Ian Fortune

It may have been cold and the racing low-key but there were some wonderful performances and a number of thrilling finishes at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night including the feature, the final of the RCETS A1 Dual Distance, as Churchtown Syd took charge late to deny Robbies Bear.

The latter set a really strong gallop after a flying start but was always under pressure as Chuchtown Syd turned second. The pair met seven days earlier in the semis with Churchtown Syd staying on well to finish a close second and the added yardage was always going to suit the Denis Fitzgerald trained son of Droopys Sydney and Skywalker Pearl.

That’s exactly how it transpired. Despite the best efforts of Robbies Bear, Michael Crotty’s Churchtown Syd was too strong. Staying on well, he took over on the run in to claim the €1,750 prize by a length in 31.57 on a track conservatively rated .20 slow. Dochtechnick Diva ran on strongly once again to finish on the heels of the front two, just a length behind runner-up Robbies Bear.  

Conor Matthews Racing Support Officer Shelbourne Park presents the trophy to owner Michael Crotty and trainer Denis Fitzgerald after Churchtown Syd won the final of the RCETS A1 Dual Distance 550 / 575.                          Pic: Imelda Grauer


The biggest run of the night over the standard trip came in the penultimate contest as Rathdown Molly emerged a thoroughly professional winner for Marie Gilbert and Bill Mulholland.

The daughter of Droopys Sydney and Some Ginger, who had been a finalist in the national Puppy Stake, broke fastest from the inside trap and was always in command before running out a ready two and a half length winner over Lynchy Boy in 28.69 (.20 slow).


There were obvious similarities with the winners in the semi-finals of the Upcoming Events Open 550 as both Toolmaker Wilde and Lujaneo won from trap five in their respective heats.

Neither have been prolific in recent weeks and both rarely dictate the pace into the turn but that’s exactly what happened.

Willie Hyslop’s Toolmaker Wilde was first into action and once clearing the turn was never going to be threatened. The Robert Gleeson trained son of Droopys Jet and Kilara Lizzie normally storms home so his supporters never had a moment’s worry.

Pulling right away to halfway, he continued to pile on the pressure in the second half of the contest. Oh So Sweet ran a big race to stay relatively close but Toolmaker Wilde crossed the line with six lengths in hand in a fast 29.67 (.20 slow).


Lujaneo also led her rivals around the corner but she had to work considerably harder as her conqueror from seven days earlier, Clona Blu slipped up her inner at the second turn.

It saw the pair go toe to toe for the second week running.

Neither was giving an inch into the third turn but Lujaneo is just that bit stronger and she got on top in the final fifty yards. Trained by Murt Leahy for the Club of Champions Syndicate, the daughter of Dorotas Wildcat and Droopys Ant secured a half length victory over Clona Blu in 30.14(.20 slow).


Racing also ended with a strong runner making all over 550yds from trap five with Cu Mochua exploding from boxes to make all.

Trained by Karol Ramsbottom for the Thirsty Seven Syndicate, the son of Droopys Sydney and Bangla Road was pressed by Whyaye Man and Petersburg into the third turn but they clashed, leaving Cu Mochua clear. Galloping right to the line, Cu Mochua saw off Petersburg by six lengths in 30.05 (.20 slow).


A Lucky Lady and Priceless Opera had a tremendous tussle in the opening half of the ninth race only for the former to take charge into the third turn.

Jerry Melia’s daughter of Ballymac Eske and Julies Paradise eased into a length lead at this point, forcing her rival to check her stride. Once going to the front, A Lucky Lady stayed on well to emerge a comfortable three length winner in 28.72 (.20 slow).


Stefans Socks set the standard in the semi finals of the Talking Dogs A1 525, making every inch in the second heat for Shea Campbell.

The son of Premier Fantasy and Geelo Lu Lu shot from trap three and was never headed. Ross Dame was on his heels for much of the way but couldn’t get upsides. Instead, Stefans Socks eased away in the latter stages top eventually cross the line two and a half lengths clear of Johnny Gem in 28.85 (.20 slow).


The opening heat went right to the wire With Droopys Battery digging deep to hold on from the advancing Beepers Chris and the always prominent Run Faster.

The key to success for Droopys Battery was an early advantage.

The Michael Corr trained son of Romeo Recruit and Droopys Harbour was never too far clear but he kept on finding and eventually crossed the line with a neck to spare in 29.22 (.20 slow).


Great Dale has been a win machine through her relatively short racing career for Stephen Radcliffe and Karen McGee and she added yet another superb success to her tally in the A1 sixth race.

Making a fast start, the daughter of Ballymac Best and Darragh Pet led her rivals into the turn and may have given them a chance to draw closer by steering a wide path but she was never headed. Matts Maestro gave chase throughout but the diminutive Great Dale raced to a thoroughly deserved seventh win in what was just her tenth career start by two lengths in 28.76 (.20 slow).


There was exciting finish to the third race over the 575yd trip with Jerry Murphy’s Russmur Shane finishing best of all to take over on the run in to stop the clock in 32.06 (.20 slow).

Craiobhin Skip flew into the turn to set a strong pace but his fate was effectively sealed when Russmur Pat moved second between the last two bends.

Staying tight to the fence, the Stephen Dunne trained son of Ballymac Best and Cabra Ash stayed tight to the fence to save ground before powering home for a length and a half victory over the long-time leader.


Cornamaddyfusion came in as a reserve in the A2 second race and you would be forgiven for believing he only joined the race at the third turn, such was the manner in which he covered the final hundred yards to run out a good winner.

Oaksview Grace set the pace for much of the way only to be challenged by Drombeg Jake at the final turn but neither could match Cornamaddyfusion. Trained by Brendan Cullen for the Lord of the Rings Syndicate, the son of Droopys Cain and Colarhouse Vicky flew home to win by an ever-widening three lengths from Oakview Grace in 29.09 (.20 slow).


Kilcolgan Spraoi doubled her tally in the A3 opener, leading early before coming home well to better Crackon Mammy.

The latter moved to the front down the back straight but Kilcolgan Spraoi was too strong, coming through on the run in to score for the Rosedale School Syndicate and trainer Neilus O’Connell. At the line the daughter of Pat C Sabbath and Razldazl Valerie had a length in hand in 29.38 (.20 slow).