Early speed was predictably the difference between victory and defeat at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as twelve became six in the RCETS Gold Cup.
Serene Ace set the tone in the opening heat with a tremendous front running display but Good Cody raised the bar in the second semi, as he left his rivals standing with a stunning display of raw pace.
CODY GOES BALLISTIC
John Kennedy’s Good Cody was housed in the stripes for only the second time in his career but the son of Definate Opinion and Soho Ark seized control from the very first stride.
Vanderbilt stumbled from trap five. In contrast, Good Cody exploded from boxes but still needed to show brilliant early speed to clear Skywalker Barry and Knight Tornado into the turn.
The fact that he cleared them with them with minimum fuss was evidence of just how fast he can be to the corner. Once turning in front, this was nothing short of a procession. Skywalker Barry and Knight Tornado bumped on the bend allowing Good Cody increase his advantage but it mattered little as the Pat Guilfoyle trained star was on a mission.
Motoring down the back straight, Good Cody opened a near eight length advantage to halfway to clock a stunning 15.82 to the third turn. Skywalker Barry was always in pursuit but couldn’t land a glove on the leader. Meanwhile Knight Tornado, after finding traffic on the bend, fought off the challenge of Skywalker Angie to race third.
Good Cody continued to turn the screw around the last two bends before coasting up the home straight to a simply sensational, fastest of the year thus far, 28.13 success. Skywalker Barry was second, some six lengths adrift with Knight Tornado another length back in third.
RED-HOT ACE DOMINATES
Serene Ace was also razor-sharp in the early yards to secure a comfortable victory in the opening heat.
There was a very level start but the immediate acceleration of Serene Ace was there for all to see.
While the inside trio rubbed shoulders, Serene Ace had a golden highway up the middle of the track and he had made full use of it, quickening to the front well before the bend. In a matter of strides this was over as a contest with Eddie Ryan’s star opening up a decisive advantage.
Serene Ace ran a wonderful corner to open a three length advantage by the time he entered the back straight. Macho Pride turned second but as headed by Storys Direct as they straightened up into the back.
There was no catching the leader, however. By halfway, the Michael O’Donovan trained speedster had four lengths in hand and he continued to pile on the pressure. Storys Direct gave chase throughout but it was futile.
Serene Ace emerged a thoroughly deserving winner by three and a half lengths in 28.47. The third qualifying sport went to Macho Pride, who finished a further length and a half behind Storys Direct.
A FINAL TO LOOK FORWARD TO
And so, we are left with a top-class final. Serene Ace and Good Cody will go into the decider on the back of a brilliant victory each but in a race of this nature, where the opening exchanges are so vital, anything could happen.
The draw is:
RCETS GOLD CUP
1 SKYWALKER BARRY
2 SERENE ACE
3 KNIGHT TORNADO
4 MACHO PRIDE
5 GOOD CODY (M)
6 STORYS DIRECT (W)
Pierno can be a little frustrating but there is no doubting his supreme ability and it was on show in the A1 eighth race over 575yds as he said goodbye to graded company in some style.
Trained by Tommy O’Donovan for Ger Hutton, the son of Laughil Blake and Miss Mini Marvel broke fast and quickly assumed control.
Once doing so it was pretty much a procession. Maintaining a strong gallop throughout, he comfortably saw off Muffin by six and a half lengths in a rapid 31.08.
WINKS A REAL PROSPECT
Thirtynine Winks made the step from a promising type to a very exciting tracker in the sixth race, showing fine early speed and big back straight pace on his way to a career best display.
Trained by David Murray for Thomas Glynn, the son of Laughil Bolt and Combined Effort wasn’t fastest into stride but he flew into the turn to join Allovertheworld.
With the inside line in his favour, the latter moved back to the front but it was short-lived. Thirtynine Winks displayed big back straight pace to take over into the third turn and he eased away to win by six lengths in a rapid 28.41.
It was his third win on the bounce and easily the best of his career. It’s very obvious, the December ’19 whelp has the pace to race against the best in the training in the coming months and he is certainly one to keep an eye on.
BOBBY LEFT RIVALS STANDING
Early speed was again the key ingredient in the seventh race as Millridge Bobby left his rivals standing on the way to a brilliant 28.42 victory.
Stephen O’Mahoney’s son of Droopys Jet and Millridge Ozie flew into the turn from trap two and found himself clear of the chasing pack as he entered the back straight.
Sawdust Hondo emerged as his nearest pursuer but never seemed likely to close the gap. Instead, Millridge Bobby stayed on to secure a thoroughly and most impressive three length success.
SUPREMO LEAVES IT LATE
Barefoot Supreme has the ability to be a top performer in 2022 and he returned from a layoff to capture the penultimate race in the final stride.
Recent Christmas Oaks winner Clona Skye displayed her trademark early speed to lead the field around the turn but she was always under pressure once Bryan and Kathleen Murphy’s Barefoot Supremo turned a relatively close third.
He moved past Barefoot Art into the third turn before setting his sights on the leader. In a desperate finish, Barefoot Supremo got up in the final stride to claim a head victory in 28.69.
MERLIN WINS THE FINALE
Leger champion Ballymac Merlin finally claimed his first success at Shelbourne Park in the finale over 525yds.
Liam Dowling’s son of Vulturi and Ballymac Belle broke fastest and led from the opening stride.
He was kept honest throughout by Coom Leo, but once cutting of that rival at the third turn, Ballymac Merlin was always going to a claim a sixth career success. He proceeded to hit the line two an a half lengths clear in 28.71.
SUPERMUM BELLE STRIKES
Right So Belle has long been a classy performer but her latest victory in the fifth race will taste extra sweet for owner Sean Corrigan as she was recording her first success after having a litter of pups.
The daughter of Laughil Blake and Nostalgia was always prominent but she displayed real determination to take up the running into the third turn from Coolemount Boss.
The latter attempted to comeback at Right So Belle but she had the bit between her teeth and dug in to repel her rival by a length in 28.73. If her pups have the same determination, it’s clear she will produce plenty of winners in the future.
CASTLE’S CAREER BEST EFFORT
Urban Castle produced a tremendous performance to win the opener for Neilus O’Connell and Pat Griffin.
The son of Laughil Blake and Idle Gossip really flew into the turn to assume control on the bend and he proceeded to race into a clear advantage by halfway.
Millridge Willow moved well to go second down the back straight but there was no stopping Urban Castle. The October ’18 whelp proceeded to emerge a facile winner in a quick 28.61, some nine lengths clear of Millridge Willow.
A DOUBLE FOR MURT
Irelands Own was having just his seventh start in the A1 second race but claimed a fifth victory in typically professional manner, initiating a superb double for Murt Leahy in the process.
Showing fine early speed, he joined and headed Illnotbeback on the corner before quickly moving clear.
Trained by Murt Leahy for the McLean Avenue Syndicate, the son of Dorotas Wildcat and Droopys Achieve eased away to eventually strike by four lengths over Illnotbeback in 28.76.
Half an hour later, in the A0 fourth race, Lemon Nicky also displayed terrific early speed to complete a fine double for Murt Leahy. Flying up the outside of the track, Billy O’Keeffe’s charge shot clear of his rivals and always seemed to be on control thereafter. Coonough Pogba did show pace to come through for second but Lemon Nicky ran out a ready four length scorer in 28.71.
JORGI DIGS IN
Westpoint Jorgi was a gallant winner of the A1 third race over 550yds, in turn giving handler Thomas Leahy bragging rights over his brother Murt, who was responsible for the runner-up Lujaneo.
Westpoint Jorgi broke fastest and led to the third turn but looked destined for second when Lujaneo took up the running on the outside.
Westpoint Jorgi wasn’t going to be denied, however, and Alan Crawford’s daughter of Azza Azza Azza and The Other Tesse rallied on the run in to see off Lujaneo by a short head in 30.07.