Ian Fortune

Catunda Luna produced the standout performance at a bitterly cold Shelbourne Park on Friday night, being the only runner on the night to dip under 29 seconds.

It was clear from early the conditions weren’t going to allow for fast times but Catunda Luna obviously had other ideas.

A well bred daughter of Good News and Toms Delight, Michael Byrne’s tracker looked a bright prospect as she left her rivals standing. Despite stepping right from trap three in the early yards, the fast starting January ’19 whelp was always in control. Two lengths clear at the third turn, she increased her lead to three lengths by the third turn and then raced right away up the straight to eventually strike by seven lengths in a fast 28.65. Expect to hear more of this young bitch in the coming months.

Elsewhere on the card, Ollie Bray recorded a fine double with newcomer Knight Hurricane and Sunshine Queen. The former looked a nice type on debut, leading as they entered the back straight before racing on to a two length victory over Glory Pearl in 29.09. The son of Laughil Blake and Royal Highflyer won’t be two years of age until May.

Sunshine Queen completed Bray’s double in the third race. She too won’t be two until May but it was scarcely evident as she produced a foot-perfect display of front running. Cutting the corner she made all to score by four lengths from Cloran Cookie in 29.00.  

The remaining races were all won in remarkably similar times. In fact, less than four lengths separated the remaining eight winners over 525 on the clock. Abbeyville Ben was slowest, winning in 29.32, while Kilbride Kyle (29.12), Cayan Champ (29.07), Cobs Road (29.16), Ballymac Maryjoe (29.12), Pennys Baloo (29.20), Superior Racking (29.09) and Moyola Seamrog (29.16) were the remaining winners.

The sole 550yd contest saw Innfield Rayne hold on in a tight finish. Barry Clancy and Timothy Downey’s daughter of Eden The Kid and Forest Bell made virtually all to contain the late charge of both On Stage Poppy and Deadly Endeavour by a head and a neck in 30.31.