The semi-finals of the Denis Linehan Solicitors unraced stake took centre stage at Curraheen Park on Saturday night and both winners delivered stunning performances.
Ballymac Joey (Ballymac Bolger-Ballymac Arminta) made it two wins from as many starts, but the exciting September puppy was forced to work hard for the victory.
Showing plenty of early zip along the inside, Ballymac Joey, the 5-4 market leader, slipped around in front but he was closely followed by Droopys Rocker. A length the difference at the second last corner, Droopys Rocker was finishing strongly, but the Ballymac winner had all the answers as he battled on gamely to land the spoils, by a head, in 28.29, with four and a half lengths back to Romeo Command in third place.
BOCKOS ON TOP LATE ON
Bockos Crystal (Droopys Sydney-Vigorous Hilary) had impressed in the opening heat as the Graham Holland trained runner pulled out all the stops in the closing stages to gain revenge on the runner-up Velasco.
In the ownership of Beverley Lochead, the August puppy looked in trouble early as Velasco showed wonderful early gears to lead around from trap six. Sent off the 5-4 favourite, Bockos Crystal had a couple of lengths to make up turning for home, but he never gave up and he was in front close to home. A length the difference, in 28.47, with Velasco four lengths in front of Mill Race who was back in third place.
A WONDERFUL FOUR TIMER FOR TRAINER KIERAN LYNCH
In the second of the night, an S3/S4 sprint, Parkgate Angel impressed with a wide margin success for trainer Kieran Lynch and owner Patrick O'Donovan.
The January puppy brought her form to a new level with a brilliant 17.59 winning performance, making it two wins from just three career outings.
Lynch made it two on the night with the consistent Macho Pride took the ninth, an AA0, easily in 28.32. In superb form in recent times, the 6-4 favourite took control early on and he went on to win in style for owners the Under-The-Stars-Syndicate.
Two races later, the night got even better for trainer Kieran Lynch as Bartlemy Jas put on an outstanding performance for owner Liam Mannix. The even money favourite had run well around Shelbourne Park last time out and he confirmed that form with a superb 28.35 winning run. In front early, he proved a class apart in the A1 contest.
The night ended with another Kieran Lynch winner, this time it was the turn of Berties Cuddles. Owned by Don and Michael Kelleher, the 6-4 joint favourite was winning for the 12th time. In a great early battle with Witches Ethiopia, he took the control before halfway and showing great determination, Berties Cuddles went on to score, by three and a half lengths, in 29.66. (550).
MAKE THAT NUMBER 17
In the fourth, an S0/S1, Fiftycashback showed his class to score in 17.68, for owner Denis Crowley. The 5-4 favourite is a classy tracker and has making it win number 17 of his fabulous career.