Friday’s action at Shelbourne Park provided some outstanding racing as the Dublin Cup got underway, while the two remaining races were valuable finals won in superb fashion by Mustang Thiago and Verratti.
It was the last named that actually posted the fastest time on the night but honour of going fastest in the Dublin Cup went to Hes The Greatest as he returned to winning ways in pretty emphatic fashion in the opening heat.
A GREAT DISPLAY
Hes The Greatest looked a very aptly named greyhound when producing a stunning win on debut at Kilkenny in the opening round of the Champion Unraced Stake earlier in the year.
For whatever reason he had struggled to repeat that form in his subsequent four starts but after a layoff, he returned to win the opening heat in brilliant fashion.
Brendan Matthews’ son of Ballymac Bolger and Dolce Vita displayed superior early speed to his rivals and raced into a four length lead by halfway. Marshmello gave chase throughout but could never worry the pace-setter. At the line Hes The Greatest had three lengths in hand in a rapid 28.34. Blackstone Lacey overcame traffic to finish just a half-length adrift in third.
UNLOCK GIVES BRENDAN A DOUBLE
It wasn’t the only winner Brendan Matthews provided on the night as he also captured Heat 5 with Press Unlock, who is jointly owned by Gert De Plessi.
The daughter of Pestana and Unlock Unlock was slowest into stride and had to do things the hard way.
Revilo Ruby set a strong pace at the head of affairs and seemed likely to make all but Press Unlock improved to move second on the third turn. From there she closed with each stride to lead on the line for a short head verdict in 28.82. Flaminmoneybags was third.
Next fastest after Hes The Greatest was John Turner’s Jaytee Wexford as he returned to something close to his best to dominate in Heat 8.
The Paul Hennessy trained son of Romeo Recruit and Jaytee China was too sharp for his rivals, building a clear advantage into the back straight. He was relentless thereafter, galloping on to a facile seven length victor over the staying on Jirano Supreme in 28.40.
HONCHO TOO SHARP
An early lead was also decisive in the penultimate heat with the fast-starting Knight Honcho providing Ollie Bray with an impressive scorer.
The well-built son of Laughil Blake and Royal Highflyer led throughout to contain the late challenge of Delirium Tremens by a half length in 28.65.
GIRL BOUNCES OUT TO MAKE ALL
Courty Girl produced an identical display to Knight Honcho in the final heat, matching his time. Trained by John Byrne for John Meelam, the daughter of Laughil Blake and Killaheen Queen broke smartly from four to lead into the turn. Both Coolavanny Nanni and Urban Fire turned on her heels but neither could get any closer. In fact, Courty Girl increased her lead slightly to the third turn before staying on well to beat Coolavanny Nanni by two lengths in 28.65.
ELEMENTARY FROM SHERLOCK
Dysert Sherlock provided Nicky Turner and the Global racing Syndciate with a fine winner of Heat 3 as he raced clear of his rivals to stop the clock in 28.45.
Tobeen took the field along in the early yards but had no answer to Dysert Sherlock to halfway. Once going to the front, the son of Ballymac Best and Cherry lane eased on to score by an ever-widening seven lengths. Tobeen was second, a length ahead of Fridays Awesome.
PARADE IS A PICTURE
Picture Parade claimed a twelfth career victory for George Roche in Heat 7.
Normally a fast starter, he was actually headed for much of the way but Sunshine Tiger. The latter seemed the most likely winner when clear into the back straight but h ran out of steam, allowing Picture Parade come through in the closing yards. At the line the son of Droopys Jet and Mysterious Ways had three parts of a length in hand in 28.59.
Michael Hennessy’s Outdoor Eagle (Magical Bale/ Outdoor Roller) made virtually all to win Heat 4 in 28.69, despite being pestered throughout by Deadly Crusader.
The latter may have actually headed him briefly as they hit the final turn but his lead was short lived.
The fast starting Outdoor Eagle kicked again at this point to eventually cross the line a length and a half and a head to the good over Deadly Crusader and the staying on Lochranza.
FRANK SMOKES HIS RIVALS
Smokey Frank, owned by the Mines a Large One Syndicate, ran out a good winner of Heat 6, showing early dash from an ideal draw on the fence to lead from the early yards.
The son of Droopys Sydney and Jaytee Sapphire was clear into the back straight and he stayed on well to contain the eye-catching Cheque For Sir by a length and a half in 28.71.
THE TIGHTEST FINISH OF ALL
Howard Wallace’s Craggan Mor and George Roche’s Coonough Cregg couldn’t be separated in the second heat with the pair both stopping the clock in 29.18.
The latter moved past the fast starting Sunshine Harbour entering the back straight but had no answer to Craggan Mor into the third turn.
The race was far from over, however. Coonough Cregg rejoined the Francie Murray trained Craggan Mor early in the home straight and the pair were inseparable to the line. Sunshine Harbour finished another two lengths away in third.
VERRATTI THE MIDFIELD GENERAL
While there were some very quick runs in the Dublin Cup, the fastest time of the night came from Verratti as he emerged a really impressive winner of the RCÉ A2 525 decider, saying goodbye to graded company in some style.
Trained by Robert Gleeson for Keith Duffy, the promising young son of Droopys Jet and Droopys Megan flashed from traps and was in control throughout. Angry Uncle stayed on well for second but Verratti was in a league of his own. Maintaining a strong gallop throughout, he hit the line four lengths clear in a brilliant 28.29.
THIAGO TURNS ON THE STYLE
The final of the RCETS A2 Dual Distance also provided a tremendous winner with Mustang Thiago emerging a facile scorer for Sean Bourke and Dolores Ruth.
Daleroad Will led early but had no answer to Mustang Thiago down the far side. The latter quickly moved clear to eventually cross the line six lengths to the good in a fast 31.14.