Ian Fortune

The semi finals of the Suncroft Festival Puppy Oaks were the feature at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night but there were wonderful displays throughout the twelve race card.

Crafty Jayko and Ballymac Snazzy both impressed in the Puppy Oaks but the headlines went to the former as she displayed real ability to dominate.


After a missed kick seven days earlier, Crafty Jayko made no such mistake on this occasion, flashing from tap five to lead from the opening yards.

In contrast, Maries Wedding, who set the pace in the opening round, mistimed the start.

As a result, Crafty Jayko had the room to get up to full stride. Carlow Bee was closest in the early yards but had no answer to Crafty Jayko. Maries Wedding moved with purpose down the back straight to move second but there was no stopping Crafty Jayko.

Shane Divilly’s daughter of Priceless Boris and Jaytee Charlie is very strong and she maintained a relentless gallop to the line to emerge a comfortable three length scorer in 28.26. Maries Wedding lost nothing in defeat, while Droopys Dot stayed on to take third, a further length back.


Ballymac Snazzy had the draw in her favour in the opening heat and took full advantage.

After a level start, Ballymac Snazzy and Droopys Request soon separated themselves from the remainder with the pair racing side by side into the turn.

With the inside line in her favour, Ballymac Snazzy quickly moved on before they entered the back straight. This was the decisive moment in the race. Droopys Request did press the leader into the third turn but was never going to be given the room to challenge and Ballymac Snazzy remained in control as they turned for home.

Maintaining a strong gallop to the line, the daughter of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Belle went on to see off the persistent Droopys Request by two lengths in 28.42. Kildallon Tilly got the better of Ballymac Arminta down the back straight and went on to qualify in third, some three and a half lengths further adrift.


Final draw









Three were three heats of the RCETS A0 525 on the undercard and Owen McKenna sent out Mags Memory to set the standard.

The daughter of Droopys Sydney and Mags Image, who is jointly owned by Robert Bayliss and her handler, was having her first run of the year but it was scarcely evident as she saw off her kennel companion Postman Cat to record a rapid 28.39.

Urban Fire went up fast and just managed to turn in front but he was always under pressure. Postman Cat made his move on the inside at the third turn while Mags Memory challenged on the outer. Something had to give. As things got tight, Mags Memory made her move on the outside and she shot to the front before duly staying on well to see off Postman Cat by four lengths.


Droopys Good had earlier initiated a heat double for Owen McKenna when again displaying his trademark early zip to make every inch in the opening heat.

Owned by Bev Lochead and Paul Carpenter, the son of Ballybough Mike and Droopys Cuckoo flew into the turn to assume control and he proceeded to make all.

Thirtynine Winks gave chase throughout but could never land a telling blow. Droopys Good went on to score by a length and a half in 28.51.  


Glenquain Pat displayed all his tremendous early speed to master the fast starting My Little Ivy in the early yards of the second heat.

Once going to the front, Damien Cunningham and Liam Kirley’s son of Pat C Sabbath and Glenlee proceeded to make every inch thereafter.

Vanderbilt gave chase for most of the way but could never get to the leader. Glenquain Pat hit the line three lengths to the good over Vanderbilt in 28.69.


Both Storys Archie and Droopys Gloss produced superb displays in the last two races to complete a wonderful hat trick for their handler Murt Leahy.

Storys Archie was first up in the penultimate contest as he contained the strong challenge of Cu Mochua.

The latter broke smartly but Storys Archie displayed the slightly better early dash to turn in front. Cu Mochua came to challenge at the third turn but Gavin O’Mahoney’s Storys Archie drove the bend to go on again. The son of Droopys Buick and Foyle Lucy kept going up the run in to eventually emerge a half length scorer in 28.59.


Droopys Gloss had to work even harder in the finale.

The Juvenile Derby champion was slightly tardy at boxes and raced in fifth to the bend. She had to work hard along the fence to enter the back straight in third but had a big task to reel in the pace-setting Romeo On Fire and his pursuer Mustang Jet.

The in-form Mustang Jet motored into the third turn to take over from Romeo On Fire but Droopy Gloss was also advancing. Mustang Jet entered the home straight with a couple of lengths in hand but he swung wide to leave the door slightly open. Droopys Gloss was more than willing to take her opportunity. John Coleman’s daughter of Coolavanny Jap and Droopys Talia flew up the straight to take over in the final strides. The October ’19 whelp emerged on top with a neck to spare in 28.43.  


Two Amigos was a stunning winner of the sole sprint as he returned to his very best form to emerge a facile scorer for owners Padraig Fitzgerald and Michael Griffin.

The Jamie McGee trained son of Droopys Jet and Down The Green flew from trap three and quickly asserted.

Showing his undoubted class, Two Amigos piled on the pressure all the way to the line to emerge a might impressive seven length scorer over Rising Castle in a rapid 18.49. It was quite a night for Jamie McGee as he also won the feature at Curraheen Park and had a winner at Mullingar.


Burnchurch Best looked a potential star over six bends when coming home in front, despite losing ground in the early yards and finding herself a long way behind the pace-setters on the opening lap. Drumcrow Honey set a strong pace from the outset, while many of the remaining competitors encountered bad traffic.

This allowed the leader to increase her advantage and she looked a certain scorer when entering the back straight with many lengths in hand. Burnchurch Best, who boats some superb four bend form, was up to ten lengths behind as they hit the fourth turn but she then began to move through the gears.

Closing rapidly into the fifth turn, it was clear she was going to be hard to contain. Drumcrow Honey continued to run well out front but the momentum was with her pursuer.

Trained by Michael O’Donovan for Michael Cullen, the daughter of Ballymac Best and Blackstone Angie flew home to master her rival in the closing yards. At the line Burnchurch Best had a length and a half to spare in a quick 41.74. With a clear run it would have been considerably faster. Have no doubt, Burnchurch Best has the attributes required to amongst the best stayers in training in the future.


The semi-finals of the RCÉ A1 525 were won in fine style with Delirium Tremens, owned by the BacktoMackeys Syndicate, posting the fastest time as he held off the persistent challenge of Shall We in the second heat.

The latter broke fastest to lead to the bend but Delirium Tremens displayed fine speed to join the leader at the second turn.

Once getting on terms, the son of Ballymac Eske and Knockdrinna Miss soon edged ahead. Shall We tried all she could to get back on terms but was always a half length off the pace. In a tight finish, Delirium Tremems held on by a half length in 28.63. In victory, Delirium Tremens was initiating a wonderful treble for his prolific handler Murt Leahy.    


After showing real promise through the Juvenile Classic and Kirby memorial without tasting success, Ballymac Ben finally opened his account in the second semi when storming home to pick up the early pace-setters Flickofacoin and Fernandes.

The last named duo battled for the lead into the third turn but Ballymac Ben was moving with real purpose in behind. Fernandes moved to the front momentarily but he and Flickofacoin clashed and Ballymac Ben shot between the pair.

Despite running wide off the final bend, Liam Dowling’s son of Ballymac Anton and Elite Hawk ran on well to score by a length and a half from Flickofacoin in 28.74.


Knockderra Honey was never far away in the A2 opener and Paschal McMahon’s daughter of Confident Rankin and Drahbeg Princess stayed on best of all to come through and lead on the run in.

Montauk and Avongate Rock battled for the lead for much of the way but neither had an answer to the Deirdre Barry trained Knockderra Honey as she stormed home to score by a length from Montauk in 28.92.