Ian Fortune

Shelbourne Park provided some incredible racing on Saturday night with the second round of the Bresbet Easter Cup the undoubted feature but the headlines had to go to the first lady of Irish greyhound racing with Susie Sapphire returning to winning ways in wonderful fashion.

The signs were there that Susie Sapphire was on the way back to her very best and she produced a typically brilliant front-running display to claim her first win since her Derby success in the opening quarter final.

Sent off a big looking 7-4, the brilliant daughter of Droopys Jet and Allen Lynx rocketed from trap five to quickly establish control. Despite diving inwards, she comfortably cleared those on her inside to hold a near-three-length lead on the bend.

Romeo Magico used the inside line to contain Priceless Jet to turn second and this allowed him have the first crack at Susie Sapphire. Owen McKenna and Peter Comerford’s star maintained her three-length lead to halfway but Romeo Magico began to close the gap into the third turn.   

Susie Sapphire hit the third turn with just over a length in hand but again increased her lead to two lengths as Romeo Magico was forced to check slightly. This was a decisive moment in the contest. Staying tight to the fence, Susie Sapphire turned for home with a couple of lengths in hand and, while Romeo Magico did close, she held on to score by three parts of a length in a flying 29.45.

It was a wonderful display from the winner and it’s worth noting she was still in front to the escape. Romeo Magico again confirmed that he has really matured into a top-class greyhound, while Priceless Jet also ran a fine race in defeat, two lengths adrift in third.


Fast Fit Paddy was pretty friendless from a tricky draw in Heat 2 but those that took the 8-1 on offer were soon in clover as the Declan McDonagh trained star flew from trap four to really grab the contest by the scruff of the neck.

This was a truly dominant display from the son of Ballymac Vic and Rosmult Martha. Storys Peewee also came away racing but Fast Fit Paddy soon mastered his rival into the bend to turn in front. The big two in the betting Coolavanny Duke and Crokers Spirit most mistimed the start and soon found themselves tight of room as the fast-starting Fast Fit Paddy edged inwards.

It was a decisive maneouvre from Fast Fit Paddy. Those familiar with John Quinn and Paul Horig’s charge were in no doubt what would happen. A powerful galloper, he eased clear of his rivals to hit halfway four lengths clear of Coolavanny Duke, who ran a remarkable second turn to go second.  

Fast Fit Paddy was on his way to a comfortable success and he maintained a powerful gallop throughout to eventually cross the line with six lengths in hand in 29.67.

The race for second was a much more competitive affair, however. Coolavanny Duke was challenged by Crokers Spirit and when they met at the third turn, they bumped, allowing the big finishers to pounce. Both Storys Peewee and Beach Avenue came around the outside of the pair, while Darbys Delight picked his way through the pack. Darby Delight hammered home to grab second with Beach Avenue grabbing the third qualifying spot a further half lengths adrift.


The complexion of Heat 3 changed a couple of times but, ultimately, the Paul Hennessy trained Barefoot Supremo was too strong for his rivals as he came storming through in the closing yards to claim a fourth career victory.

Laurels champion One Time Only set a blistering gallop, making a flying start from the inside box to lead the field by three lengths on the bend. Sentimental Lad went up in second with Barefoot Supremo passing Jackslittlething to sit a close third.

Importantly, Bryan and Kathleen Murphy’s Barefoot Supremo moved second on the bend, leaving him in the ideal position to challenge One Time Only should the leader show any signs of fatigue. It was perhaps a bit surprising that the leader came back to the field pretty quickly to the third turn.

Barefoot Supremo (Ballymac Best/ Portumna West) seized his opportunity, sitting on the heels of the leader around the third turn before making his move as they turned for home. Sentimental Lad was also making a move on the wide outside but Barefoot Supremo got first run.

Finally getting the better of One Time Only on the run in, Barefoot Supremo eased on to comfortably hold the challenge of Sentimental Lad by a length in 30.00. One Time Only was a further length adrift in third.


The heavily supported Knight Tornado maintained his unbeaten record in the competition with a superb display in the final heat as he led home the gallant Scarty Yank and lightly raced Bockos Vieira.

It as the Graham Holland trained bookends, Knight Tornado and Bockos Vieira, that came away fastest and quickly put daylight between themselves and their rivals. Knight Tornado ran a tremendous corner, staying tight to the fence and moving with real fluency, to ease clear of Bockos Vieira.

Meanwhile, Scarty Yank shot around the chasing pack to move third and he displayed superb back straight pace to better Bockos Vieira between the last two bends. Scarty Yank carried his momentum into the home straight but there was no catching Larry Dunne’s Knight Tornado.

The hugely talented son of Droopys Cain and Royal Highflyer maintained a tremendous gallop all the way to the line to score by two lengths from Scarty Yank in 29.67. Bockos Vieira was three lengths further adrift in third. 


Semi-final draw

Heat 1

1 Fast Fit Paddy

2 One Time Only

3 Darbys Delight

4 Susie Sapphire

5 Scarty Yank (m)

6 Beach Avenue (w)

Heat 2

1 Barefoot Supremo

2 Romeo Magico

3 Knight Tornado

4 Sentimental Lad (m)

5 Bocko Vieira (m)

6 Priceless Jet (w)



A top-class line-up was assembled for the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Trial Stake but very few managed to land a telling blow as Kilgraney Sydney and Swords Rex had a wonderful tussle with the former just holding on.

Rose Buggy’s Kilgraney Sydney seems to be getting sharper with each outing and the Thomas Buggy trained son of Droopys Sydney and Bull Run Bistro again broke smartly to lead early from trap three. Despite taking a bump from the rails seeking The Other Kobe, Swords Rex recovered to turn second.

Kilgraney Sydney entered the back with almost two lengths to spare but he could never shake off his pursuer. In fact, Swords Rex closed the gap to a length but Kilgraney Sydney was still moving with purpose. Swords rex had to check his stride slightly but he came with a big challenge on the run in. In a thrilling finish, Kilgraney just held off the advancing Swords Rex by a short head in 28.32.


Owen McKenna would have floated home on Saturday night.

Not only did Susie Sapphire return to winning ways but he recorded an incredible treble which was completed by the razor-sharp Droopy Good in the penultimate race. 

The son of Ballybough Mike and Droopys Cuckoo faced a tricky draw in five but, much like his Derby winning kennelmate, utilised his stunning early speed to shoot clear into the bend. Once striking the front before the turn he quickly shot clear of those in chase.

Cape Cloud did all he could to stay in touch but had no answer to Droopys Good. Owned by Paul Carpenter and Bev Lochead, Droopys Good raced to a facile five length victory over Cape Cloud in 28.34.   


Spinosaurus returned to his best 2021 form to double his career tally in the fourth race over the 550yd trip, in turn initiating the brilliant Owen McKenna treble.

The son of Droopys Jet and Allen Comet was too sharp for his rivals in the early exchanges and built a decisive lead one turning in front.

Cu Mochua flew down the back to move second and tried to close on the leader up the home straight but there was no catching Spinosaurus. Owned by Peter Comerford and Tony Moore, Spinosaurus held on to score by a half length in 29.96


Racing ended with a typically power-packed display from Allforthebest as he came from the back of the field to lead in the closing yards.

Pierno held a narrow lead into the bend but was baulked as things got tight on the inside of the track.

Vanderbilt was left in front but, as early as the second bend, it was clear that Allforthebest was too close when sitting four lengths adrift in fourth. Scooby Prince and Pintsnotpilates sat behind Vanderbilt but Allforthebest was far too strong.

Going second on the third bend, the brilliantly fast son of Vulturi and Aguasantas continued to advance. Vanderbilt id all he could to hold his pursuer but it was futile. Allforthebest, who is owned by the HDJ Syndicate, pounced on the run in to emerge an impressive three length scorer in 29.81. Vanderbilt held off Scooby Prince by a head to take second. 


After a few lacklustre efforts in recent weeks, Gaytime Milo came screaming back to his best form in the A1 third race when dominating throughout for a wide margin victory.

Trained by Graham Holland for Stephanie O’Connell, the son of Gaytime Hawk and Gaytime Derval made every stride count as he raced right away from his rivals to cross the line nine and a half lengths clear of Headleys Turbo in a fast 28.31.


There was an exciting finish to the fifth race with the Neilus O’Connell trained Urban Castle (Laughil Blake/ Idle Gossip) getting up in the closing yards to deny Gymcrack and long-time leader Newinn Homer.

The last named displayed superb early dash to force his way to the front on the bend and seemed set to make all thereafter but he ran out of steam on the run in.

Urban Castle was never too far away in third but he moved second at the penultimate bend, giving him first crack at the leader. In a driving finish, Pat Griffin’s Urban Castle got up late to beat Gymcrack by a half length in 28.77 with Gymcrack the same distance away in third. 


Early speed was the key to success for Black Matador in the second race.

Owned by the Virgil Van Fitzy Syndicate, the son of Droopys jet and dream Knight, who is trained by Ollie Bray, never saw another rival after a fast start. Maintaining a strong gallop throughout, the January ’20 whelp went on to score by three lengths from Ferryforth Trump in 28.61.


Old Treasure is generally a big finisher so, when she flew to the turn in the opening race, it was a case of by how far she would win.

Reggie Roberts’ daughter of Laughil Blake and Idle Gossip proceeded to draw further and further clear to eventually come home ten and a half lengths clear of Innfield Jasper in 28.73.