Peter Farrell

The two semi finals of the Epic Hero A2/A3 Bitch Stake were the main attraction to Clonmel Greyhound Stadium last night and it was Another Blonde who set the standard with a fine display for Seamus Shealy.

Kindly sponsored by Gerard Hutton, both semi finals of the Epic Hero A2/A3 were very evenly matched in terms of the clock and just .5 spots separated the two winners heading into next week’s decider.

Running in the second semi final, Another Blonde (Ballymac Best - Sing Dixie) was chasing only her second career win from eight starts but she was quickest into stride from trap five to lead the field into the opening bend. Closely followed by last week’s fastest performer, Coolanga Lady in second, the latter motored up the inside to take a narrow lead rounding midway down the back straight. However, Another Blonde showed grit and determination to rise to the challenge as she battled back in the closing yards to cross the line a neck better off than Coolanga Lady in second. The time was a fast 28.84.


Narrowly slower on the clock was Black Summer who landed the opening semi final with an off-the-pace performance for joint owners Sean Leahy and Thomas Norton.

Still searching for her first career win from ten starts prior to last night, Black Summer had to contend with third place rounding the opening turn as both Silk Cut Sally and Minor Droopys showed the better of the early gears. However, Black Summer really began to motor down the far side and she was making rapid progress approaching the penultimate turn. Tracking brilliantly at this point, the daughter of Laughil Bolt and An Cailin Alainn stormed to the front and she duly crossed the line with a length in hand over another fast finisher in Railteen Dara in second. The time was 28.89.


There is no doubt who landed the performance of the night as Please Saxa produced a devastating front-running display in race two to gallop to a runaway victory.

Owned by John Mulcahy, this well-bred daughter of Good News and Mysterious Ways had some useful form in her book but in truth, she hadn’t displayed anything close to what she was to produce in what was a A3 contest. Quickly into stride wearing the red jacket, Please Saxa soon showed immediate acceleration to lead the field into the opening corner and from here, she drew clear to open a nine length gap down the back straight. It was all one-way traffic from Please Saxa up front and she showed no signs of fatigue in the closing stages as she crossed the line seven and a half length better off than Minor Brexit in second. The time was an exceptional 28.67.


The fastest two-bend performance last night came from the Declan Byrne-trained Ballymac Freya (Ballymac Bolger - Ballymac Cameo) in race eight. Owned by Karl Cullen, Ballymac Freya was only moderately into stride from trap one and she was headed by Longview Jack in the early exchanges. However, the leader drifted wide at this point and this allowed Ballymac Freye to shoot up the inside and take control. Staying on well thereafter, she sealed a two length win over Longview Jack, in a time of 16.41.

In the concluding race of the night Serene George made it back-to-back wins for Eddie Ryan in comfortable fashion. A winner last time out in 29.31, the son of Droopys Jet and Leevalley Dancer was about to go considerably faster for connections. Swifty into stride wearing the black jacket, Serene George never broke stride at the opening corner and this proved the decisive factor as he took a two length lead into the back. From here, Ryan’s charge stretched clear down the back and he was never under any pressure thereafter. Galloping to a six length success over Nowursinging in second, the time was an impressive 28.79.