Peter Farrell

It may be early days in 2022 but last weekend delivered two exceptional big race deciders and the lastest of those came at Clonmel Greyhound Stadium last night as Swords Rex just held on to deny Droopys Nice One in the final of the €6,200 to the winner Rural Kennels ON2/ON3 525.

Kindly sponsored once again by Helen O’Dwyer, the final of Rural Kennels Unraced 525 has produced some thrilling racing from start to finish with numerous trackers sure to grace many a Classic throughout the coming year. Swords Rex set the standard in the opening round of the stake and it was fitting that the Graham Holland-trained charge ended this prestigious unraced on the same note as he narrowly held off the flying finish of Droopys Nice One.

After clocking a phenomenal 28.01 in last week’s semi finals, Swords Rex was expected to take all the beating despite a potentially tricky draw in two but Barbara Lowndes did everything right as he made it four wins from just five career starts. A five-dog affair with the unfortunate absence of Priceless King due to injury, it was Swords Rex who once again flew from trap two to hold all the aces on the approach to the opening corner. However, next best was the exceptionally fast Droopys Nice One in four and Murt Leahy’s charge represented a massive threat as she sat just a couple of lengths adrift rounding the opener, narrowly ahead of Blueway Best in third. Setting a scorching gallop down the back straight, Swords Rex maintained his two length lead over Droopys Nice One as he posted a rapid 15.95 sectional to the third, however, at this point, Droopys Nice One was edging closer and looked a huge threat. Hugging the rails around the final turn, Swords Rex now saw his lead cut in half as Droopys Nice One made a move on the outside and as the winning line approached, both greyhounds crossed in tandem with the judge forced into action. A short-head verdict going the way of Swords Rex, the son of Droopys Sydney and Starry Display capped off a brilliant competition as he stopped the clock in 28.28. Droopys Nice One ran an almighty race and although only one stride away from victory last night, the September 20’ whelp would appear to have no limit of potential and she is sure to feature heavily throughout 2022. The third position went to Blueway Best.


Elsewhere on last night’s Clonmel card, there was a feast of racing to enjoy and Graham Holland landed a double as Buckos Melody took home the €1,850 first prize on offer for the Buy & Sell Greyhound Bitch Stake final.

Doubly represented by both Clogheen Lass and Buckos Melody, the final itself resulted in a 1-2 for the Champion trainer as Buckos Melody took charge late on to land the spoils. It was Gurtnacrehy Rose who showed first wearing the red jacket as she led her rivals into the back straight. However, the hugely fast Buckos Melody took over at this point and the Beverley Lochead-owned bitch stretched clear rounding the penultimate turn. Under no serious threat thereafter, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Ballymac Razl stayed on strongly to cross the line three and a half lengths clear of kennel companion, Clogheen Lass, in second. The time was 28.56.


Another trainer to seal a double of sweepstake victories on the night was Paraic Campion as Determination and Hollyhill Jasmin both ran to impressive wins.

The Park Hotel A4 525 got the show on the road in the opening race of the night and it was Determination who took home the €800 first prize. It was kennel companion Dee Bee Lord who held the early lead in this contest and he had four lengths in hand over Determination midway down the back. However, edging closer rounding the bottom two bends, the daughter of Magical Bale and Road Queen delivered a perfectly timed finish to cross the line a length and a half clear of Dee Bee Lord in second. The time was 28.86.


The double was sealed shortly after in the final of the Horse & Hound Guys & Dolls as Hollyhill Jasmin (Laughil Duke - Leevalley Dancer) made every post a winner for Paraic Campion.

Carrying a winner’s prize of €2,000, this final resulted in another 1-2 for Paraic Campion as Hollyhill Jasmin led home Wizard. Fastest into stride wearing the black jacket, Hollyhill Jasmin set a blistering gallop early on and she stopped the third bend sectional clock in a slick 16.15. Maintained that strong gallop thereafter, Wizard could never get on terms and he was still two and a half lengths adrift crossing the line. The time for the Gerard Gubbins-owned bitch was a brilliant 28.50.


The final of the Tom Hannigan Memorial A2 525 offered a winner’s prize of €1,000 and it was July puppy, Mustang Sam who ran out a comfortable winner.

Owned by Sean Bourke, Mustang Sam had shown signs of a greyhound on the cusp of breaking his duck and he did so in good style from trap three. It was Minor Trump who showed his rivals a clean pair of heels early on but after nipping up the inside, Mustang Sam took control of the contest. Setting a smart gallop down the back, the son of Droopys Jet and Mustang Kay Cee was never under threat thereafter and he crossed the line with three lengths to spare over Hollyhill Sonny in second. The time was 28.86.


Michael O’Donovan has had a weekend to remember and he continued his good form in the final of the Doolin Duke @ Stud A2 Bitch 525 as Burnchurch Best won in style.

Carrying another prize of €1,000 to the winner, Burnchurch Best lit this competition last week when posting 28.39 and the Michael Cullen-owned bitch followed that up with another superb performance. A real superstar, the daughter of Ballymac Best and Blackstone Angie looked in a spot of bother early on as she sat third at the halfway point. However, slicing through runners midway down the back, she quickly asserted to draw clear and cross the line with five and a half lengths in hand over Flaming Sahara in second. The time was a sparkling 28.41.


The final of the Savana Open 750 promised to be one of the races of the night and it resulted in a procession victory as Redzer Ruinart led home kennel companion, Redzer Regera, to seal a 1-2 for owner Pat Reddan.

A winner of both rounds prior, Redzer Ruinart was seeking a hat-trick on the night and she delivered a masterclass of marathon running as she took home the €1,850 first prize. As expected, it was Razldazl Peaky who led early from trap three but that lead was slender and short-lived as Redzer Ruinart took control off the second turn. Extending her lead to six lengths approaching the fourth, the daughter of Kinloch Brae and Redzer Ruby was in no mood to hang around as blitzed her rivals to cross the line seven and a half lengths clear of litter sister, Redzer Regera, in second. The time was a blistering 41.57.


The final of the Elite Canine Transport A1/A2 550 was expected to be all one-way traffic based on the prior performances of Lynchy Boy and despite giving his followers a scare at the penultimate turn, he ran out a convincing winner of the €2,000 decider.

Owned by TJ Campion, Lynchy Boy once again broke smartly from trap three and although challenged by Burrow Erris early on, his rails pitch proved crucial and he nipped through to go clear off the second turn. However, Kilkenny Santy represented a massive threat at this point but despite making rapid inroads into Lynchy Boy approaching the third, he unfortunately hit the deck when looking certain to go close. This allowed Lynchy Boy to go further clear and the son of Confident Rankin and Boozed Bubble duly stretched his lead to cross the line nine lengths clear of Riverside Beau in second. The time was 30.15.


Gavin Johns and Karol Ramsbottom sent out Fainne Chiarrai to win the Rural Hawaii @ Stud Unraced a few years back and it was fitting that the partnership sent out Carrauntoohil to win a race sponsored in his name last night.

A very smart January puppy with some serious clocks to his name, Carrauntoohil faced some stiff competition last night but he proved a class above his rivals as he romped to a near nine length success. Only moderately into stride wearing the red jacket, the son of Bull Run Bolt and Ranchers Queen showed electric early gears as he barged his way through at the opener to create daylight entering the back. The result never in doubt thereafter, Carrauntoohil romped to an eight and a half length victory over nearest rival, Hillview Queen, in second. The time was a scorching 28.33.


The Newinn Taylor / Lenson Bucko @ Stud Open 550 carried a winner’s prize of €1,000 and it was Benalmadena Roxy (Dorotas Woo Hoo - Cabra Roxy) who came out best in an almighty buckle with Deadly Showtime.

From a level break, it was Benalmadena Roxy and Deadly Showtime who emerged from the pack to dispute the lead and it was latter who held his rails pitch to take a narrow lead into the back straight. Nip and tuck between the duo down the back, both greyhounds matched one another stride for stride and it was anyone’s game rounding the bottom two bends. However, Benalmadena Roxy displayed superior stamina in the closing stages and Stephen Pennell’s brilliant bitch saw off Deadly Showtime by a length and a half crossing the line. The time was 29.98.