Peter Farrell

We’re down to the last eighteen in the Thatch Bar & Restaurant National Produce Stakes at Clonmel Greyhound Stadium and with only two set to qualify from three semi finals, there is no room for error ahead of the €20,000 Classic in seven days’ time. 

Incredibly, ten of the eighteen remaining runners have all landed at least one heat in this year’s renewal, however, the likes of Belindas Finn, Sober Glory and Optic Chico have impressed most. That said, Clonbrien Treaty, although yet to produce his very best, remains a potent threat, while the likes of Hukum and Borna Mick also warrant huge respect based on what they have shown thus far.


Sober Glory posted the fastest quarter final clock as Karol Ramsbottom’s charge romped to a seven length victory over Kilaheen Lady last time out. The son of Droopys Sydney came into the Classic fresh off reaching the final of the Champion 550 at HQ but he has really taken to the Clonmel circuit, posting 28.30 .10s in the opener before stopping the clock in 28.34 .10s last Sunday night. Drawn in trap four tonight, he will come against another unbeaten runner in Droopys Ailsa, while Chasing Trooper is another who caught the eye last time out, however, Sober Glory looks a class above his rivals and should prevail for owner Sean Malone. The aforementioned Chasing Trooper gets the vote to follow him home and seal his place in the decider. Trained by Graham Holland for Sean O’Halloran, this improving September whelp is still learning his trade but displayed mighty early pace last time out and can give Sober Glory plenty to think about if leading from trap two.


One of the standout greyhounds in this year’s Produce Stakes has been Optic Chico and the Robert Gleeson-trained star can seal a hat-trick of wins in the second semi final. Now firmly established as one of the leading trackers in the Country, despite only having six starts under his belt, the son of Droopys Sydney will not have any issues negotiating his trap six berth and should turn close enough to deliver another power-packed finish. Boasting stunning pace from the penultimate bend home, Optic Chico gets the vote to lead home another powerhouse in Borna Mick. Owned by the Borna Syndicate, the son of Ballymac Bolger got back to winning ways last time out as he stopped the clock in 28.65 .10s from off-the-pace. Drawn in trap three, Borna Mick has a bit of everything, an abundance of staying power but with the ability to lead, and he looks certain to be thereabouts at the business end of proceedings. Of the others, Mendelson has been steadily and is well-housed in trap one, while Ower Mystery has big speed but one feels it must lead to play a part.


The opening semi final is arguably the toughest of the trio but Clonbrien Treaty has more than enough credit in the bank to retain primary support. The 2023 Kirby champ, although finishing third last weekend, was very unlucky in running and actually ran a fine race to secure qualification in tonight’s semi finals. As a result, he is showing big signs of a return to top form and with a clear run, he is obviously capable of clocking a sub 28.10 run. Drawn in six, a level break can see him lead and if doing so, he will be very difficult to peg back. Belindas Finn is the likely favourite. The Michael O’Donovan-trained charge posted an incredible 28.22 .10s in the opening round and ran a fine race in behind Commons Rebel after missing the break last time out. He is certain to go faster than his poor 3.04 last weekend and drawn in four, he looks likely to dispute. The other eye-catcher in this semi is the hugely fast Hukum. The Adam Dunford-trained powerhouse has scintillating pace but he tends to let himself down at traprise. The son of Good News has an incredible engine from the midway point and should he turn handy, which is a strong possibility given his draw in trap one, he will be finishing best of all. As a result, Hukum gets the vote to follow Clonbrien Treaty home. All in all, the three semi finals are stacked with some of the most talented youngsters in the land and best of luck to the connections of all eighteen ahead of what promises to be a thrilling night of top-class action.


Sweepstake action dominates the supporting card at Clonmel tonight and the semi finals of the Modified Ltd. A1/A2 550 will get the card underway, kindly sponsored by Derek Cagney.

In the opening semi, Riverside Lisa looks the one to beat following her return to action last time out. Graham Holland’s bitch has some fine form over course and distance and she would have benefited greatly from her recent comeback race. In the second semi, Subtle Jack gets the nod for David Adaway. A lightly raced sort, the son of Droopys Sydney has clear ability and he should take plenty of stopping from a level break.


Kindly sponsored by Willie Rigney, the TIME Graders A4 Derby is next up in race three and this decider carries a handsome prize of €1,000 to the winner.

The fastest of the semi finalists was the Paraic Campion-trained Robs Hero and he is the selection. Owned by Osmond Bennett, the son of Boyhero is still learning his trade but produced a polished display last time out and looks to have enough in hand over his rivals. Of those rivals, Fairys Return can run a big race for David Flanagan in six, while both Giddyup Biker, who is chasing a hat-trick, and Kilcash Magic shouldn’t be dismissed.


Race five will see the opening semi on the Explosive Boy @ Stud A1/A2 525 get underway and this stake is sponsored by Peter Sutcliffe.

Unreal Bruiser was eliminated from the opening round of the Produce Stakes but should take a bit of beating for Pat & Justin Muldoon. He had previously posted a scorching 28.90 .30s around Kilkenny and any reproduction of that clock will be more than enough to see off his rivals.

The very impressive Minor Dorotas posted a slick 28.87 .10s on her last outing at Clonmel and the January 22’ whelp gets the vote to make it back-to-back wins in the second semi. Running from five, Mary O’Connor’s bitch is open to no end of improvement and she can overcome a tricky enough draw in five. Slaneyside Ryan looks a big threat however, based on some strong form around Youghal.


Concluding tonight’s card will be the semi finals of the Kieran Purcell Snr. Memorial A3 550 and Yankee Daze is the likely jolly in the opening semi.

A winner last time out in a useful 30.33 .10s, the son of Jaytee Yankee finished at speed on that occasion and looks well housed in trap one to close very close once again. The main danger to David Hickey’s charge looks to be kennel companion, Blaketon. After a fast 4.25 sectional last time out, he is the likely leader in six and will prove difficult to peg back if pinging out in front.

Although tasting defeat last time out, Golden Palace gets the vote in the second semi for Michael Doyle and Graham Holland. Set to run from trap one, the son of Pestana looks to be on the cusp of a big effort and tonight could be the night for an eye-catching victory. Of his rivals, Corporate Attack will be finishing fast and Sean Mulcahy’s charge can have a say if turning handy.