Peter Farrell

With an eventual winner’s purse of €2,000, the seven opening round heats of the ‘Welcome Back To Sport A4/A5 525’ were the main attraction to Galway stadium last night and Astro Abby took the honours of fastest opening round winner with a solid 28.95 effort in heat five.

Trained by Stephen Murray for the Pepper-Williams-Murray syndicate, Astro Abby produced a strong running display from halfway to notch her first win since the turn of the year. Slowly into stride from trap two, the daughter of ‘Storm Control - Cragbrien Shaw’ had to bide her time in behind before delivering a powerful finish in the latter stages of the contest. Flying up the home straight, ‘Abby’ claimed her eighth career win as she accounted for a near six length win over Killanin Sky in second. The time was a fast 28.95.


Not too far away in terms of the clock, Burren Ripple produced a polished performance to land heat two in style.

A winner over three distances ranging from 525 to 570, Burren Ripple is a consistent type for the Burren-syndicate and he was well away from trap one only to be led in the early yards by Rathin Rover. Soon in control though, the son of ‘Sidaz Jack - Rallying Way’ quickly stretched clear and recorded a comfortable five and a half length win, in a nice time of 28.97.


The opening heat of night was landed in dominant fashion by Pinnacle Rio (Rio Quattro - Fawn Samantha) who made it five wins from just the eight starts. Owned by Michael Costello, Pinnacle Rio pinged out in front wearing the black jacket and never saw another tail as he was rampant in recording a nine and a half length victory. The time was a slick 29.02.

Pat & Gerard McMahon got on the scoresheet in heat three as Banner Chops (Laughil Duke - Whiteford Meg) made it back to back wins in his first race at Galway. Having to settle for second for most of the way, Banner Chops pounced late on to claim a length and a quarter victory over Ougham Tubber in second. The time for the Donal Duggan trained black and white was 29.55.

Michael Hogan will have a big say in the quarter finals of the Bar One Irish Sprint Cup tonight at Dundalk and his Grangeview Mags (Droopys Jet - Blastoff Khalesi) looks a very decent type indeed as she landed heat four. Just an October 18’ whelp, ‘Mags’ was still seeking her first win but she took control early from trap six and maintained a strong gallop throughout. A three and a quarter length winner come the winning line, the time was a smart 29.08.

Annaghdown Sky is in the midst of a purple patch at present and the Stephen Dillon and Seamus Leahy owned brindle recorded a second win from three starts in heat six. Well away from trap five, the daughter of ‘Pat C Sabbath - Headford Hoe’ was headed by Deerpark West for much of the way but emerged in front at the third turn before holding off the strong finish of Crokers Tommy in second. Three parts of a length better off at the line, the time was 29.35.

The final heat of the night saw local trainer Martin Fahy notch a winner as his Mall Finn Junior showed big pace to land the spoils. A red hot 4/6 favourite, the son of ‘Rio Quattro - Paradise Maria’ was only moderately away from trap one but moved past runners like a knife through butter and eventually ran out a two length victor. The time for the Michael Casey owned black was 29.06 and the fellow is one to follow in the next round.