The Ballymac Anton McCalmont Cup is going to offer much in the way of competitive racing if Friday’s opening round is any indication.
All six heats were won in fine style but there was no runaway winner while many of the times were very similar.
BUCKS SETS THE TONE
Churchtown Bucks Droopy Jet/ Churchtown Mimee) set the tone in the opening heat, coming home strongly to score for Denis Fitzgerald and Michael Crotty.
Wizard did the pace-setting duties, opening a clear advantage down the far side but Churchtown Bucks was always too close for comfort in second and he duly came through in the closing stages to win by three parts of a length in 29.16. Coolanga Lady was four and a half lengths further back in third.
REGRETS GOES FASTEST
Fastest heat winner was Sober Regrets.
Trained by David Flanagan for Sean Malone, the daughter of Droopy Sydney and Lamestep didn’t fly from boxes in the second heat but she certainly flew into the turn to take over from the fast-starting Knockdrinna Celt as they entered the back straight.
The latter was never too far away and did close the gap on the run in but Sober Regret was always holding her rival as she hit the line with three parts of a length to spare in 29.14. Rowlers Road was another five and a half length away in third.
A MACHO DISPLAY
Macho Pride (Good News/ Sylvias Hope) did what was needed in Heat 3.
A Gold Cup finalist in his previous outing, he appreciated the drop in grade to lead from the earl stages for a comfortable two and a half lengths victory. Trained by Kieran Lynch for the Under The Stars Syndicate, he forced his way to the front in the early yards and proceeded to see off Broke With Hope in 29.20.
PREMIER DISPLAY FROM GUNBOAT
Sean Kenny’s Gunboat Premier (Droopys Jet/ Dynamic Trend) was just one spot slower in the following heat.
Only third into the bend, he stayed tight to the fence to move second before striking the front early in the back straight. Ballycowen Luka did finish fast but Gunboat Premier went on to score by a length and a half in 29.21. Jaytee Wexford was another two and a half lengths away in third.
BRAVE AMY LEADS LATE
John Mackey’s Foyle Amy had to work hard for victory in the penultimate heat.
In a precarious position on the turn, on the wide outside of a line of dogs, the daughter of Droopys Buick and Foyle Lucy displayed fine track craft to go third as they entered the back straight.
Warrenstown Boy and Flaminmoneybags were out front at this point but both seemed to run out of steam. In contrast, Foyle Amy motored up the home straight to lead in the closing stages to hold fellow big finisher Blastoff Harry by a length in 29.27. There was a neck to Warrenstown Boy in third.
SAM RUNS WILD
Mustang Sam won the final heat for Sean Bourke.
Although not the fastest into stride, the son of Droopys Jet and Mustang Kay Cee took his opportunity when it arose into the bend. Staying tight to the fence, he slipped past his rivals at this point and proceeded to make all thereafter.
Boylesports Dash gave chase throughout but Mustang Sam kept going to the line to score by a length in 29.57 with Karlow Jet two lengths further adrift.