It was a slow week for the Offaly winners but when they happened they were quality ones. The best news of the week was the proposed reopening of Lifford track with the gates having been closed for nearly two years. There was the quarterfinals of English Derby plus all the usual sweepstakes finals and some top class sweepstakes beginning.
Early Week Racing
For what is a rarity on a Monday in Mullingar no Offaly winners. There was, however, a four timer for local trainer David Murray and a double for another local and loyal Mullingar supporter Joe Quirke.
Tuesday, in Shelbourne, in the semi-finals of the Vinster Sports Media ON2 Unraced, Kelseys Mitch won the first, for Owen Conway, in 28.79 by two lengths, at 5/1 with Highview Nial in second for Croghan trainer Gerry Merriman. The second semi also went to a Croghan owner as Sallagh Frank won for Mick Lynch in 29.25 by three lengths at 7/2.
Thursday, in Newbridge, in the final of an A3 sweepstake, last weeks dog of the week, Kilcooney Limit (Over Limit- Kilcooney Maid), showed some fine early pace to clear the field and go on to win by five lengths, in a brilliant 28.50, at 2/1. His .88 split has seldom been equalled or bettered. €1k to the owners Marie and Thomas Garry.
In Tralee, in the second round of the Ballymac Anton at stud quad distance stake, with the first round over 500 yards, this week it was over the 525 course with Patsys Pleasure going fastest for local trainer Brendan Maunsell in 29.01 (10 slow) by ten lengths at 5/2. There were six heats in the first round of the Pestana at stud and Droopys Kennels Hospital stakes, also in Tralee, with Cashen Tatyana setting the standard in 28.76 (10 slow) by five lengths also at 5/2 with Chris Houlihan at the helm.
In Kilkenny, in the final of the Sports Information Services ON2 Unraced stake, Crafty Bonanza (Pat C Sabbath- Allowdale Nokia) won the €2.7k first prize in 28.97 (20 slow) by three lengths at 6/1 for owner Peter Divilly.
Another blank Saturday night for the faithful county dogs. Curraheen Park in Cork hosted the semi-finals of the Denis Linehan Solicitors ON1 Unraced Stake, Dromana Bucko posted an eye catching 27.93 (20 fast) by twelve lengths at a very short 2/5 for Mark O’Donovan in the first with the second going to Droopys Dorado for Kildare trainer Frazer Black in 28.49 (20 fast) by three lengths at 9/4.
The highlight of a decent card in Limerick was the final of the Widdess Fitzgibbon Pharmacy Treaty Cup Open Sprint, but of an upset here as Millrose Melody (Ballymac Matt- Laughil Linda) won by one length at a decent 8/1 for owner Leanne Rafferty in 18.68. €2k to the winner here.
In Shelbourne Park, in the first round of the Open 550 stake, five heats with Ballymac Ariel going fastest, fresh from her exit in the third round of the English Derby in 29.55 by six lengths at even money with Liam Dowling training. In the first round of the Corn Cuchulainn open 750, also with five heats, Dowling also had the fastest winner as Ballymac Wisdom crossed the line a short head ahead of Boylesportsbingo in 41.58 at 1/2. 2020 winner Ballymac Kingdom also showed he’d lost none of his prowess when winning in 41.62. Lot of racing to be done in these two stakes yet.
The quarter-finals of the Star Sports and TRC English Derby were all the talk on Saturday night waiting to see what Irish dogs would progress into the semifinals. What a night was in store as last years winner Deerjet Sydney, Gaytime Milo and Knocknaboul Syd won three of the four heats. Of the twelve dogs remaining eight are Irish with the first two in the betting from this side of the pond, Knocknaboul at 11/5 favorite and Deerjet at 9/2. The Irish trainers remaining with a shot at the title are Graham Holland, Liam Dowling and Pat Buckley each with two dogs, Robert Gleeson and Paul Hennessy both with one. Don’t be surprised if all six finalists are Irish dogs after Saturday’s semi’s. Here’s hoping.
Only the one Offaly winner at the matinee meeting in Mullingar, in an A4 contest, Weather Maker had his sixteenth career win for Ballycommon owner Peter Raine in 29.87 (50 slow) by four lengths at 5/1.
Friday, semi-finals of the Ballymac Anton at stud quad distance over the 550 yard trip and quarterfinals of the Pestana at stud A2 sweepstake, both at Tralee. Saturday, semifinals of the English Derby in Towcester, final of the Denis Linehan Unraced in Cork, quarterfinals of the Shelbourne Open 550 and quarter-finals of the Corn Cuchalainn both at Headquarters.
Tribune Offaly dog of the week
For the second week in a row Kilcooney Limit gets the nod for winning the final of an A3 sweepstake in Newbridge on Thursday, in a class 28.50, for Geashill owners Marie and Thomas Garry. Well deserved dog of the week.
Just the three Offaly winners this week. Well done to all concerned.
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