There was no sweepstake action at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night with the Gold Cup due to start next weekend but the racing was certainly enthralling with numerous fine displays.
The two best runs over the standard trip actually came in A2 graded company as both Droopys Haze and Burj Khalifa recorded runs in the 28.40s, while the most significant display was perhaps over six bends as Threesixfive sent out a warning that she could be a stayer of some note going forward.
THREESIXFIVE A FUTURE SIX BEND STAR
After catching the eye in defeat on her six bend debut some seven days earlier, Threesixfive produced a brilliant display of front running to establish herself as a potential star over 750yds in the fifth race.
Owned by the Pints of Heino Syndicate and trained by Scott Phelan, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Dunquin Anna couldn’t have been any more impressive. Much sharper than her rivals in the early yards, she dominated from the outset.
Track Scout did well to stay relatively close throughout but once Threesixfive hit the penultimate turn she began to put distance between herself and her rivals. Staying on strongly, the October ’20 whelp emerged a ten length scorer over Track Scout in a brilliant 41.32.
DROOPYS LEAVES RIVALS IN A HAZE
After a big run seven days earlier, it was no surprise to see Droopys Haze appreciating a step down in grade to win the A2 third race with relative ease.
Stevie Dunne’s daughter of Droopys Sydney and Droopys Dance broke smartly and disputed the lead into the turn where she asserted.
It was all one-way traffic thereafter. Galliagh Bull did show back straight pace to move second into the third turn but Droopys Haze was in a league of her own and she said goodbye to A2 company with a rapid 28.42 success, seeing off Dun Loich by seven lengths.
BURJ KHALIFA STANDS TALL
After starting his career in the English Puppy Derby, it was clear Burk Khalifa was always highly thought of and he got off the mark in his fifth career outing in the A2 fourth race for new owner Chris Sower.
Left with plenty of room in the early yards, the massive son of Soul and Love Island challenged into the turn before taking over. Once moving into the driving seat, the Eamon Reynolds trained powerhouse put the foot down. Almost ten lengths clear at the third turn, he maintained a relentless gallop to the line to see off Coonough Gregg by thirteen lengths in a rapid 28.43.
AN EVENTFUL FINALE GOES TO MOLLY
Bill Mulholland’s Rathdown Molly (Droopys Sydney/ Some Ginger) claims a fifth career victory in the final race over 525yds, leading on the turn before going on to make every inch thereafter.
That only tells half the story, however, as Toolmaker Stan displayed huge pace in defeat only to have his card held by the stewards.
The latter actually broke fastest and led in the early yards but was shuffled back at the turn. He clearly took exception to it as he stormed home to challenge on the run in, leaning in on Rathdown Molly in an exciting finish. The Marie Gilbert Rathdown Molly wasn’t put off by the attention and she stayed on to see off her rival by a half length in 28.63. For his troubles, Toolmaker Stan will need to do two conduct trials.
WONDERFUL AUXERRE BACK TO WINNING WAYS
When Ollie Shields got his hands on Auxerre almost three years ago as a raced greyhound, h would have hoped to win a few races and have a bit of fun with the son of Droopys Sydney and Toms Delight.
Little did he know he would develop into one of the most consistent and prolific greyhounds to race around Shelbourne Park through the remainder of his career. Now almost five years of age, the thoroughly likeable veteran turned the clock back in the A1 seventh race over 550yds, going up strongly to take the corner.
Once doing so, the writing was on the wall for his rivals. Kilcolgan Chief and Urban View gave chase into the third turn but neither could land a glove on the leader. Instead Docktechnik Diva ran on best to take second but Auxerre was not for stopping. The May ’18 whelp stayed on to score by two and a half lengths in 30.04.
LADY MAKES IT FOUR ON THE SPIN
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Melia has his string purring at present, especially the ever-consistent A Lucky Lady.
The daughter of Ballymac Eske and Julies Paradise has been in imperious form and she made it four wins on the bounce in the ninth race, getting the better of Forest Willow for the second week running.
A Lucky Lady flashed from the inside box to lead the field into the back straight and seemed certain to score when doing so but Forest Willow did show great heart to close on the leader to the final turn. A Lucky Lady always kicks off the final turn, and she did so again, powering up the straight to secure a length and a half verdict over Forest Willow in 28.53.
MONEYBAGS GETS LOOSE
Space was at a premium in the early yards of the tenth race but a fast start allowed the tremendously consistent Flaminmoneybags get to the turn in front before seeing off a talented line-up that included former Laurels and current Champion Stakes winner One Time Only.
Owned by the Two Laois, Four Kilkenny Syndicate, the son of Laughil Blake and Killaheen Queen edged towards the fence from trap three but managed to get around, leaving One Time Only chasing shadows from the second turn. Staying on well, Flaminmoneybags ran out a ready eight length scorer in 28.69.
The layers installed Sunshine Tiger the 6-4 favourite for the eighth race on the card and Noeleen Bray’s early paced son of Laughil Blake and No Recollection duly obliged, showing all his early dash to dominate from the start.
Capitan Garfio did close and attempted to challenge on the run in but Sunshine Tiger was not going to surrender his advantage and he emerged a comfortable two lengths scorer in 28.66.
MIGHTY MAC TOO STRONG
Mary Buggy’s Kilgraney Mac was too strong for his rivals in the A2 second race despite giving them a start. Ropewalk Damsel hit the front on the bend but was always under severe pressure when the powerful Kilgraney Mac shot between greyhounds on the corner to move second.
Showing superior pace and strength, the Thomas Buggy trained son of Ballymac Best and Kilgraney June moved past the pace-setter on the final turn before easing on to win by an ever-widening four and a half lengths in 28.80. Dun Loich stayed on to grab second in the final strides.
BLUE RUMBLES RIVALS
Blue Rumble added to his tally in the A1 sixth race, claiming his first victory in some time when taking charge into the third turn.
Niall Deegan’s son of Over Limit and Ninnys Mazda was one of three greyhounds to avoid traffic on the turn and he bettered Payment Due down the back straight to lead around the last two bends. From there he stayed on to record a ninth career victory by two lengths in 28.90.
It had been some time since Kitmans Hero opened his account last July but he finally doubled his tally for John Doyle and Ray Melia in the A3 opener.
Making a flying start to clock a rapid 1.98 sectional, the son of Ballymac best and Solas An Iarthar repelled the persistent challenge of Rathmoyle Julie to win by two lengths in 28.92.