There was brilliance and drama in equal measures at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as the two semi-finals of the Bresbet Easter Cup were won in fine style by Susie Sapphire and Knight Tornado, although one had to work considerably harder than the other.
Outside of the winners, there was desperately a tight finish for the remaining qualifying places in both contests with Scarty Yank and Barefoot Supremo losing out by the shortest of short heads.
SPARKLING SUSIE REACHES ANOTHER MAJOR DECIDER
Susie Sapphire was understandably a hot favourite for the opening heat and, while she didn’t go as fast as seven days earlier, she emerged a brilliant winner by a wide margin.
Making a slick exit from trap four, the Owen McKenna trained superstar soon got across her rivals to hold a clear advantage from the outset.
Fast Fit Paddy sat in second in the early yards but he was challenged and headed by One Time Only as they entered the back straight. Meanwhile, Susie Sapphire was five lengths clear of her rivals passing halfway and she maintained her lead to the third turn.
One Time Only remained in second to the third bend with Fast Fit Paddy on the rails in third but Scarty Yank was now starting to make progress, while Beach Avenue and Darbys Delight were readying themselves for a big finish.
It scarcely mattered to Susie Sapphire backers what was going on behind as she was on her way to another bloodless victory. After burning off her rivals in the opening exchanges, Peter Comerford’s incredible daughter of Droopy Jet and Jetstream Lynx emerged a stunning winner by three lengths in 29.57, again setting the standard.
The race for second and third spot was far more competitive. Turning or home, One Time Only was attempting to cling on but Scarty Yank was now on his shoulder and advancing. So too was Beach Avenue on the wide outside, while Darbys Delight again chose to make his move between rivals on the inside of the track. Fast Fit Paddy was also bang there in contention.
One Time Only tired inside the final fifty yards to finish last but the remaining four greyhounds flashed past the post together. The judge was called into action to decide who would be following Susie Sapphire into the decider and, after some deliberation, Beach Avenue was called the runner-up with Darbys Delight just a head back in third.
Agonisingly, for the connections of Scarty Yank, he lost out by the narrowest of margins, while fast Fit Paddy was a further short head back in fifth.
TORANDO WINS THE BATTLE
There was a far more competitive battle for first place in the second semi final with kennel companions Knight Tornado and Romeo Magico, again calling the judge into action as they crossed the line side by side.
While there was never much in it up front, this contest was effectively decided in the opening yards with Romeo Magico left a little flat footed at boxes. In contrast, Knight Tornado came away racing and held the lead into the turn.
Priceless Jet also went up well in second but Romeo Magico shot up the inside of the track to move second on the corner. The race was now on. Knight Tornado, who is owned by Larry Dunne, entered the back straight with a length and a half in hand on Romeo Magico with Priceless Jet poised, just a length back in third.
It seemed certain that the trio would coast into the decider but Barefoot Supremo had other ideas, showing massive pace down the back straight to get into a challenging position in fourth by the third turn.
The race for first was all about the two Graham Holland trained runners, however. Knight Tornado continued to lead passing halfway but his advantage was now just a length and Romeo Magico continued to advance.
Flying up the fence, Romo Magico seemed to be getting the better of the argument into the third turn, virtually joining his kennel companion. Priceless Jet was a very close third, right on third heels, while there was a near four length gap to Barefoot Supremo.
It seemed certain that Romeo Magico would shoot through the gap on the fence but Knight Tornado had other ideas. Edging in on Romeo Magico, the strapping son of Droopy Cain and Royal Highflyer drove his way back to the front, forcing his challenger to check ever so slightly.
The maneouvre left Knight Tornado a length to the good as they swung for home. Romeo Magico was now left with a choice; challenge on the outside of the leader or switch back to the inside. He attempted the first option but then quickly switched sides.
It was enough of a momentum killer to allow knight Tornado hold on. Despite the best efforts of Romeo Magico, Knight Tornado held on by a rapidly diminishing head in 29.70. Incredibly, just behind the front two, the two Paul Hennessy runners were having their own personal battle for third spot just a length further back.
Priceless Jet had to show his strength to hold off the incredible finishing kick of his younger kennelmate Barefoot Supremo. The pair were separated by the minimum margin with Priceless Jet advancing.
SUSIE FANCIED AFTER BRESBET EASTER CUP DRAW
After wining the Puppy Oaks, the Sporting Press Irish Oaks and Boylesports Derby from trap one, Susie Sapphire will be a red-hot favourite to add the Bresbet Easter Cup to her incredible tally when she again will line up in the red jacket.
You don’t need to be an expert race-reader to see that the sensational daughter of Droopys Jet is the one to beat but it is a race packed with incredible quality, different styles of racing and proven performers.
Both Graham Holland and Paul Hennessy will be double handed as they seek another Easter Cup title, while Neilus O’Connell will also be dreaming of big races success. Graham Holland will hope that either Romeo Magico or Knight Tornado can provide him with a fourth Easter Cup success.
Knight Tornado is housed in the blue of trap two, while Romeo Magico will line-up in trap three.
Paul Hennessy has tasted Easter Cup glory on seven separate occasions and he will see his duo, Priceless Jet and Beach Avenue, line up in traps five and six. The Neilus O’Connell trained Darbys Delight is drawn in four.
BRESBET EASTER CUP
1 SUSIE SAPPHIRE
2 KNIGHT TORNADO
3 ROMEO MAGICO
4 DARBYS DELIGHT
5 PRICELESS JET (W)
6 BEACH AVENUE (W)
A FITTING FINALE GOES TO BEST
A wonderful night of racing deserved a fitting finale and it came in the form of a brilliant success for Allforthebest, who was pressured throughout by the eye-catching Generous Angel.
Allforthebest is already established as one of the most powerful greyhounds in training so when the son of Vulturi and Aguasantas struck the front before the corner, he always seemed certain to emerge a comfortable winner.
Generous Angel had other ideas, however. After a fast start, she managed to turn a close second and really kept the leader honest. The pair had a wonderful buckle throughout with Allforthebest always keeping his rival at arms-length but Generous Angel emerged from the contest with great credit.
Staying on strongly, the HDJ Syndicate owned Allforthebest went on to cross the line a length and a half to the good in a sizzling 30.92. Generous Angel was a wonderful runner-up.
SUPREMO DRIVES TO THE FRONT ON THE BEND
For the second time in a row, Ela Supremo, owned by Alex Antoniou and Peter Bennet, emerged a tremendous winner of an open sprint despite missing the kick somewhat.
Only third into the bend after showing great pace to recover, he seemed destined to have to play a supporting role but the complexion of the race changed at the bend.
With Glenquain Pat and Corbrack Prince battling for the inside line, Ela Supremo saw his opportunity and shot into the turn and drove around the outside of the front pair. In a matter of strides he had gone from third to three lengths clear.
The Peter Cronin trained son of Ballymac best and Mashmad Eyebrows duly remained clear once going to the front and went on to hit the line three lengths ahead of Glenquain Pat in a fast 18.57.
CAPE COMPLETES PETER’S BRACE
Peter Cronin later completed a superb double with Cape Cloud making the most of an ideal draw on the fence in the penultimate race.
In a contest packed with early dash, Cape Cloud proved sharpest, shooting up the rail to take over from the fast-starting Urban Fire on the bend before building a decisive lead.
It was effectively a procession thereafter with Cape Cloud never under any pressure. Owned by the Leamybrien Syndicate, the son of Pat C Sabbath and Bua Bui coasted home four lengths clear in 28.58. There was also an encouraging run from Athlacca Zette in second. He powered down the back straight to move second on the third turn and looks likely to be winning again soon.
HOMER SCORES FOR BIRTHDAY BOY LARRY
Newinn Homer and Lynchy Boy provided a wonderful spectacle in the eighth race on the card with the former just holding on for a superb trap to line victory.
Trained by Graham Holland, the son of Droopys Buick and Snoozing Head displayed superb early speed to open a near three length lead on Lynchy Boy into the bend.
Thereafter, it as always going to be tight at the finish with Lynchy Boy likely to close the gap from the third turn. That’s exactly how it played out but, for birthday boy Larry O’Shea and the Pillar Syndicate, the line came in time. Newinn Homer seemed to sense the advancing Lynchy Boy and stuck his neck out to contain his rival by s short head in 28.66.
TURBO POWERED HEADLEYS
Headleys Turbo returned to his best form to win the A1 third race for Nicole McLoughlin.
The son of Droopys Sydney and Madam On Theway flashed from trap five to just lead Razldazl Monarch around the bend and he continued to repel his pursuers challenge.
Razldazl Monarch remained a threat around the last two bends but Headleys Turbo stuck on gamely to cross the line a length and a half to the good in a quick 28.69. Jirano Supreme ran on strongly to join and head Razldazl Monarch on the line for second.
SOLDIER BATTLES ON
There was a desperately tight finish to the seventh race but, after racing prominently throughout, the White Eagle Syndicate owned Droopys Soldier finally bettered Rural Star in the closing yards before holding the late challenge of Spinosaurus.
The pair turned first and second but Rural Star got the better of the argument into the third turn. Droopys Soldier remained too close, however, and as Rural Star ran out of steam on the run in, the Robert Gleeson trained Droopys Soldier made a decisive move. Going to the front inside the final twenty five yards, the son of Out Of Rang and Droopy Blossom held Spinosaurus by a neck in 28.67 with Rural Star just a head back in third.
CLEO TOO STRONG
Catunda Cleo made it three wins from her last four starts in the fifth race over the 550yds as she again powered home to lad in the final stages.
Michael Byrne’s thoroughly likeable daughter of Cabra Firmino and Cabra Angel was prominent into the turn but Me Paisley Park took charge at this point as Cloe steered a wide path.
The order didn’t change to the third turn but Catunda Cloe was clearly too close for comfort as far as Me Paisley Park backers were concerned. Winding up her challenge from the third turn, the June ’20 whelp swung wide of the final turn before powering up the straight to see off the staying on Faypoint Star by a length and a half in 30.20.
SANTY DELIVERS EARLY
Kilkenny Santy looked made for the 575yd trip in the A1 sixth race when moving to the front down the back straight before staying on strongly to score in 31.27.
Bling Bling Paul set the pace early and continued to lead into the back straight but Kilkenny Santy moved to the fence from a trap three draw to challenge in second.
Showing plenty of pace, the son of Kilkenny Desmond and Lemon Isabella took charge before the third turn and continued to dictate for the remainder. Bling Bling Paul rallied on the run in but Kilkenny Santy ensured that Brian Hickey and Declan Byrne tasted success by staying on well to score by a length.
SYD FINDS A WAY
Tom Lynch’s Syd Tashadelek was both lucky and unlucky as he landed the opener.
The Neilus O’Connell trained tracker was third into the bend but found traffic on the bend to find himself well behind the leader Seaview Boss and the chasing Aero Dylan.
A bad third passing halfway, he flew into the turn to close on the front two but still had plenty of work to do. The complexion of the race changed on the run in, however. As Syd Tashadelek closed on the heels of the leaders, the front two clashed, leaving him in font. The son of Droopys Sydney and Nina Tashadelek went on to score by two lengths from Seaview Boss in 28.75.
BATTAASH SHOWS HIS BATTLING QUALITIES
Battaash was a gallant winner of the second race for James and John Nevin.
Normally a front runner, he found himself turning second to the fast starting Me Hope but displayed fine pace and determination into the third turn to take over.
From there the son of Azza Azza Azza and Nametab Twista dug deep to repel the late charge of Slippery Pete for a three parts of a length success in 28.87.