The final of the 2022 Epic Hero Limerick Oaks took centre stage at Limerick Greyhound Stadium last night and Burgess Josie, owned by Gilbert Anderson, went on to land the €3,000 first prize with a trap-to-line victory.
Once again, the Limerick Oaks has proved to be a top-class affair and heading into last night’s decider, connections of all six bitches would have been hopeful of a big run from their charges. However, sent to traps the 4/6 favourite, Burgess Josie was to build on her impressive semi final display as she made every yard of the running.
Trained by Pat Buckley, Burgess Josie broke smartly from the blue jacket but had to contend with Kilbannon Psycho, who showed narrowly in front in the opening yards from trap four. However, showing a lovely turn of early pace on the rail was Burgess Josie and she made full use of her inside pitch to nip around just ahead of the improving Burgess Pippa in second. Little to separate the leading pair at this point, Burgess Josie held a narrow one length lead entering the back straight and it was nip and tuck to the three quarter mark between the two front-runners. Meanwhile, Kilbannon Psycho, who had been swallowed up early on, was now making eye-catching ground in behind as she progressed into third rounding the bottom two turns. Burgess Josie was the one to catch however; and she maintained a strong all the way to the winning line as the daughter of Burgess Bucks and Burgess Helena held on gamely to deny the fast-finishing Kilbannon Psycho in second. A length and a half between the duo crossing the line, the time for Burgess Josie was a rapid 28.66 and Burgess Pippa landed third, just a neck further back. Another brilliant renewal of the Limerick Oaks and many thanks are extended to Gerard and Joan Hutton for their sponsorship of the event.
BUCKS MAKES IT A DOUBLE ON THE NIGHT
Elsewhere on the card, Pat Buckley had another winner in race six as Its My Bucks justified his even money pricetag to notch a first career win.
Owned by Philip Heffernan, Its My Bucks is also a product of the rapidly growing sire, Burgess Bucks and he put his rivals to the sword in excellent fashion on just his second career start. Running from trap one, the strapping 80-pounder didn’t come away too fluently but he displayed massive acceleration to blow his rivals away in the opening yards. Quickly developing a six length lead into the back, Its My Bucks was producing something special out in front to the third bend. However, tiring from this point on, Its My Bucks just kept a bay the strong challenge of Jocker Willy in the closing stages as he crossed the line with a length and a half in hand over his fast-finishing rival. The time was 28.80.
There was another kennel on double form last night at Limerick as Kathy Scanlon was responsible for sending out both Ballyelan Rolly and Ballyelan Bingo to victories.
The first of the ‘Ballyelan’ runners to pass the post in front was Ballyelan Bingo in race five as he made it six career wins for connections. Sent off a 5/2 chance, the son of Laughil Blake and Ballyelan Comet made his intentions clear early on with a smart break from trap five and he showed brilliant courage at the opening corner to nip around in front. A closely run affair was to follow thereafter between Ballyelan Bingo, Burgess Bucks and indeed Loxley; however, Ballyelan Bingo was nothing if not game as he pulled clear late on to win by a length and a half. The time was a good 28.93.
The double was completed by kennel star, Ballyelan Rolly, in race eleven as he landed a 550-yard event to bring up his eighth career win. A litter brother of ‘Bingo’ who got his head in front earlier, it was a similar story for ‘Rolly’ as he showed the superior early pace from trap one to fly up the inside and take a two length lead into the back straight. Chased in second by Corca Dhuibhne, the latter did make inroads approaching the penultimate, however, Ballyelan Rolly once again pulled out more late on to score. Two and a half lengths clear crossing the winning line, the time was a swift 30.00.
There was an exceptional performance in race four earlier in the night as John Meehan’s Bling Bling Paul stormed to victory in what was an A2 550-yard event.
A greyhound who has mixed it with some of the very best, Bling Bling Paul was stepping down in both trip and grade last night and he took full advantage as he romped to a brilliant victory. Sent to traps the even money favourite from trap four, Bling Bling Paul was briefly headed by Kilballyowen Boy in the opening yards but this was short-lived as Meehan’s charge took control rounding the opening bend. It was all one-way traffic thereafter for the son of Sh Avatar and Killinan Reina as he drew clear of his rivals down the back, before maintaining his relentless gallop in the closing stages. Twelves lengths between Bling Bling Paul and nearest rival, Saleen Naomi, crossing the line, the time was a smashing 29.66.
ABBIE ENDS NIGHT IN STYLE
A brilliant night at Limerick was concluded in stunning style in race twelve as Cnoc Abbie put to bed her disappointment of not reaching the Oaks final with a first-class display.
Owned and trained by Michael O’Meara, Cnoc Abbie landed her opening round assignment in the Limerick Oaks but a tardy start saw her eliminated at last week’s semi final stage. However, Cnoc Abbie was to bounce back in terrific style last night as she stayed on expertly to deny Oakfront Cadet. Running from trap six, Cnoc Abbie made full use of her stripes draw as she steered around runners early on to take charge entering the back straight. From here, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Boherna Abbie continued to set a fine gallop in front and she proved a nut to crack for the powerful Oakfront Cadet, who was one length adrift crossing the winning line. The time for Cnoc Abbie was a sizzling 28.42.