Rarely does a weekend slide without a valuable sweepstake getting underway at Limerick and last night was no different as the opening round heats of the Talking Dogs A3/A4 600 got underway.
It certainly is great to see stakes over the extended trips being so well received and Limerick leads the way in that respect as five opening rounds heats dominated last night’s twelve race card. Of the heats, it was the John Byrne-trained Ruffian Rose who went quickest for joint owners Cheryl Sutcliffe and Dave Bourke as she produced an expert performance to build on her 575-yard victory last time out. Running from trap three in the fourth heat of the night, Ruffian Rose was sent off the 2/1 favourite but despite breaking in front, Hyde Park showed the better of the early pace to narrowly lead at the opener. However, Ruffian Rose was extremely determined at the opener and the daughter of Droopys Jet and Droopys Floral wrestled back the advantage entered the back straight. From here, Bryne’s charge railed like a cat and she pressed home her lead in the closing stages to cross the line with three lengths in hand of Hyde Park in second. The time was a fast 33.08.
ROUNDING UP THE HEATS
Next best in terms of the clock came in the final heat of the night as Brockville Dawg sprung a surprise to win at odds of 4/1. Trained by Ken Duce and owned jointly by James and Lewis White, Brockville Dawg hadn’t tasted success since early December and he looked to have plenty of work on his plate as he sat fourth early on from trap five. However, after shooting across to the rails he showed tremendous early pace to find himself in front rounding the second turn and he never looked back thereafter. The son of Droopys Cain and Klockwork Tip went about his business in good style as he recorded a three length victory over Ballygibba Sam in second. The time was 33.21.
Millrose Brandy (Ballymac Matt - Laughil Linda) is a top-class performer when on-song and Ger Cremin’s charge got back to winning ways in heat two as he justified his 7/4 favouritism in good fashion. Pinging the lids from trap three, the fawn immediately opened a three length lead on his rivals and the flying start was to prove crucial in the closing stages of the event. Setting a strong gallop down the back, Millrose Brandy stayed on stoutly in closing stages to hold off the powerful finish of Ballygloss Bingo in second. The time was 33.26.
Heat three was landed by Coolavanny Blitz as Ruairi Bourke’s bitch produced a strong finish to take control late on. A 5/2 shot at the off, Coolavanny Blitz didn’t come away too fluently from trap five as Selinas Blubelle led the way from trap six. Coolavanny Blitz has nestled into third down the back but still sat four lengths adrift entering the penultimate turn. However, the 600-yard trip really played into the hands of the daughter of Magical Bale as she powered around the outside to storm past both Selinas Blubelle and Fastaway Jadon and record a one and a half length victory. The time was 33.31.
The remaining heat was the opener and this was landed by Ballygur Bale for owner William Hanlon. The June 20’ whelp left himself with huge work as he trailed the field into the back straight with some ten lengths to make up on the leader. However, the son of Magical Bale and Ballygur Mel motored from the halfway mark on and he upped the ante in the closing yards to storm across the line with two lengths in hand of Larchill Echo in second. The time was 33.63.
BAILEY BACK TO HIS BEST
There was no doubt about the star performance on the night as no surprises that it came from the Leger finalist, Annagh Bailey, in the concluding race of the night.
Annagh Bailey is one of the top trackers in the country when getting loose and Dan and Peter Stackpoole’s charge looked like banker material in the final race. Sent off the 4/6 favourite, the Rachel Wheeler-trained blue didn’t come away at all well from trap six but he had too much early zip for his rivals to dispute around the opener with Raining Glory. From here, the son of Droopys Sydney and Bellmore Fantasy turned a narrow lead into a procession around the bottom two bends and he powered up the home straight to record a four length victory over the gallant Raining Glory in second. The time was a brilliant 29.56 for the 550-yard trip.