Peter Farrell

There were six opening round heats of the Ballymac Cooper @ Stud A3 525 down for decision at Limerick Greyhound Stadium last night and it was Castleivy Blake who set the early standard in what proved a very competitive opening round.

The Ballymac Cooper @ Stud A3 525 offers an eventual winner’s prize of €3,000 and of the six opening rounds heats on offer, just over three lengths separated the fastest heat winner from the slowest.

The quickest return came in heat five as Castleivy Blake got back to winning ways for Michael and Noel Nash. A Limerick regular, the son of Laughil Blake and Airfield Biddy was paw perfect at traprise as he pinged out from trap one to post a rapid 1.19 sectional and lead the field into the opening corner. From here, Castleivy Blake, trained by Denis O’Malley, was never under any threat of being reeled in as he drew clear of his rivals to cross the line seven and a half lengths ahead of Ballymartin Pam in second. The time for the 4/1 market chance was 29.04.


Marginally slower on the clock was Another Blonde who also obliged at big odds of 4/1. Owned by Seamus Shealy, the December 19’ whelp daughter of Ballymac Best and Sing Dixie was only moderately away from trap six as Da Special One narrowly led early on. However, displaying a nice turn of foot from the second turn, Another Blonde took charge and she proved too strong for her rivals in running out a six and a half length victor over nearest rival, Hillside Flyer, in second. The time was 29.06.

The sponsor, Liam Dowling, landed the opening heat of the night with Ballymac Jet as he secured a double after Ballymac Whispa won the night’s opener in terrific style. Installed the 4/6 favourite to score, Ballymac Jet was seeking back-to-back wins and he was swiftly into stride from trap two in his attempt to do so. Setting a strong gallop thereafter, the March 20’ son of Droopys Jet and Ballymac Scala did tire on the run for home but he had enough in reserve to just hold on in the closing stages from the fast-finishing Hollyhill Sonny in second. Three parts of a length in hand, the time was 29.14.

The biggest upset of the night came in heat three as Blastoff Sia landed the spoils at massive odds of 14/1. Owned by Owen Green and trained by Pat Conway, Blastoff Sia didnt come away too well from trap one and she sat in midfield early on. However, after making steady progress down the back, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Blastoff Fizz reeled in the fast-starting Chestnut Clint and took control in the closing stages to claim a length and a half victory over another fast finisher in Toolmaker Beach. The time was 29.20.

So Much Better was making the step back up from two bends to four bends in heat four and the David O’Connor-owned bitch showed good determination to come out on top. Trained by Pat O’Connell, So Much Better broke well from trap two and although headed midway down the back by Faypoint Alex, the daughter of Kinloch Brae came back for more in the closing stages to stay on strongly and claim a three length victory over Miss Sloane in second. The time for 4/1 shot was 29.26.

In a stake where few favourites prevailed on the night, Cronody Cupid got punters back on track in heat six as the February 20’ puppy produced a fine display to justify his 6/4 odds. Owned by Donal Murphy, Cronody Cupid was seeking a hat-trick on the night after two brilliant performances at Cork but he was slowly into stride trap six and as a result, he had plenty on his plate to get back on terms. However, showing big speed from the halfway mark, the son of Droopys Sydney and Boom Time shot to the front late on and he claimed a three length win over Rathin Special in second. The time was 29.18.

The final heat of the night fell the way of Hazelfield Echo as the Cian O’Connell-owned charge got up in the shadows of the post. Trained by Jack Kennelly, the daughter of Laughil Blake and Forest Bell was making her first start since early November but she showed little signs of rust as she chased Cherrygrove Snow into the back straight. Overcoming a four length gap, Hazelfield Echo made her challenge in the dying strides as she finished at speed to get the nod, by a head, on the line. The time was 29.26 for the 2/1 shot.


Elsewhere on the card the 29-second barrier was broken on three occasions and the first of those came in the opening race of the night as Ballymac Whispa scored convincingly. An August 20’ son of Ballymac Anton and Ballymac Minton, owned by Liam Dowling, Ballymac Whispa pinged the lids from trap three and he galloped to a comprehensive three length victory over Ballygibba Moat in second. The time for the 5/4 shot was a brisk 28.82.

In race ten, the Rachel Wheeler-trained Annagh Lucy finished at speed to get back to winning ways. Owned by Dan Stackpoole, Annagh Lucy was installed the 6/4 favourite but although breaking smartly from trap two, it was Puck Out who held all the aces early on as he led the field from trap six. However, turn second was Annagh Lucy and she showed big speed down the back to take control. From here, it was straightforward assignment for the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Moanteen Beauty as she came home five lengths clear of Bling Bling Zoe in second. The time was 28.82.

The last of the greyhounds to dip under 29-seconds came in the concluding race of the night as Tyrap Luke sealed a seventh career victory for owner David Carroll. From a level break it was Loxley and Blastoff Bucks who disputed the lead into the back straight, however, Tyrap Luke outpaced his rivals up the inside to quickly take control. Staying on strongly thereafter, the son of Scolari Me Daddy and Gulleen Glory pressed home his advantage to cross the line three and a half lengths clear of Loxley in second. The time for the 3/1 shot was 28.87.