Peter Farrell

The semi finals of the Knocklong Schooling Track A1/A2 525 took centre stage at Limerick Greyhound Stadium last night and it was Strictly Paul who overcame the extremely foggy conditions to set the standard once again ahead of the €2,200 decider in six days time.

Trained by Pat Buckley for Kenny Glen, Strictly Paul posted a superb 28.42 in last week’s quarter finals so it was somewhat surprising that he went to traps attached to generous odds of 6/4. Running from trap one, the son of Jaytee Jet and Bricken Brett broke well from his inside berth and he showed the best of the early gears to lead into the opening bend from Dromabbey Flyer in second. Once in front, Strictly Paul was always going to take some pegging back and despite the foggy conditions, he never took his eye off the prize as he fended off the best intentions of Dromabbey Flyer in second, who is known for her fast finishing exploits. Galloping to a facile four and a half length victory, Strictly Paul stopped the clock in a rapid 28.50, ahead of Dromabbey Flyer in second, while Rattlefence claimed the final qualifying position in third.


In the second semi, there was an upset on the card as Ballygibba Ruba landed the spoils for owner Billy Guiney.

Meduza was chasing a hat-trick of wins heading into the second semi but it was Ballygibba Ruby, a 4/1 chance, who led early from trap one. The 4/6 favourite, Meduza, missed her break and was forced to settle for third rounding the opener as Ballygibba Ruby and Exile Sydney disputed for the lead. Excelling down the back however, ‘Ruby’ pulled clear of the field and proceeded to set a strong gallop into the penultimate turn. From here, the experienced daughter of Crash and Ballygibba Dawn saw out the win as she crossed the line with two and a half lengths in hand over Meduza in second. The time was 29.16 as Tyrap Shane claimed the final qualification spot back in third.


The final of the Limerick & Clare GOBA A6/A7 525 was also down for decision on the card and there was an upset on the cards in this contest as Deelish Rascal scored at huge odds of 8/1.

After winning in 29.14 last time out, Blastoff Bob was expected to take a bit of beating and as such, he was installed as the 4/6 favourite to land the spoils. However, after a moderate break from four and then being involved in early traffic, Blastoff Bob was left with plenty to do. In contrast, Deelish Rascal bolted from trap two and he built up ahead of speed rounding the opening two corners. Setting a good gallop down the back, the son of Droopys Sydney and Ballymac Shirley, owned by Liam Egan, drew clear to win comfortably by five lengths. The time was 29.27 and many congratulations are extended to connections in landing the €1000 decider.


There were two semi finals of the Limerick ON2 525 also on the card and it was News Notice (Good News - Turree Kate) who went quickest as he made all at odds of even money. Owned by Stephen O’Carroll and trained by Patrick O’Connor, News Notice came away racing wearing the stripes and he never looked back thereafter as he drew clear of Crafty Kazuko to win by a comprehensive, five and a half lengths. The time was 29.10.

Race four was the Connect A1 525 and it was 3/1 shot, Ballygibba Hero, who sealed a double on the night for Billy Guiney. Chasing a second career win, the son of Sonic and Ballygibba Dawn was swiftly into stride from trap three as he led the field into the opening turn. Once doing so, Ballygibba Hero held off the late surge of Victor Maximus to win by one and a half lengths, in a time of 28.93.

Race nine saw Tally Ho Midas go quickest in the second semi final of the Limerick & Clare GOBA A3/A4 525. A 4/1 chance in what was a very open affair betting wise, Tally Ho Midas, owned by the Walls of Tallyho syndicate, was quickly into stride from four and she disputed early on with Selinas Blubelle. However, the inside line proved crucial for Tally Ho Midas and he soon took charge around the opening corner. From here, it was all one-way traffic for the daughter of Tally Ho Lee and Crottys Act as she galloped clear of his rivals to win by three and a half lengths. The time was 29.09.