Peter Farrell

The semi finals of the Matchbook Betting Exchange Irish St. Leger took place last night at Limerick Greyhound Stadium and both semis produced two very different but equally as impressive performances as Bobsleigh Dream and Annagh Bailey landed the spoils ahead of next weekend’s €30,000 decider.

On the night, Bobsleigh Dream continued her brilliant form as she came from well off-the-pace to win comfortable, while Annagh Bailey produced a 7/1 shock in the second semi with the Rachel Wheeler-trained charge clocking a brilliant 29.51, the quickest of the two semis on offer. 


The outright market leader ahead of the semi finals was Bockos Crystal but Graham Holland’s bitch was a withdrawal from the opening semi, meaning only five runners went to boxes hoping to secure one of the three qualifying positions on offer. In truth, the result was never in doubt midway down the back straight as Bobsleigh Dream displayed the most incredible pace to bridge a four length gap and draw clear thereafter. As a result of Bockos Crystal’s absence, Mustang Jet was sent to boxes as the 6/4 favourite and Dolores Ruth’s brindle produced his best break of the competition from trap six to once again display that phenomenal early speed out wide. Meanwhile, Trinity Junior had come out the pack to go second and he was followed by Bobsleigh Dream, who was notably pushing for rail in the early exchanges. Mustang Jet ran two terrific bends and opened a two length advantage over Trinity Junior entering the back, however, Bobsleigh Dream sat third and despite being four lengths adrift, Willie Joe Murphy’s bitch looked a massive threat at this point.


Trained by Pat Buckley, who is bidding to land a third Irish St. Leger, Bobseligh Dream began to make her move down the back and the despite giving chase to two exceptional greyhounds in front, she simply blew holes in both as she first raced past Trinity Junior within a matter of strides, before flying up the inside of Mustang Jet at the penultimate turn. The daughter of Droopys Sydney and Bobsleigh Jet quickly put daylight between herself and Mustang Jet around the bottom two bends and she stormed up the home straight to win by an ever-increasing four lengths. Trinity Junior stuck to his task well to land the final qualification spot, while the classic dreams of both Drombeg Ten and Midfield Deano came to end after a number of fine displays in recent weeks. The time for Bobseligh Dream was 29.54.


If the opening semi final went pretty much to script with the three expected qualifiers all advancing, the second semi final was a complete contrast as Annagh Bailey produced a 7/1 shock to land the spoils as both Ballymac Run and Ballymac Whispa made their exits. 

Annagh Bailey was one of the stories of this year’s Irish Greyhound Derby as he produced a number of eye-catching performances to cement his place as one of the fastest in the land when on-song. Without a win since round two of the Derby however, the Rachel Wheeler-trained charge had been slipping through under the radar up until last night. At traprise, it was Wi Can Dream who once again pinged the lids from three and after moving immediately to the rails, Romeo Magico improved up the centre from trap two, with Annagh Bailey now displaying brilliant early dash out wide from trap six. Meanwhile, Ballymac Run had completely fluffed her lines and she found herself occupying the tail of the field along with kennel companion, Ballymac Whispa.


Rounding the opener and Wi Can Dream held a slender lead over the Romeo Magico and after the latter was forced to check slightly at this point, this allowed Annagh Bailey to swoop to the front as he emerged unscathed from his outside pitch in the stripes. Traffic ensued in behind the leading trio as an improving Ballymac Run checked into Kilcolgan Zeus, whilst also hampering Ballymac Whispa at the rear of the field. However, at the head of proceedings was Annagh Bailey and Wheeler’s charge proceeded to open an impressive three length lead over Wi Can Dream, with Romeo Magico now beginning to rev his engine in third. The son of Droopys Sydney and Bellmore Fantasy continued to set a blistering gallop thereafter and although Romeo Magico continued to improve and stalk the leader in the closing stages, Annagh Bailey kept enough in reserve to cross the line with one and a half lengths to spare. Romeo Magico ran a terrific race and he certainly showed encouraging signs of a return to his very best to finish second, while Pat Guilfoyle will have representation in next week’s feature with Wi Can Dream in third. The time was a slick 29.51.

The draw for the final of the €30,000 Matchbook Betting Irish St. Leger









Aside from the Leger action, the final of the Hayes Forklift Services A2/A3 550 was also down for decision and this went the way of Gimme Patience, who maintained his unbeaten run through the stake.

Trained by Pat Moloney for the eleven-amigos-syndicate, Gimme Patience had produced two brilliant performances in the rounds prior and as such, he was installed as the 4/6 favourite heading into the €1,300 decider. However, he was made to work hard early on as Drombeg Khalesi pinged the lids from trap three to lead early doors. This contest quickly developed into a two-dog affair as Drombeg Khalesi and Gimme Patience went toe-to-toe down the back, with a further five length gap back to Realism in third. Gimme Patience showed huge determination to loom along the leader at the penultimate turn and this proved the crucial move as the son of Droopys Sydney and Faithful Jane stayed ons strongly thereafter to land the spoils. Drombeg Khalesi claimed second just ahead of the fast finishing Tyrap Ferage, the time was 30.18.


On the supporting card, The Other Rudolf delivered an exceptional performance in defeat last week as he landed his semi final of the Stevie Sheehan Memorial A3 525.

The Jennifer O’Donnell-trained The Other Rudolf was mighty impressive in defeat last time out behind Ballymac Neil and it was a little surprising to see him go off as big as 3/1 ahead of his semi. The son of Droopys Sydney and Mountaylor Queen broke much better this time around from four and despite having his hind legs clipped early on, he motored from the halfway mark to draw clear. Running out a seven and a half length winner from Braveheart Bella in second, the time for The Other Rudolf was a fast 28.40.


In the second semi final, Burgess Cutey went one spot quicker as JJ Fennelly and Sheila Spillane’s charge built on his opening round victory.

After posting a fastest of the opening round, 28.80, Burgess Cutey was installed the 5/4 favourite and he broke well from trap three to show a clean pair of heels to his rivals early on. Home Noah emerged in second for Paul Hennessy and he certainly began to bridge the gap midway down the back, however, he was still two and a half lengths adrift crossing the line. Another smart performance for Burgess Cutey, the time was a 28.39 and next week’s decider promised to prove a thrilling contest.


In the opening race of the night, the first semi final of the Matchbook Podcast ON2 525, Mystical Messi made an eye-catching debut for joint owners Tadhg and Eoin Troy. After posting a slick 29.42 .20s in qualifying around Galway, the March 21’ whelp was the 6/4 favourite at the off and despite not breaking too fluently from five, he took charge at the second bend to run out a comfortable winner. Showing excellent track craft, the son of Skywalker Logan and Superb Beauty galloped to a facile twelve and a half length victory as he stopped the clock in a blistering 28.53.

The fastest of the semi final winners in the Limerick & Clare GOBA A4 525 went the way of Cnoc Santini, who broke his maiden tag in good style for Richard Finn Jnr. Just a May whelp, Cnoc Santini made full use of his draw in red as he blitzed the field early on to take a three length lead around the penultimate turn. Hazelhill Jess did make inroads in the closing stage, however, it was too little too late as Cnoc Santini (Out Of Range - Keeperhill Lizzie) crossed the line with one and a half lengths to spare. The time was 28.76.

The penultimate race of the night saw another huge display from the seriously fast Bens Teddy. Trained by Pat Buckley for Kim Pritchard, the February 21’ whelp was only moderately away from trap two and it was Aero Malachi who set a scorching gallop in opening exchanges. Continuing to set a fierce gallop down the back, Bens Teddy got back on terms at the final turn before drawing clear in the closing stages to record victory. A smart performance from this son of Droopys Sydney and Beachgrove Belle, his time was 29.65 for the 550-yard trip.