Ian Fortune

Michael Lynch’s Garfiney Legend displayed great battling qualities and plenty of reserves of stamina at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night to be crowned the 2022 Shelbourne Marathon champion.

Sent to traps the 4-6 favourite, Garfiney Legend got the better of Jacktavern Hero in the early stages to set a strong gallop on the opening lap. Given his price and the time he had in hand in the semi-finals, he may have been expected to dominate thereafter but Fire Height Mane had other ideas, while both Jacktavern Hero and Proper Rebel also made a move on the second circuit.

Incredibly, as they approached the seventh bend, the front four were separated by only a couple of lengths and the result hung in the balance. Importantly, the Liam O’Rourke trained Garfiney Legend continued to gallop on along the fence.

Despite the best efforts of his rivals, Garfiney Legend began to pull away. Showing far superior stamina to those in chase, the son of Vulturi and Dolcino Rose went on to beat Fire Height Mane by an ever-widening seven lengths in 60.18, rated .80 slow in the cold conditions. Jacktavern Hero was another length back in third.

Presentation to Michael Lynch after Garfiny Legend won the Shelbourne1025, also included are handler Jodie O'Rourke, trainer Liam O'Rourke and Tiarnan Lynch.      Pic: Imelda Grauer


The semi-finals of the RCETS Dual Distance followed the feature with Cheero and Robbies Bear running out good winners of their respective heats.

Cheero was up first for Matthew Harte and the Commons Seven Syndicate.

Prominent into the corner, the powerful son of Droopys Jet and Cats Belle asserted to halfway and was never under threat despite the late charge of Docktechnik Diva. At the line the pair were separated by a length in 30.36. (.40 slow) 

Robbies Bear got loose early in the second semi final for the in-form Shea Campbell. The son of Great Blue Shark and Robeen Magic was pressed throughout by Churchtown Syd but dug in to score by three parts of a length in 30.18. (.40 slow)


Graham Holland ended the evening in fine style, recording a superb double in the last two races on the card with Gaytime Nemo and Ballyhimikin Leo.

Gaytime Neo was second to the turn, only to check wide as Roxholme Duke crossed his line. Brendan O’Connell’s son of Droopys Sydney and Gaytime Derval quickly recovered and displayed the superior pace into the third turn.

Going through on the fence at this point, the Graham Holland trained powerhouse eased on to beat Roxholme Duke by two and a half lengths in 30.29 (Rated .40 slow).


Ballyhimikin Leo took the finale over 575yds in even easier fashion for Billy and John Dunne. Relishing the longer run to the corner, the son of Ballyhimikin Jet and Slaneyside Poppy shot clear of his rivals to seize complete control before halfway.

Petersburg gave chase for much of the way but he failed to contain Famous Eight. It was all immaterial, however, as Ballyhimikin Leo wasn’t coming back to his rivals and he ran out a ready and most impressive five and a half length winner in a fast 31.46 (Rated. 40 slow).  


One of the standout performances of the night came in the eighth race as Toolmaker Stan emerged a facile scorer for Robert Gleeson and Willie Hyslop.

The well bred son of Pestana and Droopys Pizazz flashed from three and led into the turn when Rathdown Molly took over along the fence.

Her lead was short-lived, however, as Toolmaker Stan went into overdrive down the back straight. Once gong back to the front, the March ’21 whelp eased right away to score by six lengths in 28.74 (.40 slow). Lynchy Boy stayed on well to beat Rathdown Molly by a short head for second.


Minutes later, Droopys Lovable, a litter sister to Toolmaker Stan, claimed a third career victory in the ninth race, proving too strong for Payment Due.

The pair were always prominent with the McLean Avenue Syndicate owned Droopys Lovable (Pestana / Droopys Pizazz) taking over on the third turn. From there the Murt Leahy trained bitch went on to record a two length victory over her rival in 28.82.


Clona Blu came out on the right side after a protracted battle with Lujaneo in the tenth race on the card.

Trained by Kevin Losty for the Give Him A Chance Syndicate, the son of Droopys Sydney and Skywalker Pearl was third into the back straight but found a seam as Auxerre moved wide, holding up Lujaneo momentarily.

It meant that Clona Blu set the pace passing halfway and was always going to be a tough nut to crack. Lujaneo was immediately on the case and was never more than a length adrift before staying on strongly. In a desperate finish, Clona Blu repelled his rival by a head in 30.38. (Rated .40 slow)


Earlier on the card, Smokey Frank ran out one of the easiest winners of the night, turning the A2 second race into a procession and clocking a very fast time.

Trained by Matthew Harte for the Mines A Large One Syndicate, the son of Droopys Sydney and Jaytee Sapphire led into the turn before pulling further and further clear for a fifteen length verdict over Craiobhin Skip in 28.61 (Rated .40 slow).