Peter Farrell

It was an action packed night at Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Saturday as the opening round heats of the John Whelan Memorial got underway, as well as the two semi finals of the 2023 Treaty Sprint Cup.

In total, there were six opening round heats of the €4,500 to the winner John Whelan Memorial and it was Droopys Nemesis who set an almighty bar in the concluding heat of the night. Trained by Robert Gleeson for Michael and Tony Roche arrived in Limerick with an eye-catching sprint clock around Dundalk and she franked that form in spectacular fashion from trap four. Breaking smartly, the daughter of King Sheeran and Droopys Pickles was led early on by Patterdale Gigi but quickly took charge on the run to the opener. From here, it was a blistering display from Droopys Nemesis as she set a magnificent gallop to come home two lengths clear of Glengar Jasmine, who also caught the eye, in second. The time was a serious 28.55.


Prior to the performance of Droopys Nemesis, Ballinabola Una produced a brilliant display to justify her 11/8 price tag. Trained by Pat Buckley for Grainne Murphy and Aoibheann O’Leary, the beautifully bred daughter of Burgess Bucks and Dolls Lady was expected to take plenty of beating and despite occupying second place for the majority of the contest, the result was never in doubt. Taking charge on the run for home, Ballinabola Una stormed to the front and drew clear of the longtime leader, Rattlefence, to win by two lengths. The time was 28.63.

In heat one, Young Tiernan sprung an 8/1 shock as he came home best of all to come out the right side of a photo finish. Running from trap four, Michael Walsh’s runner was slowly into stride and could only manage fifth rounding the opener. However, making good headway down the back straight, the son of Pat C Sabbath and Boreen Belle arrived with a wet sail to chin Drombeg Apollo by a neck crossing the line. The time was 29.10.

5/2 chance Wild Plutocracy was another to arrive late and land heat two. Trained by Michael Daly for Eugene O’Brien, the son of Out Of Range didn’t break at all well from five and turned the opener with plenty on his plate. However, despite Ballybrack Skye taking control down the back, he drifted off the final turn and this was to benefit Wild Plutocracy as he flew up the inside to score by one length. The time was 29.22.

Heat three saw another tight finish as Innfield Place held on to deny Eireanns Hope. A 5/1 chance at the off, the daughter of Magical Bale and Going Places was only moderately away from four and sat third early on. Showing good pace down the far side, Innfield Place, jointly owned by Evan McCauliffe and Barry Dermot Murphy, took control at the penultimate and was to stay on stoutly to hold off the strong finish of Eireanns Hope. Just a neck between the pair, the time was 28.89.

Paraic Campion got in on the act in heat four as Freedom Reader made a winning return to Limerick for the VHR-syndicate. Another very close affair, the son of Magical Bale and Mustang Evita showed fine speed to recover from a tardy start out wide. Taking control at the second, Freedom Reader showed fine determination to hold off a powerful finish from Four Bullets. A short-head victor, the time was 28.93.


Always a fantastic competition, the two semi finals of the 2023 Treaty Cup also featured on last night’s card and it was Zippy Canning who set the standard in incredible style.

Owned by Paula Hoban, Zippy Canning had been performing brilliantly in Dundalk in recent starts and as a result, looked a major player heading into the Treaty Sprint. A 5/4 shot at the off, this wasn’t really a contest as the striking brindle bolted from traps to storm into a clear advantage early doors. Tracking expertly around the opening corner, the son of Ballymac Best and Cherry Lane was phenomenal as he powered clear of his rivals to secure a six length victory over Ballymun Boy in second. The time was a rapid 18.40, just half a length outside the track record.


In the second semi final, Flashing Willow was installed as the 4/7 favourite but had to work hard to see off Cree Jo Jo.

Trained by Pat Buckley for Kenny Glen, Flashing Willow would have been expected to make a winning return to Irish soil after landing the Silver Salver across the pond last time out. Running from trap four, the son of Laughil Blake emerged from the pack after a level break and he took a narrow advantage around the opener from Cree Jo Jo in second. A closely run affair thereafter, the latter made a real fist of it in the closing yards, however, Flashing Willow had just enough in hand to score by one length. The time was a rapid 18.51.


The final of the Go Greyhound Racing A4 575, worth €1,100 to the winner, was also down for decision on the card and this went the way of Airfield Thunder.

Trained by Michael O’Meara for Jessica Walsh, the July pup came into the event after landing his semi final in short-head fashion. Sent to traps as a 3/1 shot for glory, Airfield Thunder implemented similar tactics this time around as he broke well from trap two to show the superior early gears and lead around the opener. Holding a two length lead down the back, Hurry Kane emerged as his main rival down the back straight and this was to make for a thrilling finish. Airfield Thunder continued to set a fine pace around the bottom two bends and the son of Out Of Range and Airfield Biddy wasn’t to be denied despite the fast-finishing exploits of Hurry Kane on the outside. Holding on stoutly, Airfield Thunder saw off his rival by a half length crossing the line. The time was 31.66.