After an incredible opening round to the Larry O’Rourke National Produce Stakes last weekend, the second round action continued at Clonmel last night and once again it was all about Swords Rex as he produced another masterclass for owner Barbara Lowndes.
The opening round of the Classic saw Swords Rex post that magnificent 27.93 and as a result, he was expected to take plenty of beating in the third quarter final. While the recent Kirby champion certainly didn’t disappoint with another very smart performance, another big winner on the night was the brilliant Droopys Sydney as he was responsible for all four quarter final winners.
Trained by Graham Holland, Swords Rex was chasing a hat-trick of victories heading into the third quarter final last night and there was to be no shocks on the card as Ireland’s brightest young star scored in style. Perfectly housed in red, Swords Rex, a 1/4 chance, came away racing and he quickly asserted on the run to the opening corner where his nearest rival came in the shape of Emers Spike in five. Quickly developing a healthy lead down the back, it was a question of how far for the son of Droopys Sydney and Starry Display as he stormed into the penultimate turn, stopping the sectional clock at 15.91. Staying on strongly thereafter, Swords Rex proved a class above his rivals as he came home seven and a half lengths clear of Sunshine Hero, who stayed on well for second, while Emers Spike settled for third a further length and a half back. The time was a fantastic 28.23. (sec: 15.91)
GASTON NEXT BEST
Pat Buckley enjoyed a brilliant start to his English Derby tilt and it was his Gaston Pecas who produced a super display to land the second quarter final.
Halo was expected to take a bit of beating in this heat after his outstanding 28.09 clock last weekend, however, an early bump saw his Classic bid ended. In contrast, it was Newinn Homer who rocketed from trap five to lead both Irelands Own and Gaston Pecas into the opening corner. The latter in particular was perfectly poised at this point and Javier Jarne’s charge made steady progress down the back straight in his attempts to reel in Newinn Homer out in front. Stepping it up a notch rounding the bottom bends, Gaston Pecas stormed to the front off the final turn and the strong-running son of Droopys Sydney and Bobsleigh Jet powered across the line to win by an extending two lengths. Newinn Homer in second with Tommy Too Many taking third, the time was a brisk 28.36. (sec: 15.89)
NICE ONE BOUNCES BACK
Droopys Nice One may have had her colours lowered by Halo last time out but the Murt Leahy-trained bitch bounced back in style as she reeled in the longtime leader, Serene Tiger.
Owned by John Coleman, Droopys Nice One still posted a spectacular 28.16 last time out and September whelp was installed the even money favourite to return to winning ways. From a level break, it was Dromana Survivor who outpaced his rivals to the opening turn with his customary early gears and he rounded the opener in control from Serene Tiger in second, with Droopys Nice One a close third. Not a lot to separate the trip down the back, Droopys Nice One looked a constant threat given her fast-finishing credentials and she crept closer as the greyhounds entered the penultimate turn. At this point, Dromana Survivor was tiring out in front and it was Droopys Nice One who coursed around both Dromana Survivor and Serene Tiger to score in the dying strides. Impressive performances from all three greyhounds, the time was 28.63. (sec: 15.91)
BACK-TO-BACK FOR HERO
The opening round heat was a four dog affair with the absence of both Postman Cat and Romeo McQueen and it was Radical Hero who built on his first round win with another good display.
Radical Hero was brilliant in overcoming a big stumble at the second turn last week and Gerard Hutton’s runner went into many notebooks as a greyhound who had the potential to improve considerably. Running from five last night, Radical Hero wasn’t as fluent into stride this time around but he still had enough early dash to lead as Mustang Jet gave chase in second. A closely run affair thereafter, the Thomas O’Donovan-trained Radical Hero showed fine determination to keep Mustang Jet at bay and the son of Droopys Sydney and Yahoo Ava had one length in hand crossing the line. The time was 28.63 with Epic Boy claiming the final qualifying position back in third. (sec: 16.05)
The draw for the semi finals of the Larry O’Rourke National Produce Stakes
T1 - SUNSHINE DREAM
T2 - DROOPYS NICE ONE
T3 - SERENE TIGER
T4 - NEWINN HOMER
T5 - EPIC BOY
T6 - TOMMY TOO MANY (W)
T1 - GASTON PECAS
T2 - SWORDS REX
T3 - RADICAL HERO
T4 - EMERS SPIKE
T5 - DROMANA SURVIVOR (M)
T6 - MUSTANG JET (W)
GIRL AGAIN SETS THE STANDARD IN KIERAN PURCELL MEMORIAL
The supporting act on the card was the second round heats of the Kieran Purcell Snr Memorial Guys & Dolls and it was Courty Girl who built on her opening round win with another impressive run.
Trained by John Byrne for John Meelam, Courty Girl won her opening round assignment in 28.57 and although not posting those types of figures this time around, the 4/6 shot was still mighty impressive in landing the spoils. A daughter of Laughil Blake and Killaheen Queen, Courty Girl broke best of all wearing the orange jacket and her rivals could never land a blow as she crossed the line four lengths clear of Bogger Cabela in second. The time was 28.74.
IN OTHER HEATS
In the opening heat of the night, it proved another trap to line success as Bloodsweatandbeers doubled his career tally for owner Nigel Quinn. Running from trap six, the 4/1 shot wasn’t hanging around at traps as he pinged the lids to lead comfortably into the opening corner. From here, it was a routine success for the son of Sh Avatar and Nutty Beth as posted 16.07 to the third turn on route to a comfortable nine lengths success over Abigails Power in second. The time was 28.76.
It was a similar story in heat two as Dromana Tornado made every inch of the running to make it back-to-back wins for Gearoid and Gerald O’Brien. Flashing from trap two, Dromana Tornado was to take no prisoners as he set a blistering gallop throughout and the 1/2 shot came home twelve lengths clear of Flashy Tornado in second. The time was 28.99.
In the remaining heat, Ballyhimikin Joy was another to make every post a winner. Jointly owned by Billy and John Dunne, the daughter of Rockybay Foley and Killmacdonagh disputed early on from trap one and she took charge rounding the opening turn. Setting a decent gallop thereafter, Ballyhimikin Joy did come under late pressure from Happy Together in second; however, she kept just enough in reserve to win by half a length. The time was 29.29.