The opening round heats of the Knocklong Schooling Track A1/A2 525 were the highlight on last night’s Limerick card and it was Ruffian Angel who set the standard by the narrowest of margins.
Kindly sponsored by Liam Hayes, early indications are that the €2,200 to the winner stake is going to take a bit of winning with each heat closely matched in terms of the clock. The Cheryl Sutcliffe-owned Ruffian Angel went quickest of the four heats on display but she was made to work hard for the victory, getting up in the shadow of the post to land the spoils.
Trained by Dave Bourke, Ruffian Angel was a 4/1 shot at the off and despite breaking well from her inside berth in trap one, it was Pats Angela on her immediate outside who displayed the superior early gears to take control. Holding a two length advantage down the back, Pats Angela looked a winner rounding the bottom two bends as she continued to lead, however, Ruffian Angel upped the ante in the final few strides to cross the line and gain a short-head verdict. The time for the daughter of Laughil Blake and Love Honey was 28.77.
Tyrap Luke has raced in better company in recent months and this was evident in heat four as David Carroll’s runner proved too hot to handle. A 5/2 chance at the outset, Tyrap Luke broke moderately from trap one but showed good early pace to turn close to Ready For Aoife, who had rocketed from trap five to lead. The son of Scolari Me Daddy and Gulleen Glory showed his class down the back as he galloped past the leader and he continued to set a fine gallop thereafter. Crossing the line to record a comfortable two and a half length success over Ready For Aoife in second, the time for the June 19’ whelp was 28.85.
In the opening heat of the night, Hidden Megan also came from off-the-pace to maintain her unbeaten career start. Bidding for a fourth win on the spin, the talented June 21’ whelp, owned by Kathleen Browne and trained by Eamonn Quinn, raced into the lead early on from trap four but was pegged back midway down the back by both Hunters Val and Exile Sydney. However, showing real guts and determination, the daughter of Droopys Biker and Boherna Megan stuck to her task on the rail and she rallied in the closing yards to cross the line with one length to spare. The time was 28.99.
In the final heat of the night, Corca Dhuibhne also came out in front by the narrowest of margins for Gavin Johns and Patrick O’Connor. Running from trap four, Corca Dhuibhne didn’t break too smartly but showed good track craft to pick his spots and go second in behind Rattlefence. It was nip and tuck between the duo thereafter but despite the best intentions of Rattlefence, Corca Dhuibhe emerged a short-head winner crossing the line. The time was 28.92.
Heat two was a void race due to hare malfunction.
RAINING GLORY LANDS OPEN 550
Elsewhere on the card, there was a very smart Open 550 on offer and this was landed by Raining Glory as the judge was yet again called into action.
Raining Glory was available at odds of 7/2 at the off and the Mark Cronin-trained black showed blistering early gear from trap four to breeze past both Bling Bling Paul and Bumblebee Seamus early on. Holding a two length lead over Oakfront Cadet heading down the back, the duo had pulled away from the field and the leader looked like a sitting duck given the strong running abilities of Oakfront Cadet in behind. However, Raining Glory dug deep for Brian and Aileen O’Leary and the son of Droopys Sydney and Faithful Jane got the verdict, by a short-head, crossing the line. The time was a smart 29.97 for the 550-yard trip.
CENTURION DOMINATES 750
The concluding race on the card was a Novice 750 and was landed in emphatic fashion by the 4/7 favourite, Da Centurion. Owned by the Lucky-Last syndicate, Da Centurion could only manage fifth place rounding the opener but the son of Definate Opinion and Jumeirah Lolls quickly showed he was a class above by taking control at the third turn. From here, Da Centurion proceeded to draw clear of his rivals and he stayed every inch of the 750-yard trip to gallop to a facile, fourteen length victory over Glideaway Ella in second. An impressive debut over the marathon trip for this greyhound, the time was 42.47.