises now just outside Killeigh. He spent his life breeding, rearing and racing Greyhounds. He was one of the most popular and well liked men you could meet and all he wanted to talk about was dogs. He lived for Shelbourne Park at derby time, Clonmel in February for the National coursing meeting. As the Greyhound fraternity is a small one, to lose Donal so young is a tragedy. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and ever had the pleasure to meet him both on and off the tracks. To his wife Arlene and all his family, we offer our deepest condolences. R.I.P.
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