Peter Farrell

The six second round heats of the Rural Kennels ON2/ON3 Unraced took centre stage at Clonmel Greyhound Stadium last night and it was Droopys Nice One who built on her opening round win with a major statement in the penultimate heat of the night.

Of the six heats down for decision on the night, both Owen McKenna and Graham Holland accounted for two heat winners each, while Brendan O’Shea also secured victory as Crossfield Lexi bounced back from defeat last time out. However, despite clocking 29.30, which was the slowest of the opening round heats last weekend, Droopys Nice One, trained by Murt Leahy, emerged as a big player for outright glory as she reeled in Good King in the dying strides to clock an impressive locking 28.62.

Owned by John Coleman, Droopys Nice One was slowly into stride last weekend but the extremely young September 20’ whelp showed big pace in coming from some eight lengths off the pace to get up in the shadow of the post and seal victory. Running from trap one this time around, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Droopys Dance was much better into stride and she nestled in behind Good King, who had left his rivals for dust early on. Good King was another who caught the eye in defeat last week and John Kennedy’s charge continued to set a scorching gallop down the back straight as he stopped the sectional clock at a sizzling 16.13. However, just like last weekend, Droopys Nice One was in top gear with fifty yards remaining and as the winning line loomed large, she breezed up alongside the leader to cross the line in tandem. Coming out the right side of a photo-finish with Good King, Droopys Nice One clocked a slick 28.62.


Next best in terms of the clock came in heat number two as Postman Cat made it back-to-back wins to kickstart a double of heat winners for trainer Owen McKenna.

A half-brother to the great Susie Sapphire, Postman Cat won his opening round assignment in 29.11 but, as expected, he improved rapidly to shave five and a half lengths off that time. Running from trap one, the Tony Moore and Peter Comerford-owned black broke well from the inside and he quickly joined Romeo Top Gun on the run to the opening corner. Showing electric early gears at this point, the son of Droopys Buick and Jetstream Lynx soon took control to go five lengths clear of his Romeo Top Gun and despite coming back to his rival in the closing stages, he still had two lengths in hand at the winning line. The time was a slick 28.73.


The double was completed for Owen McKenna in the concluding heat of the night as Emers Spike maintained his unbeaten career record.

Owned by JJ Dunne, Emers Spike dominated his opening round assignment when winning by seven lengths and based on that, he was expected to take all the beating in heat six. Showing big early speed last time out, the son of Droopys Sydney and Emers Ivy didn't come away as fluently from trap one but he soon displayed those brilliant early gears to show narrowly in front. Taking a bump at the opener, McKenna’s charge went about his business in good style thereafter as he came home a length clear of Mustang Sam, who ran a fine race in second. The time was 29.01.


Another trainer to account for a double of heat winners was Graham Holland and it was Newinn Homer who got the second round off to a flyer with a trap-to-line success.

Owned by the Pillar-Syndicate, who won this event with Jackslittlething last year, Newinn Homer chased home the impressive Silverhill Frank last weekend but he was to prove too strong for his rivals this time around with a very good performance. Running from trap four, the son of Droopys Buick and Snoozing Head flashed from traps to hold all the aces on the run to the opener. From here, Newinn Homer maintained a very strong gallop and despite the best efforts of the gallant Knockard Bobby in second, he saw off his fast-finishing rival by a length crossing the line. The time was a smart 28.81.


One of the most eye-catching winners of the opening round was Silverhill Frank and he too maintained his unbeaten record to seal the Graham Holland double.

Owned by the Scots-Clan-Syndicate, this contest looked like a two-dog affair between kennel companions Silverhill Frank and Swords Rex and so it proved as the former got the better of his rival to come home in front. Running from trap five, Silverhill Frank was only moderately into stride and could only manage third early on as both Swords Rex and Mustang Joey disputed for the lead. However, after some early bumping between several greyhounds, it was Silverhill Frank who came out best and he shot to the front midway down the back straight to take control. The son of Sidarian Blaze and Silverhill Chat stayed on strongly last time out and he once again displayed the superior stamina to maintain a powerful gallop and see off the unlucky Swords Rex by a length and a half at the winning line. The time was 29.08.


After a very accomplished first round performance, Fire Height Mal was widely expected to land heat three but there was to be an upset on the cards as Crossfield Lexi prevailed for owner Brendan O’Shea.

Indeed, Fire Height Mal did come away best of all wearing the striped jacket and Brendan Maunsell’s charge led the field into the opening corner as Crossfield Lexi nestled into second place. A constant threat galloping down the back straight, Crossfield Lexi was displaying terrific gears and the daughter of Droopys Jet and Crossfield Kate loomed alongside the leader approaching the penultimate bend. Taking charge at this point, it was one-way traffic on the run for home as Crossfield Lexi stayed on strongly to seal a two and a half length victory over Fire Height Mal in second. The time was a fast 28.84.


Bionic Bandit made the headlines at the tail end of last year for being one of the most consistent greyhounds in training throughout 2021 and he has continued that brilliant form into 2022.

Owned by John Graham Campbell, Bionic Bandit won three on the trot prior to Christmas and he duly made it four wins from his last four starts in a top-class sprinting contest last night. Running from trap two, the son of Laughil Blake and Fourpenny Pearl was only moderately into stride but he displayed electric acceleration to outpace his rivals on the approach to the opener. Handling the bottom two bends beautifully, Bionic Bandit stayed on well on the run for home and he was half a length better off than the fast-finishing, Benalmadena Roxy, in second. The time was a rapid 16.28.


There was one other performance on last night's Clonmel card and that came in race two as Brave Yank made it three wins from his last four starts.

Owned by Marion Kennedy, Brave Yank is a brilliant performer and although he was led early on by Oreo Into Orbit, there was a certain inevitability of the result given the manner of his last couple of victories. Tucking in behind Oreo Into Orbit entering the back straight, the son of Laughil Blake and Galloping Maeve stormed to the front at the third turn and he never looked back thereafter as he stayed on stoutly to cross the line with a two and a half lengths in hand of Minor Trump in second. The time was a swift 28.76.