Peter Farrell

The semi finals of the Larry O’Rourke National Produce Stakes featured on last night’s Clonmel card and it was Graham Holland who sent out both winners as he tightened his grip on the €17,000 to the winner classic.

Indeed, many eyes were on Swords Rex heading into last night’s second semi final and the incredible son of Droopys Sydney did not disappoint as he dipped under the 28-second barrier for the second time in three weeks.

Sent to traps a red-hot 1/3 shot last night, most of the questions centred around whether or not Swords Rex could get one of his ping breaks as he looked to get first run on speedsters such as Dromana Survivor and Emers Spike on his outside. However, any fears were put to bed early as Barbara Lowndes’ runners flashed from the trap two to quickly assert on the run to the opening bend. Chased in second at this point by the Thomas O’Donovan-trained Radical Hero, Emers Spike had progressed into third rounding the opener but the writing was on the wall for these rivals from an early stage. Opening a four length lead down the back, Swords Rex was majestic in setting a scarcely believable 15.68 to the the third bend and it was clear the 28-second mark was under threat as he entered the bottom two turns on his lonesome. Radical Hero continued to give chase in second, while Gaston Pecas was now applying pressure to Emers Spike and looked an odds-on shot to book his spot in the decider. It was all about Swords Rex however, and the hugely talented black pressed home his advantage as he stormed up the home straight to cross the line with eight lengths to spare over Radical Hero in second. The time was a brilliant 27.94 as Gaston Pecas claimed the final qualifying position as he produced his customary big finish to take third.


Just like Swords Rex in the second semi final, kennel companion Newinn Homer also made every yard of the running to land the opening semi final in good style.

The opening semi final looked a very open affair on paper with Droopys Nice One expected to take a bit of beating based on her performances thus far in the stake. However, it was the early-paced runners of Sunshine Hero and Newinn Homer who dictated proceedings after two ping breaks from traps one and four respectively. Newinn Homer surged to the front off the second turn to take a three length advantage but any thoughts of him out-classing Sunshine Hero were soon diminished as the latter showed terrific back straight pace to come back for more on the approach to the penultimate turn. Meanwhile, the third qualification spot was currently in the hands of Serene Tiger after Michael O’Donovan’s charge displayed sizzling back straight gears to fly past Droopys Nice One and looked menacing as he flew into the third turn in top gear. Newinn Homer continued to dictate up front however, and after cutting the nose off the progressing Sunshine Hero, the son of Droopys Buick and Snoozing Head clocked a 15.99 sectional to take a two length lead into the home straight. Maintaining that lead all the way to the winning line, the 7/4 shot crossed with two lengths to spare over Sunshine Hero in 28.41. The remaining qualifying position went to Serene Tiger who ran a big race to take third.

The trap draw for the final of the Larry O’Rourke National Produce Stakes is as follows :









Golden trainer, Graham Holland, had a memorable night as he also posted another two winners on the supporting card with Cryptopunk and Kameko.

Cryptopunk was the first to score as the 5/2 chance made it back-to-back wins at Clonmel over the extended 575-yard trip. Owned by Simon Taylor, the son of Dorotas Woo Hoo and Bogger Bonnie was impressive last time out and he really looks to have gotten his trapping right as he flew from red to take a comfortable lead into the opening corner. Drawing clear thereafter, Cryptopunk did tire in the last twenty-five yards but he kept enough in reserve to see off the fast-finishing Cnoc Abbie by three lengths. The time was a fast 31.28.

In the second semi final of the Track Bookmakers Open 575, Kameko (Good News - Mysterious Ways) justified his 6/4 favourtism as he showed fine determination to return to winning ways. Owned by Larry O’Rourke, Kameko was led early on by Rapid Jack but he showed good early to take control from his inside line in trap two. Future Tune also got involved and it was nip and tuck down the back between the duo; however, Kameko showed fine guts and determination to stay on well and hold off Rapid Jack by one length. The time was a slick 31.17.


There was no doubt who stole the show in the two semi finals of the Trap 1 Greyhound Supplies Unraced as Carefree King produced an outstanding performance for owner Bernadette Connolly. Going off a 4/5 chance, Carefree King, an August whelp, pinged the lids from trap one to post a rapid 2.76 opening sectional. From here, it was a case of how far as the son of Laughil Blake and Carefree Grace continued to set a relentless gallop to come home eleven lengths clear of Murlens Brae in second. The time was a fantastic 28.32.

In the opening semi final, Move Over Cha got a double for Rachel Wheeler off and running. A 4/1 chance, Kevin Drinan’s runner broke well from trap three and he had too much ammunition for Good Axel, who had held the early lead after a swift exit from trap six. A very powerful runner, the son of Gaytime Hawk and Move Over Eliza continued to set a strong gallop thereafter as he came home two and a half lengths clear of Good Axel in second. The time was 28.81.

In the semi finals of the Kieran Purcell Snr Memorial 525 it was Bogger Cabela who upset the fancied Courty Girl to go quickest. Owned by Liam Peacock, Bogger Cabela went to traps a 4/1 chance and she came away racing to take a narrow lead into the opening corner. Showing fine dash down the back, the daughter of Skywalker Farloe and Bottle Of Banter fended off the challenge of Ballyhimikin Joy at the third, before holding off the powerful finish of Courty Girl late on. Just one and a half lengths between runners crossing the line, the time was 28.71.

In the opening semi final, Bloodsweatnbeers made it back-to-back wins for owner Nigel Quinn. A July 20’ whelp, Bloodsweatnbeers didn’t come away too fluently from trap one but the 6/4 favourite took control rounding the opening corner to open a clear advantage. Abigails Power proved a worthy challenger however, and the duo served up a thrilling contest in the closing stages. Bloodsweatnbeers getting the verdict by one length from Abigails Power in second, the time was 29.24.

The Rachel Wheeler double was completed in race six as Annagh Bailey scored at odds of 3/1 to go quickest in the Extreme Greyhound Products A1 550. Jointly owned by Peter and Dan Stackpoole, Annagh Bailey broke moderately from trap six but he showed electric early pace to sweep the opening corner and take a six length lead into the back. All one-way traffic thereafter, the son of Droopys Sydney and Bellmore Fantasy was seven lengths clear crossing the line of Glenbervie Maza in second. The time was 29.93.

In the opening semi final, Classic Chick produced an upset as she landed the spoils at odds of 4/1. Owned by Trevor Power and trained by Jimmy Power, Classic Chick settled in midfield early doors as Newinn Extra took the field into the back straight. However, Classic Chick wasn’t to be denied and the daughter of Droopys Buick and Classic Quest took charge at the three-quarter mark. Staying on strongly thereafter, Classic Chick was six lengths clear of Stickman crossing the line as the clock returned 29.96.