The opening round heats of the €4,000 to the winner Galway Stadium A3/A4 525 were the main attraction to the Connacht venue last night and after a top-class curtain raiser, it was Headford Honey who set the standard with a terrific performance for Seamus Leahy.
With such brilliant prize-money down for decision for a graded competition, the six opening round heats provided plenty of fine performances and if last night’s clocks are anything to go by, we are in for a thrilling few week’s at Galway Stadium.
The fastest performer on the night was the Seamus Leahy-owned Headford Honey as she returned to her very best form to head into next week’s second round a leading player for outright glory. Heading to traps the 4/6 favourite, Headford Honey had previously clocked some brilliant sprints around Galway and she was on her game at traprise as she flew from trap two. Taking a healthy lead into the opener, the daughter of Tyrur Big Mike and Headford Fantasy extended her lead down the back straight before staying on stoutly to score by five and a half lengths. Drombeg Khalesi next best in second, the time was a swift 28.78 .20s.
UNBEATEN GERRY NEXT BEST
Next best in terms of the clock came in heat two as Jaguar Gerry extended his unbeaten start to four wins.
Owned by J.Rankin and trained by Matthew Harte, Jaguar Gerry was coming into the stake fresh off a hat-trick of sprint wins at Galway and he was installed the 5/4 favourite to land the spoils. Quickly into stride wearing the blue jacket, the son of Bull Run Bolt and Coolavanny Roxy showed an excellent turn of early pace and he soon opened a three length lead entering the back straight. From here, Jaguar Gerry stayed on well to cross the line with three and a three quarter lengths in hand of nearest rival, Drombeg Ten, in second. The time was 28.97 .20s.
ROUNDING UP THE HEATS
In the opening heat of the night, Menmal Prince (Paddys Magic - Cottage Brandy) got the competition off to a solid start with a narrow win for Michael Casey and Michael Fahy. Chasing a third career win, Menmal Prince broke well from four and entered the opening corner in a three-way tie for the lead with Kentucky and Beautyquickstep. Shipping a bump at this point, this didn’t deter Menmal Prince as he stormed past Kentucky midway down the back straight and although challenged by Beautyquickstep, who made up terrific ground late on, Menmal Prince held on to claim a neck victory over his rival. The time for the 7/4 shot was 29.67 .20s.
In heat four, Pats Best Girl claimed a comfortable success for Patrick O’Loughlin. Hoping to double her career tally, Pats Best Girl was headed early on by both Willbex Mayfly and Cree Sydney, however, she maintained her rails pitch to gallop into the back straight with control. Briefly headed at this point by the impressive Cree Sydney approaching the penultimate turn, Pats Best Girl saved every yard of sand on the run for home as the daughter of Azza Azza Azza and Maldini's Flyer stayed on stoutly to seal a four and a half length victory over Cree Sydney in second. The time for the 5/2 shot was 29.27 .20s.
Ballygarry Ruby ran out a comprehensive winner of heat five for Enda Corcoran as she brought her career tally to three wins. A 7/2 shot at the off, the daughter of Superior Panama and Creevy Charm was fast away wearing the red jacket but was forced to nestle in behind Whitelaced Boots early on. However, the latter checked at this point which allowed Ballygarry Ruby to take control entering the back straight and she set a decent gallop before staying on strongly up the hill. Four and three quarter lengths better off than Abbylea Sean crossing the line, the time was 29.26 .20s.
The remaining heat was landed by Luner Lestrange who claimed a first career win at the third time of asking. Jointly owned by Declan and Keeva Lynam, Luner Lestrange was slowly into stride from trap four and was forced to settle for fourth place early on as Domain Joe set the standard. However, never too far off the pace was Luner Lestrange and he darted up the inside at the penultimate bend to emerge a potent threat. Drifting wide on the run for home, this didn’t prevent the son of Zero Ten and Skywalker Gail from staying on best of all to claim a three parts of a length victory. The time for the 3/1 shot was 29.61 .20s.
NO SHOCKS IN BUMBLEBEE DECIDER
Elsewhere on the card, the final of the Bumblebee Kyne ON3 525 was down for decision and there were to be no shock results as Maree Magical ran out a convincing winner.
Kindly sponsored by Paddy Burke, the ‘Maree’ greyhounds had lit up this stake in the earlier rounds and after Maree Chaser was a confirmed non-runner, this left the door wide open for litter brother, Maree Magical, to extend his unbeaten record to three wins. Owned by Ronan Hanniffy, the son of Magical Bale and Confident Petal went to traps a 1/2 chance but followers would have been given a scare early on as he didn’t come away as fluently as expected from trap one. In contrast, Bumblebee Seamus held all the aces early on from trap two and as the greyhounds entered the opening bend, there looked to be a potential shock on the cards. However, the latter checked at this point which allowed Maree Magical to shoot up the inside and in truth, it was all over bar the shouting as a result. Setting a fine gallop thereafter, Maree Magical stayed on strongly up the hill to claim a four and three quarter length victory over Sues Legacy in second and take home the €900 first prize. The time was 29.24 .20s.