The semi finals of the Rural Kennels ON2/ON3 525 took centre stage last night at Clonmel Greyhound Stadium and those in attendance were treated to something special as Swords Rex posted an unbelievable 28.01 to storm into next week’s decider.
Heading into last night’s semi finals, Postman Cat held the mantle of quickest in the stake after his 28.34 performance in last week’s quarter final. However, despite Owen McKenna’s talented star safely advancing into next week’s decider, he was forced to settle for second at the expense of the impressive Droopys Nice One in the opening semi final. That said, there was no doubting who stole the show in the second semi final as Swords Rex shaved ten lengths off his prior career best to stop the clock in 28.01, the fastest time at Clonmel since a certain Clares Rocket in 2016.
Trained by Graham Holland for Barbara Lowndes, Swords Rex was a real eye-catcher in coming from off the pace to win his quarter final assignment in 28.71 and he was expected to have a big say from what was a plumb pitch on the fence. However, despite only four greyhounds going to traps with the absence of both Knockard Bobby and Trial By Magic, no-one could have envisaged the calibre of performance from the July 20’ son of Droopys Sydney and Starry Display. Out like a rocket wearing the red jacket, Swords Rex clocked a rapid 2.75 sectional and it was clear he was on the verge of something special even at an early stage. Holding an already unassailable lead over Mustang Joey in second, the striking black drew clear of rivals down the back straight and he posted a 15.78 third bend sectional, just over a length slower than Good Cody’s 15.70 sectional record. Showing no signs of any fatigue in the closing stages, Swords Rex maintained a relentless gallop all the way to the winning line where he was seven lengths too strong for Priceless King in second, with Clonbrien Thelma taking the final qualifying position in third. The time, as mentioned, was a super 28.01, the fastest since Clares Rocket, also trained by Graham Holland, posted 27.87 during the 2016 Produce Stakes.
GREAT ONE FROM DROOPYS
The John Coleman-owned Droopys Nice One is another who has lit up this brilliant renewal and she got back to winning ways in the opening semi final as she handed Postman Cat a first career defeat.
A 28.62 winner in round two, Droopys Nice One has really caught the eye with her fast-finishing exploits and after she broke quickest from trap three, the Murt Leahy-trained bitch had her rivals in all sorts of trouble entering the opening turn. At this point, Postman Cat sat a close second but it was going to take a monumental effort if he was to reel in Droopys Nice One who was now in full throttle midway down the back straight. Extending her lead around the bottom two bends, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Droopys Dance motored to the winning line and she stopped the clock in a brilliant 28.30, seven lengths clear of Postman Cat in second. The final qualifying position was claimed by Blueway Best in third.
HOLLAND DOUBLE IN BUY & SELL SEMIS
The Graham Holland bandwagon kept on rolling as he also landed both semi finals of the Buy & Sell Greyhound Trader.com Bitch Stake 525.
In the opening semi final, Clogheen Lass got back to winning ways as she took control rounding the opener to gallop to victory. It was Minor Droopy who broke best of all from one but the improving Clogheen Lass raced alongside her rival rounding the top two turns. Storming to the front entering the back, the daughter of Laughil Duke and Leevalley Dancer, owned by the Farran-And-Away-Syndicate, set a scorching gallop thereafter to cross the line four lengths clear of Minor Droopy in second. The time was a sparkling 28.36.
In the second semi final, Buckos Melody took charge in the closing stages to seal a sixth career victory. Owned by Beverley Lochead, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Ballymac Razl nestled in behind Gurtnacrehy Rose for the large part of the contest but delivering a late flourish to storm to the front and seal a two and a half length victory. The time was 28.44.
RUINART LIGHTS UP SAVANA SEMIS
After a fantastic opening round of the Savana Open 750 last weekend, the semi finals took stage last night and it was Redzer Ruinart who made it back-to-back wins in stake as she went quickest by some margin.
Owned by Pat Reddan, Redzer Ruinart won her opening round assignment in runaway fashion but she faced the formidable Darbys Delight who set the standard with a swift 41.88 last time out. Much like last week, it was Redzer Ruinart who showed first wearing the orange jacket and the daughter of Kinloch Brae and Redzer Ruby set a strong gallop to stop the sectional clock in a rapid 14.34. Followed in behind by both Storys Peewee and Darbys Delight, the latter chased gallantly but failed to reel in Redzer Ruinart as she stayed on stoutly to record a length and a half victory. The time was a very smart 41.64.
Razldazl Peaky (Makeshift - Razldazl Pru) made a winning start to marathon racing last time out and he maintained his unbeaten record over six bends in the opening semi final.Owned by the Kildare-Kilcolgan-Syndicate, Razldazl Peaky produced a similar type of performance as set a good gallop throughout before holding off the strong finish of Redzer Regera in second. The time was 42.61.
BURNCHURCH SIZZLES IN DOOLIN DUKE @ STUD
Both semi finals of the Doolin Duke @ Stud A2 525 provided two top-class displays but patrons were treated to something special in the second semi as the Michael O’Donovan-trained Burnchurch Best flew to victory.
Owned by Michael Cullen, Burnchurch Best posted a rapid 28.88 on debut at Kilkenny and that was enough to suggest this lady was destined for the top. Running from trap four last night, the daughter of Ballymac Best and Blackstone Angie took charge in the opening exchanges and quickly turned the contest into a procession. Extending her lead down the back straight, the April whelp drew clear of her rivals and stayed on strongly to seal a six and a half length victory over Fire Height Gem in second. The time was a blistering 28.39.
In the opening semi final, Clondoty Megan made the most of her drop in grade to run out a narrow winner. Breaking well from trap two, John Leahy’s charge was forced to play second fiddle early on as Autumn Grace set the pace. However, taking charge at the penultimate turn was Clondoty Megan and she set a strong gallop thereafter to land the spoils. Flaming Sahara did make rapid progress in behind but she fell just short as Clondoty Megan crossed the line with a length in hand of her fast-finishing rival. The time was a swift 28.79.
TOM HANNIGAN MEMORIAL CLOSELY MATCHED
The two semi finals of the Tom Hannigan Memorial A2 525 also featured on last night’s card and there was little to separate both semi final winners as Vivaro Blaze and Minor Trump landed the spoils.
Owned by Kenneth Busteed, Vivaro Blaze landed the opening semi final after he produced a trap-to-line display to make it two wins from his last three starts. Quickest into stride wearing the striped jacket, the son of Sparta Maestro and Coolbeg Laurel set a powerful gallop throughout to see off his nearest rival, Mustang Sam, by four lengths, in a time of 28.63.
In the second semi final, Minor Trump went one spot faster for owner Mary O’Connor. A Clonmel regular, Minor Trump turned this contest into one-way traffic as he broke brilliantly from six to lead into the opener. Showing terrific gears down the back, the heavyweight son of Minor Mike and Minor Winner drew clear thereafter to cross the line with seven and a half lengths in hand over Hollyhill Sonny in second. The time was a slick 28.62.