Ian Fortune

Not for the first time in his career, the incredibly prolific Skywalker Barry was the toast of a blustery Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as he produced an incredible display to deny his kennel companion Serene Ace in the final stride, in turn handing legendary handler Michael O’Donovan a famous one-two.

Winning is certainly a habit and its one that Skywalker Barry has never been able to shift. In victory, the remarkable son of Droopys Jet and Calzaghe Jan brought his tally to twenty one wins from thirty seven starts, while also bringing his career earnings close to a whopping €70,000.

While only five went to traps following the withdrawal of Storys Direct through injury, there was plenty to talk about in this contest. Good Cody was the hot favourite but a mistimed start and a tendency to edge inwards from a wide draw saw him encounter traffic on the bend, ending any hopes he had of success.

In contrast, Skywalker Barry flashed from the inside box, posting a rapid 2.00 sectional but even that wasn’t enough to contain the stunning early speed of his kennel mate Serene Ace. The latter rocketed into the bend to take over and quickly moved clear of his pursuers.

Skywalker Barry turned second with Knight Tornado third, despite being forced to check as they entered the back straight. It was clear as they hit halfway that the race for gold was now a dead match between Serene Ace and Skywalker Barry.

From Michael O’Donovan’s view it would have been a pretty picture. Serene Ace hit halfway with three and a half length in hand but Skywalker Barry was running with real purpose in second. Knight Tornado was the same distance away in third but was merely a spectator as the front two made thir bid for glory.

The gap between the front two remained unaltered to the third turn but Skywalker Barry started to advance as they hit the crowd of the bend. As they hit the home straight, Skywalker Barry was on the heels of his kennel companion and still closing. 

Drifting off the final turn as he always does, Skywalker Barry was travelling like a winner. Despite cutting back to the inside of the track, as his way, Skywalker Barry maintained his momentum. The front duo bumped but it mattered little to the result as Skywalker Barry got his nose in front to win by a head in 28.36. Serene Ace ran a remarkable race in second, looking sharper than ever, only to run into a tracker on a mission.

Knight Tornado was two lengths back in third. For Ray Patterson, it was another memorable night in Irish greyhound racing. The man who has won the Derby, the Oaks and so many more classic titles through the years must have a special place in his heart for Skywalker Barry.

A classy, tough and incredibly consistent tracker, the son of Droopys Jet and Calzaghe Jan must be an owner’s dream. Surely all roads now lead to the Bresbet Easter Cup. Given this latest display, he must be seen as a leading fancy.


The final of the RCÉ Open 525 was the ninth race on the card and the hugely progressive Thirtynine Winks justified his position at the head of the market to win in style.

Colemount Boss shot from trap two to lead the field in the early exchanges but Thirtynine Winks displayed his now trademark early dash to challenge on the bend.

Showing wonderful fluency and track craft, the David Murray trained son of Laughil Bold and Combined Effort shot around the outside of his rival to quickly move clear. By halfway, the race was over as a contest with Thirtynine Winks going clear. Thomas Brody’s exciting tracker proceeded to race on to a four and a half length verdict over Coolemount Boss in 28.50.   


There was an incredible finish to the sixth race with Vanderbilt, Scooby Duchess and Corbrack Prince crossing the line locked in battle.

This was certainly a race of two halves with Corbrack Prince leaving his rivals standing to halfway.

Scooby Duchess was a close second as the hit the second bend but was forced to check as Corbrack Prince cut the corner. It allowed the latter to move clear, while Vanderbilt moved past Scooby Duchess. 

At halfway, it seemed very likely that Corbrack Prince would continue to dominate but he was to run out of steam. In contrast, both Vanderbilt and Scooby Duchess were full of running in the closing yards. Vanderbilt got first run at the leader and began to bridge the gap around the last two bends but Scooby Duchess was also moving with purpose.

Steering a middle to wide path, Vanderbilt challenged on the wide outside off the final turn and up the straight, while Scooby Duchess stayed tight to the fence. All three gave their all but Vanderbilt had just done enough to score or Karol Ramsbottom and Michelle Connolly.

The son of Laughil Blake and So Said Sarah took the verdict by a neck from the unlucky Scooby Duchess in 28.42. Corbrack Prince was just a short head back in third.


Karol Ramsbottom later completed a fine double with Cu Mochua as he put his best foot forward in the finale over 550yds.

Owned by the Thirsty Seven Syndicate, the son of Droopys Sydney and Bangla Road displayed a clean pair of heels on the longer run to the turn and always seemed to control. Ballybough Champ did emerge as a threat into the third turn but Cu Mochua was showing no signs of fatigue. In fact, the September ’19 whelp galloped right to the line to emerge a comfortable two length winner over Ballybough Champ in 29.91.     


The judge was again called into action in the seventh race to separate Millridge Bobby and Bockos Leah.

The pair raced from the inside traps and, despite bumping in the early yards, were always to the fore.

After winning in a fast 28.42 the previous week, Stephen O’Mahoney’s Millridge Bobby again flew up the fence to take control. It was a decisive move as Bockos Leah got held up somewhat. Once finally getting loose of those in behind, Bockos Leah began to close the gap around the final two bends but Millridge Bobby had enough in hand. The son of Droopy Jet and Millridge Ozie dug deep to repel an advancing Bockos Leah by a head in 30.02.


Bobsleigh Dream looked a bright prospect in the tenth race over the testing 600yd trip for Pat Buckley and Willie Jo Murphy as the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Bobsleigh Jet saw off a talented field with minimum fuss.

In what was only her seventh career start, Bobsleigh Dream looked right at home around Shelbourne, shooting from trap two to comfortably lead her rivals into the corner. Auxerre was second into the bend but stayed wide, leaving the door open for Magical Mary to take up the chase into the third turn.

Bobsleigh Dream had no intention of allowing her lead slip, however. Maintaining a powerful gallop all the way to the finish, she emerged a length and a half winner over Magical Mary in 32.68. Allforthebest was a big eye-catcher in third, finishing at speed to sit just a head further adrift.


2021 Sprinter of the Year nominee Ela Supremo was a remarkable winner of the sole sprint as he overcame a slow start to complete a tremendous double for Peter Cronin.

The brilliantly fast son of Ballymac Best and Mashmad Eyebrows was hot favourite but looked in trouble when he made an uncharacteristically tardy exit.

Last of the six runners after five strides, he soon started to move through the gears. Cutting through the pack, he challenged for the lead into the bend before driving clear of his rivals. From a length behind the fifth dog after twenty yards, he was now four lengths clear of Hawkfield Ava as they hit the second bend. Powering up the straight, Ela Supremo went on to score by five and a half lengths from Hawkfield Ava in 18.61.


Cape Cloud provided a near perfect start to proceedings as he ran out a superb winner, initiating Peter Cronin’s wonderful double.

The KJ Hazeldine owned son of Pat C Sabbath and Bua Bui was second choice in the betting behind Irelands Own but he never looked under any pressure after exploding from the inside box.

Quickly building a clear advantage, the October ’19 whelp maintained a tremendous gallop throughout to eventually cross the line two and a half lengths to the good over the favourite in a rapid 28.42. 


David Hanlon’s Muffin again displayed a wonderful attitude to win the penultimate race on the card over 550yds as she ran on strongly to reel in long time leader Coonough Pogba.

The later seemed to have done enough when striking the front and opening a two length lad but Muffin clearly hadn’t read the script.

Closing into the third turn, she still had a bit of work to do but the daughter of Droopy Cain and Ruby Valley continued to give chase. In a driving finish, Muffin threw herself up in the final yards to deny Coonough Pogba by a half length in 29.97.


After opening his account a week earlier, the talented Kilgraney Sydney overcame a tough draw in the third race to dominate.

Mary Buggy’s son of Droop Sydney and Bull Run Bistro flew from trap four and, despite cutting inwards in the early yards, managed to clear the bend.

Once doing so, the Thomas Buggy trained youngster was always travelling like a winner. Urban Castle took up the chase but had no answer to the leader, who eventually strode on to win by four and a half lengths in a quick 28.49. 


Hawkfield Mia came in for strong support in the fifth race and it was fully justified as she displayed her fine early dash to dictate from the outset.

Trained by Jamie McGee for Jerry Connors, the thoroughly likeable daughter of Laughil Blake and Brownstown Tango always seemed to have the measure of the chasing Florence Cake. Staying on well, Hawkfield Mia hit the line with two lengths to spare over Florence Cake in 28.61.  


Ollie Bray’s Knight Honcho claimed a sixth career success in the A1 second race.

Fastest from traps, the son of Laughil Blake and Royal Highflyer led throughout to repel We All Matter by a length and a half in 29.10.