The opening round heats of the Epic Hero Limerick Oaks took place last night at Limerick Greyhound Stadium and there were a number of shock results as Annagh Lucy set the early standard
Running for the in-form Rachel Wheeler, who had recorded a double at Clonmel the day prior, Annagh Lucy was available at huge odds of 6/1 at the off but she quickly took charge of heat one to run out a very convincing winner. Owned by Dan Stackpoole, Annagh Lucy’s last victory came at Limerick back in February and she once again showed her fondness for the circuit as she broke best of all from a plumb draw in trap one. Quickly developing a four length lead rounding the opening two corners, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Moanteen Beauty set a brilliant gallop heading down the back straight and although 11/10 favourite Clogheen Lass gave chase, she made little inroads into the leader as Annagh Lucy stopped the third bend sectional clock at a brisk 16.04. Extending her lead in the closing stages, it was all one-way traffic up front as Annagh Lucy crossed the line with five lengths to spare over Clogheen Lass in second. The time was an exceptional 28.24 as Borna Aoife took third.
PSYCHO LEAVES IT LATE
All eyes were on Droopys Nice One in heat two for Murt Leahy but after running into traffic early on, it was Kilbannon Psycho who landed the spoils as she arrived late on the scene.
Jointly owned by Owen and John McDonagh, Kilbannon Psycho was a brilliant winner of her last race in Galway as she posted 28.46 on the clock but she still came into heat two as a 10/1 outsider for glory. From a reasonably level break, it was Ballinabola Ruby and Moonlight Macy who showed first on the outside and it was the former who took control rounding the opener to move into a three length lead. Meanwhile, space was at a premium on the inside and although Kilbannon Psycho squeezed through on the rail, Droopys Nice One ran out of room and subsequently hit the deck. Holding a three length lead in front, Ballinabola Ruby continued to dictate but lurking menacingly in behind was Kilbannon Psycho, who was beginning motor midway down the back to move into a clear second. The daughter of Droopys Jet and Droopys Breeze upped the ante once more in the closing stages and although Ballinabola Ruby battled hard, Kilbannon Psycho was to chin the longtime leader by a neck crossing the line. The time was 28.64, with Moonlight Macy a further six lengths back in third.
ANNIE FINISHES FAST
The third heat of the night saw Cnoc Abbie (Droopys Sydney - Boherna Abbie) finish at speed to deny the 5/4 favourite Burgess Josie in what proved a very exciting affair.
A 7/4 chance at the off, Cnoc Abbie broke well wearing the striped jacket but it was Burgess Cassie who emerged from the pack in trap three to take a slender lead into the opening bend from Burgess Josie in second. The latter, however, had the advantage of the inside line and the favourite went head-to-head with Burgess Cassie heading into the back straight. Cnoc Abbie, meanwhile, was just two lengths back in third and it was a break back to the remaining runners who were all chasing qualification at this stage of the contest. Nip and tuck up front between the Burgess runners, Cnoc Abbie was going about her business in fine style in behind and swinging into the home straight, Michael O’Meara’s bitch coursed around runners to storm past the line in tandem with both Burgess Cassie and Burgess Josie. A three-way photo resulted in a neck victory for Cnoc Abbie and the time was 28.66.
PIPPA MAKES ALL
In the last of the four heats on offer, Burgess Pippa made every post a winner as she came through at odds of 4/1.
Jointly owned by JJ Fennelly and Sheila Spillane, Burgess Pippa has some super clocks to her name and in truth, once leading, it was alway going to take a special effort to reel her in. Quickest into stride wearing the white jacket, Burgess Pippa showed instant acceleration to take a healthy advantage into the opening turn. Followed in second by the favourite, Farranrory Megan, the latter was making a good fist of it in behind as she bridged the gap somewhat heading into the penultimate turn. However, Burgess Pippa wasn’t to be denied on this occasion and the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Burgess Madam stayed on stoutly in the closing stages to cross the line with three lengths in hand over Farranrory Megan in second. The time was 28.53 with Global Prima a further five and a half lengths back in third.