Clonmel hosted their Matinee benefit meeting yesterday afternoon and with no fewer than five finals down for decision, it's fair to say that it proved quite a success.
A large crowd descended into Clonmel on Sunday afternoon and the quality action on the track contributed to a great day all round. The first final down for decision was the Punters Restaurant 575 and this came in the opening race on the card, going the way of the 5/2 second favourite, Tory Bellatrix. Trained by Declan Byrne for Paul Reid and Paul Horig, the July 21’ bitch came from off the pace to land her semi final and she deployed similar tactics this time around as she took over at the penultimate turn before drawing clear to win by three lengths from longtime leader Knight Cross in second. The time was 31.50 for the 575-yard trip.
Next up was the Matinee Meeting A4 550 and John Graham Campbell sent out Bionic Buck to build on his impressive semi final victory. The 2/1 joint favourite at the off alongside Roseville Sonic, Bionic Buck was led early on by Black Smuggler in trap three. However, the son of Laughil Blake and Fourpenny Pearl wasn’t to be deterred as he rallied in the closing stages to take control at the penultimate. From here, Bionic Buck duly made it back-to-back wins as he crossed the line with one and a half lengths to spare. The time was 30.21.
The third final on the card was Support The Split The Pot A3 525 and this went the way of Autumn Alice as she downed the 4/5 favourite, Mustang Flight. Indeed, the favourite was quickest into stride from trap one and he looked set to make it back-to-back wins after recording an impressive victory in the semi finals of the stake. However, Autumn Alice was lurking in behind and although the daughter of Skywalker Farloe and Dee Dee You had some seven lengths to bridge, she did so rapidly in the closing yards. Jointly owned by Paul Allen and Killian Power, Autumn Alice delivered a late flurry to reel in the longtime leader, by a neck, crossing the line. A fine performance, the time was 28.92.
The Support The Benefit Night Sprint was up next in race six and there was to be another upset on the cards as 4/1 chance, Coolanorans Best, came out on top for Sean Conway and Brian Nolan. Running from trap six, the heavyweight tracker was quickly into stride from trap six and he took control on the run to the opening bend. From here, the son of Ballymac Best and Willowdale Diva pressed home his advantage to cross the line four lengths clear of Kaarst Ratar in second. The time for the 325-yard trip was 17.45.
The last of the finals down for decision came in the penultimate race on the card as Minella Rachel scored in the Mothers Day At Clonmel A2 525. Sent to traps as a 4/1 chance, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Tivoli Rose made her intentions clear from the outset as Sean Bowen’s charge broke nicely from four to lead. From here, the Jack Kennedy-trained bitch kept Daring Bowie at bay to come home one and a half lengths clear in 29.00.