Peter Farrell

Sweepstake action was the order of play last night at Galway Greyhound Stadium and there were a number of impressive performances as the track gear up for a bumper night of finals next Thursday night.

The stake action got underway in race three as the opening semi final of the WGOBA Brigid Frank Appreciation A4 525 was landed in good style by Drombeg Glory at odds of 2/1. Owned by Evan McAuliffe was searching for a ninth career victory and the brindle broke well for three to hold all the aces entering the opening corner. Setting a strong gallop thereafter, the daughter of Droopys Jet and Market Glory was never under threat as she crossed the line four lengths clear of the dead-heating pair, Ballaghboy Panda and Merciful Debbie. The time was 29.34 .20s.

In the second semi final, Magical Gem justified her 5/4 price tag to record her first career victory at the sixth time of asking. Owned by Pat Guilfoyle, the extremely well-bred daughter of Magical Bale and Forest Natalee came away well from two and she tracked the early leader, Breaghmore Ava for three parts of the contest. Taking control between the bottom two bends however, Magical Gem galloped all the way to the line as she held off the strong finish of Clooney Dasher by a length. The time was 29.40 .20s.


The WGOBA Stephen Murray Top Team 525 was next on the agenda and of three top-class semi finals, it was Blakemount Lotto (Ballymac Best - Oakview Brae) who went narrowly quickest.

Owned by Mark McDonnell, this February 20’ whelp had shown big improvement in recent weeks and she stepped up once more to record a career best effort. Fast away from trap five, Blakemount Lotto, a 2/1 chance, showed fine early dash and set a powerful gallop throughout to come home a length and three parts clear of Master Of Magic at the winning line. The time was a rapid 28.86 .20s.

In the second semi final, Brickhill Layla produced a strong finish to run out a comprehensive winner for John Collins and Albert Long. Heading to traps a 9/4 shot, Brickhill Layla nestled in behind Dance Pondo in the early exchanges but the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Rathmeehan May made her move midway down the back. Drawing clear thereafter, she had over four lengths in hand of the Dance Pondo at the winning line. The time was 29.05 .20s.

The last of the semi finals saw another strong-running display and this time it was the Denis Curtin-owned Jumeirah Bridge. A 5/4 chance at the off, Jumeirah Bridge broke well wearing the black jacket and he disputed with the even money favourite, Salmic Sunset, early on. Taking a narrow lead into the back, the son of Droopys Jet and Jumeirah Lols, trained by Matthew Harte,  showed fine acceleration to put daylight between himself and his rival and he maintained that strong gallop all the way to the winning line. Crossing a length and three parts clear of Salmic Sunset, the time was a brisk 28.89 .20s.


Finishing up the card was the three semi finals of the WGOBA Pat O’Loughlin Top Team 525 and it was Buttsys Bullet who went quickest as he ensured a double of the night for trainer Matthew Harte.

Heading to traps the 6/4 second favourite, Buttsys Bullet was only moderately into stride from trap two but he displayed sizzling early gears to barge his way through runners at the opening turn. Holding a two length advantage into the back straight, the son of Ballymac Best and Killeacle Tammy stretched clear at this point and he eventually ran out a comfortable four length winner over Taurus in second. The time was a good 29.29 .20s.

The second semi final saw Sir Sean pounce late to give joint owners Noreen and Lilly-Ann Cremin a second career win. Sent off a 5/2 market chance, Sir Sean broke best of all wearing the stripes but he was outpaced early on as Croaghill Jaytee took charge rounding the opener. However, Sir Sean was as game as a pheasant throughout as he knuckled down to regain control in the closing yards. Storming past the gallant Croaghill Jaytee, the son of Sir Paddy and Rylane Dubh has three parts of a length in hand crossing the line as the clock read 29.46 .20s.

After being collared late on in the second semi final, Alan and John McDonagh did have reason to celebrate in the last of the semi finals as Croaghill Lizzy made a winning return to action. Sent off a 5/2 chance, Croaghill Lizzy broke brilliantly from six but was forced to play second fiddle behind the early-paced Ougham Sky early on. However, never too far off the pace, the daughter of Laughil Blake and Croaghill Girl delivered a strong finishing kick to see off Smooth Shot by a length and a half crossing the line. The time was a slick 29.27 .20s.