Peter Farrell

Limerick is gearing up nicely for the upcoming Con & Annie Kirby Memorial at the end of March and the Munster venue hosted no fewer than five Trial Stakes last night, the pick of those a terrific performance from Pape Di Oro.

With the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial scheduled to start on Saturday, 25th March, Limerick was the first track to kick-start the Trial Stakes for the event and there were a number of sensational performances that will take some topping throughout the Country over the coming weeks.

The standout performance of the four Trial Stakes, and indeed the card as a whole, came in the AAO contest as Pape Di Oro ensured that Pat Buckley will have at least one greyhound who has the ability to go deep into the Kirby. Owned by Javier Jarne, the May 21’ whelp won impressively on debut at Youghal and built on that performance with a fine win around Tralee in his last start when clocking 28.39. His 28.43 trial at Limerick at the start of the month pointed to a greyhound who possesses a massive engine and he set tongues wagging last night with a sizzling display for his respective connections. Running from six, the son of Droopys Sydney and Trusted Exile flashed from traps and he immediately excelled into the opening corner to take over from the fast-starting Storys Law in trap three. Showing a devastating turn of pace from two to three, Pape Di Oro set a relentless gallop and his rivals made little impact as Boylesports Vic emerged the nearest rival having improved into second. However, Pape Di Oro was on a different level from the chasing pack as he continued to power clear and he crossed the line with a convincing, four and a half lengths in hand of Boylesports Vic in second. A terrific performance all round from this pup, the time was a sensational 28.29 and that clock alone will be enough to suggest he can be bang in contention come late April.


The first of the Con & Annie Kirby Trial Stakes was an A3 contest and this was landed by the Peter Cronin-trained Angry Grandad.

The March 21’ brindle, owned by Liam Walsh, was coming in fresh off two terrific sprint trials at HQ and he built on those performances with an off-the-pace victory. A 3/1 shot at the off, the son of Ballymac Best and Angry Lauren was well away from five but was headed early doors by Kilara Roberto in two. The latter continued to set a strong gallop down the back but after checking at the penultimate turn, Angry Grandad paced up nicely to show his hand. Staying on strong, Angry Grandad maintained his advantage in the closing stages to cross the line with two and a half lengths in hand over Kilara Roberto in second. The time was 28.96.


Race five was another A3 Trial Stake and this was won in exceptional fashion by Derby Nelson, owned jointly by Mary O’Sullivan and Gavin Thompson.

Derby Nelson was having just his second career start and after clocking an estimate of 29.44 on debut around Tralee, he stepped up emphatically to shave a second off that run. Choicely bred out of Pestana and Cabbage, the same dam that produced Flashing Willow, Derby Nelson went off 3/1 and he emerged from a level break to show brilliant acceleration from trap three. Once in front, it was a straightforward night’s work for Derby Nelson as he drew clear of his rivals, setting a scorching gallop in the process, to come home four lengths clear of Burgess Senorita in second. The time was a blistering 28.40.


Chris Houlihan is no stranger to producing top-class greyhounds and he will be represented by Cashen Eliza in the Kirby as she landed the A1 Trial Stake in brilliant style.

Jointly owned by Chris and Vanessa Houlihan, Cashen Eliza won her debut in a swift 28.72 around Tralee and she has since gone on to secure three wins from just four starts. The 6/5 jolly at the outset, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Cashen Kaboodle was quickly into stride from trap two but it was her inside rival, Splendid Janey, who took charge on the run to the opener. Playing second fiddle down the back, this didn’t dishearten the powerful Cashen Eliza and she showed the superior stamina to finish with a flourish and cross the line with three lengths in hand over Splendid Janey in second. The time was a good 28.79.


Pat Buckley sealed a second Kirby runner in the penultimate race of the night as he landed the A2 Trial Stake with the Kenny Glen-owned, Knockboy Curragh.

A June 21’ whelp, Knockboy Curragh clocked a calculated 28.75 around Youghal on debut and he showed a glimpse of that talent in coming from off-the-pace to book his Kirby ticket. A 2/1 chance in the market, the son of Good News and Knockboy Kathy was led by Ballybawn Belle in the early exchanges and the latter continued to set the pace heading into the penultimate turn. However, Knockboy Curragh turned the screw at this point and he shot to the front before running out a one length victor. The time was 28.90.


Elsewhere on the card, the semi finals of the Talking Dogs A3/A4 600 were down for decision and it was Beaming Becca who went quickest for local owner Corona Ryan.

Beaming Becca was an eye-catching second in last week’s quarter finals and she looked well-housed to make a bold bid wearing the striped jacket last night. Sent off the 5/2 second favourite behind Mellon Rosa, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Beechgrove Belle made her intentions clear at traprise with a smart exit which saw her take a one length lead into the opening corner from the favourite. Extending her advantage down the back, Beaming Becca looked certain to run out a healthy winner. However, Ballygur Bale was to make the bitch work hard in the closing stages as he finished at a rate of knots but Beaming Becca pulled out all the stops to emerge a one and half lengths winner. A smart performance from Corona Ryan’s charge, the time was a fast 32.80.

In the opening semi, Four Bullets produced a shock victory as he won at odds of 6/1. Owned by Gerald O’Connor, Four Bullets had slipped somewhat under the radar in this stake but he broke nicely from trap six last night to sit closely in behind both Millroad Brandy and the early leader, Hyde Park. The latter opened up a three length advantage heading into the back straight but Four Bullets always looked threatening after breezing past Millroad Brandy within a matter of strides. Turning the screw around the bottom two bends, Four Bullets, a son of Bull Run Bolt and Hazelhill Tess, coursed around the outside to finish with a wet sail and take control from the gallant Hyde Park in second. Three parts of a length separating the duo, the time was 32.87.