The best greyhounds in this part of the world were on show at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as the Bresbet Easter Cup got underway.
Despite the tough conditions, there were some truly wonderful performances, shocks and those present were left with the impression that this year’s competition could provide an incredible finish.
To highlight the tough conditions, which were as a result of persistent rain and cold temperatures, each of the eight Bresbet Easter Cup heats were rated .30 slow.
Heat 1 – TORNADO GOES WILD
Knight Tornado continued his wonderful run of form to lead home a one-two-three for Graham Holland in the opening heat.
It was clear from the early stages that Graham Holland was going to provide the winner with kennel mates Knight Tornado and Part Blake going up fastest from the middle boxes.
Decisively, Knight Tornado got the better of part Blake into the turn, forcing the latter to check on the turn. In truth, Part Blake looked badly in need of the run and Knight Tornado took full advantage stretching away down the back straight.
Part Blake remained second into the third turn but he was now under pressure from another kennel companion, Swords Maestro. It scarcely mattered to Larry Dunne’s Knight Tornado, however. The powerfully built son of Droopys Cain and Royal Highflyer cruised home five lengths clear in 29.96. Swords Maestro stayed on well to secure second spot, a half length ahead of Part Blake.
Heat 2 – YANK PREVAILS IN A THRILLER
After a brilliant display seven days earlier, Romeo Magico was a warm favourite in Heat 2 but a moderate start and an early stumble saw him play catch up from the off.
In contrast, Deadly Diego made a fast start to lead early but it was Scarty Yank and Sweep The Yard that came to the fore in the second half of the contest.
Sweep The Yard was second down the back and challenged the leader into the third turn but he was held up slightly. The same can’t be said for the Pat Buckley trained Scarty Yank. He began to shift through the gears passing halfway and hit the third bend in full stride.
Going around the front two with real fluency, Scarty Yank (Droopys Sydney/ Lisnaboy Scolari) hit the front before the final bend and seemed set to record a comfortable success. Sweep The Yard was now loose, however, and began to charge home.
This set up a thrilling finish with Scarty Yank, owned by Gary Dineen and PK Riordan, digging deep to contain Sweep The Yard by a neck in 30.16. Romeo Magico ran a remarkable race in third, overcoming plenty of traffic to keep his Easter Cup hopes alive.
Heat 3 – LAURELS HERO IMPRESSES
Laurels champion One Time Only displayed all his qualities in Heat 3, blitzing from trap three to dictate from the opening stride.
He was kept honest throughout by Derby third Jackslittlething, who seemed to improve for recent outings, but there was no catching the leader.
Trained by Tommy O’Donovan for Paul Horig and John Woodford, One Time Only meant business. After a fine run in defeat last weekend, he was not going to be denied once setting the pace into the back straight.
Entering the back straight with a two and a half length lead, One Time Only was always going to take some catching although Jackslittlething did put in a spirited bid in the second half of the race. One Time Only held on, however, to emerge an impressive length scorer over his pursuer in a fast 29.85. There was a further five length gap to Sentimental Lad, who actually race a big race in defeat after a bad start and early traffic.
Heat 4 – DUKE SHOWS HIS METAL
Coolavanny Duke won his first seven career starts, suffering his first defeat in early October.
That came in his last start and he returned to racing action in Heat 4 and duly got back to winning ways when reeling in Crokers Spirit, who set a strong gallop to the third turn.
Coolavanny Duke, owned by Basil and Bernadette Holian, was always close enough in second and when the leader seemed to run out of steam, the Michael O’Donovan trained son of Droopys Sydney and Coolavanny Royce pounced.
Closing on Crokers Spirit into the third turn, repelling the strong challenge of Ballymac Merlin at the same time, Coolavanny Duke got first crack at the leader.
This proved decisive as it allowed him to strike the front on the final bend before containing the late charge of Ballymac Merlin by a length in 30.15. Crokers Spirit was just a head adrift in third. The winner can now boast a record of eight wins from nine starts, which is remarkable in anyone’s language.
Heat 5 – AVENUE FROM OUT OF THE CLOUDS
The fifth of the eight heats produced a truly spectacular contest with Beach Avenue coming from out of the clouds to collar Bobsleigh Dream and Derby champion Susie Sapphire in a remarkable finish.
All seemed to be going to plan for the 4-6 favourite, Susie Sapphire, as she shot from trap two to dictate into the bend but it was immediately evident that Bobsleigh Dream meant business.
The latter came in for sustained support throughout the day and in the ring and it seemed inspired when she began to close on Susie Sapphire down the back straight. Taking over at the third turn, it seemed she was going to land a gamble but out of the corner of the eye Beach Avenue appeared.
At the point when Bobsleigh Dream actually took up the running, the eventual winner couldn’t be seen in shot but he was closing and closing fast.
Running a fluent third turn, Beach Avenue closed the gap on the leader to four lengths and he continued to reduce the margin. The Paul Hennessy trained powerhouse, who ran up last year’s Easter Cup, was still three lengths back as they hit the final bend but it came as no surprise to anyone that the son of Laughil Blake and Cats Belle flew up the straight.
Heading a rallying Susie Sapphire twenty yards from home, he finally got to Bobsleigh Dream in the final five strides. Pat Healy’s remarkable tracker got up to score by a relatively comfortable half length in 30.13. Susie Sapphire was the same distance away in third. To those unfamiliar with Beach Avenue it must have seemed like the most incredible success but to those of us that are signed up members of the fan club, it was just another Beach Avenue type display. He truly is a crowd pleaser.
Heat 6 – PADDY THE RIGHT FIT
Fast Fit Paddy was perfectly positioned on the fence in Heat 6 and he made full use of his opportunity when it arose.
Sadly, Jacob Tashadelek seemed to pick up an injury when in ront off the second turn. As he retreated, he held up both Monraud Thunder and Cnoc Abbie.
Ballymac Fairone was left in front on his comeback run but he looked short of a run and was joined on the third turn by Fast Fit Paddy and the advancing Priceless Jet. The latter was cut off as he attempted to go between his rivals, leaving Fast Fit Paddy and Ballymac Fairone to square off.
Importantly, the Declan McDonagh trained Fast Fit Paddy was on the fence and in no mood to surrender his advantage. Driving to the front between the final two bends, John Quinn and Paul Horig’s son of Ballymac Vic and Rosmult Martha eased on to record a fine four and a half length success in 30.00. Ballymac Fairone ran well on his return in second with Priceless Jet another half length back in third.
Heat 7 – PEEWEE TOO STRONG AS CODY WITHDRAWN
Th surprise news came through just minutes before Heat 7 that the red-hot favourite Good Cody had been withdrawn.
His absence through the contest wide open and Storys Peewee (Over Limit/ Kittys Box) made full use of his power and pace to reel in Barefoot Supremo.
Ballymac Wild seemed to be getting the best of the argument into the bend, showing narrowly in front, but Barefoot Supremo powered up the fence to take control. A strong runner, the new pace-setter seemed a likely scorer but Storys Peewee snuck through the gap on the fence to move second as they entered the back.
Just over a length down into the third turn, Storys Peewee was always close enough to mount a challenge and he did so on the run in. Trained by Murt Leahy for Gavin O’Mahoney, Storys Peewee flew home to finally collar his rival inside the final fifty yards before hitting the line a length to the good in 30.13. Barefoot Supremo was second, a length and a half ahead of Ballymac Wild in third.
Heat 8 – LEO SETS A STRONG STANDARD
Coom Leo was a brilliant winner of the final heat, displaying massive early speed to record the fastest time of the round in the process.
Those that took the 7-4 on offer about the Pat Buckley trained Coom Leo were always feeling good about themselves as he hit the ground running and was soon in control.
Despite moving of the fence, Michael Murphy’s son of Droopys Sydney and Lisnaboy Scolari comfortably lead the favourite, Bockos Vieira into the turn. He ran a tremendous bend to increase his advantage, while Bockos Vieira checked slightly on the corner, allowing Millridge Dolly to move second.
Coom Leo was never going to come back to the field, however. He was clearly in the mood to go fast and maintained a relentless gallop to emerge a superb three and a half length winner in 29.78. Bockos Vieira recovered well to finish second with Darbys Delight coming from a mile back with his trademark finishing flourish to grab third, a further length adrift.
BETTER THAN GOOD
The Owen McKenna trained Droopys Good has many qualities with class and pure speed being the most obvious.
The son of Ballybough Mike and Droopys Cuckoo made full use of both in the finale as he left a decent field trailing a long way behind him. Breaking smartly from trap two, he displayed his brute early speed to race clear of his rivals.
By the second bend there was a big gap to the chasing pack which was headed by Sparta Jenny. The latter made up plenty of ground from halfway but Paul Carpenter and Bev Lochead’s Droopys Good was never under any pressure as he coasted to a four length victory in 28.65.
YORK LEAVES RIVALS STANDING
Runninta York turned the penultimate race on the card into a procession with the Johnny Linehan trained son of Laughil Blake and Classic Valerie shooting clear to make every inch.
Owned by the Runninta-Syndicate, the October ’19 whelp broke on terms but really quickened up into the bend before increasing his lead to the third turn.
Crokers Wish did make up ground in the closing yards but Runninta York was always in command as he emerged a two length winner in 30.28.
FLORENCE A REAL PROSPECT
The very promising Florence Cake brought her tally to three wins from five starts in the second race when making the most of an ideal draw on the fence. Patsy McCusker’s daughter of Droopys Sydney and Sizzling Daisy was always to the fore after a good start.
Ninja Kerry was a persistent challenger throughout, closing the gap to within a length at the third turn but Florence Cake stayed tight to the fence and powered up the straight to emerge a deserving length and a half winner in 28.65.
MAX TOO SHARP
Sparta Max was a good winner of the opener, showing fine early dash to dictate from the early yards.
Despite cutting inwards, Phil Gough’s son of Droopys Sydney and Sparta Emmy cleared Crescent Abbie to lead the field into the back straight.
Crescent Abbie gave chase throughout and did seem threatening as they hit the third turn but Sparta Max kept finding and he went on to score by a length and a half in 28.93.