There were two truly brilliant performances in the semi-finals of the Shelbourne Open 600 at the famous Ringsend venue on Saturday night with both Sentimental Lad and Hello Hammond posting two of the fastest times ever record for the extended trip.
Both dogs were foot-perfect on the night and the stage is now set for a thrilling decider next weekend.
SUPERB SENTIMENTAL GOES FAST
Sentimental Lad set the tone in the opening heat, showing all his qualities to emerge a comfortable winner for Eimear and Michael Heeney.
It was predicted the draw would suit and it certainly did. Going up straight as a bullet from trap four, he quickly found himself with room to race as Spinosaurus attempted to edge across to the rail from trap three.
Beach Avenue also went up straight from trap five and seemed well positioned into the turn as he disputed second spot. It was on the corner that the race was decided, however. Sentimental Lad turned with over two lengths in hand while a line of three dogs were battling it out for second spot with Swords Maestro on the inside of Spinosaurus and Beach Avenue.
Sadly, for his many followers, Beach Avenue took a hefty bump and was sent sideways. He did recover but found himself with a mountain to climb. Swords Maestro found himself second entering the back straight but Sentimental Lad was on his way to a facile victory.
Maintaining a ruthless gallop throughout, the son of Droopys Jet and Vigorous Hilary bounded clear to eventually hit the line with seven lengths in hand in a sizzling 32.14. The race for second and third was far more competitive.
Swords Maestro was still second as they entered the home straight but was under severe pressure from Young Bud, Kilkenny Santy and Beach Avenue. Young Bud came through to grab second, just a half length ahead of Kilkenny Santy. A desperately unlucky Beach Avenue was just a neck out of the frame in fourth.
SENSATIONAL HAMMOND DOMINATES
Sentimental Lad went exceptionally fast but Hello Hamond went ever quicker in the second heat.
In fact, the Paul Hennessy trained powerhouse produced one of the truly great displays over the 600yd trip, posting 32.04, the fifth fastest time of all time and fourth fastest winning time.
Only track record holder Laughil Duke, Ballydoyle Honey (a close second to Laughil Duke in his record-breaking run), Beach Avenue and Macaroon Cruz have ever gone faster.
It was clear from the opening strides that Hello Hammond was on his way to something special. Not always the fastest into stride, Gerry and Miriam Meaney’s son of Jaytee Jet and Jaytee Pearl flew from trap four and was in control rom the very first stride.
In contrast, the hot favourite Allforthebest was moderately into stride and suffered further traffic on the bend as Auxerre swung wide. It was up to Fast Fit Paddy to put the pressure on Hello Hammond. The 2-1 second choice in the betting didn’t fly from traps but paced up well to turn second.
Hello Hammond is immensely fast and strong, however, and he as never going to surrender his advantage. Maintaining a relentless galop throughout, he increased his advantage from the third turn to eventually cross the line three lengths clear. To Highlight the quality of the run, Fast Fit Paddy posted a brilliant 32.25 in second. Incredibly, Allforthebest recovered from his early woes to move third on the final turn. He finished three lengths behind Fast Fit Paddy in third.
Shelbourne Open 600
1 KILKENNY SANTY
2 FAST FIT PADDY
3 HELLO HAMMOND (M)
4 SENTIMENTAL LAD (W)
5 YOUNG BUD (W)
6 ALLFORTHEBEST (W)
SPIRIT ON FIRE IN FITTING FINALE
There was a fitting conclusion to the night’s proceedings with three of Ireland’s very best filling the frame in the concluding 550yd contest.
Crokers Spirit and Part Blake had a great buckle into the turn but the former had the inside line in his favour and this was to prove decisive.
Turning in front, the Matt Harte trained Crokers Spirit was always going to be a tough nut to crack thereafter. John Croker’s son of Scolari Me Daddy and Boleys Ace flies down the back straight but he did need to be at his best as Part Blake was always snapping at his heels.
Importantly, both greyhounds run a similar racing line and this meant that Part Blake had no way of challenging at the third turn. That said, it probably didn’t matter was Crokers Spirit was really flying out front and he stayed on to secure a two and a half-length success in 29.56. Part Blake ran a very encouraging race in second, while Juvenile Derby champ Droopy Gloss flew home in third a further length adrift, highlighting her well-being.
CLOUD TAKES OFF
Cape Cloud saw off a good field in the penultimate race on the card when dominating throughout.
The favourite was Bockos Budsit but he checked up on the run to the turn, seemingly spotting something near the hare rail. It scarcely mattered to Cape Cloud, however.
The son of Pat C Sabbath and Bua Bui as already in control on the fence and he duly made every inch. Trained by Peter Cronin for the Leamybrin Syndicate, the October ’19 whelp emerged an impressive two and a half length scorer over Jumeirah Bridge in 28.48.
JET LIVES UP TO HIS NAME
Sean Bourke and Paul Horig have a talented greyhound to go to war with if the display of their Mustang Jet in the fifth race is any indication.
Now under the expert care of Dolores Ruth, the son of Droopys Jet and Mustang Kay Cee seemed very comfortable in his Shelbourne Park surroundings, shooting clear for a brilliant six and a half length success.
Displaying tremendous early dash, he had matters in control from the opening exchanges and proceeded to see off Ballinabola Ruby in a fast 28.43. Expect to hear more of Mustang Jet in the coming months.
LEO CLAIMS HIS HAT TRICK
Milton Leo has really found his feet since coming to Shelbourne Park and he made it three wins on the bounce in the A2 opener, going faster in each start.
On this occasion he posted a rapid 28.47 when dictating throughout.
Jim O’Brien’s son of Droopys Sydney and Cnoc Holly displayed fine early dash to lead into the bend and he proceeded to draw away from his rivals for a facile eight and a half length success over Hawthorn Ruby.
Owen McKenna and Robert Bayliss tasted success in the seventh race with the talented Florentis claiming a third career success in what was her first run of the year.
Florentis broke fastest to lead in the opening yards but Vanderbilt flew into the turn to assume control.
The latter seemed a certain scorer once doing so but the wheels came off in the second half of the race as he tied up. Instead, Florentis, who was never too far back, made her move around the bottom bends. Shooting past Vanderbilt on the final turn, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Mags Image eased on to score by two lengths from the staying on Gortkelly Nestor in 28.50.
URBAN ON FIRE
Urban Fire returned to winning ways for Reggie Roberts in the sixth race. In a contest packed with quality, Urban Fire was just too sharp for his rivals in the early yards.
The son of Laughil Blake and Idle Gossip flew up the fence to lead the field from the early yards.
Both Zoom and Kameko came at the leader but there was no stopping Urban Fire. He may have been all out in the latter stages but he contained Kameko by a half length in 28.76.
CLEO STORMS HOME
Catunda Cleo is quickly becoming one of the most popular regular racers at Shelbourne Park and it’s easy to see why when you study her success in the A1 third race.
Michael Byrne’s daughter of Cabra Firmino and Cabra Angel seems to love the Ringsend air, as well as winning races.
Fast into stride in the stripes, the wide-running bitch failed to hold Saffron Mick into the bend and had to battle to hold second spot from the advancing Hyde Park. Still almost four lengths adrift of the leader at the third turn, the June ’20 whelp began to make her move.
Despite staying wide of her rivals, Catunda Cleo began to make her move. Turning for home she was still over a length behind the pace-setter but she was carrying real momentum. Powering up the straight, Catunda Cleo eased on to score by two lengths from Hyde Park in 28.83.
CHIEF ZIPS CLEAR
Early speed was the key to success for James Kerr’s Manalishi Chief in the fourth race as the son of Makeshift and Jetts Roberta dominated from the corner.
Old Treasure went up strongly also but Manalishi Chief had just too much early dash for his rivals.
Despite taking a bump on the turn, he slipped around in front and quickly put the result beyond doubt. Once going to the front, Manalishi Chief eased on to score by four lengths from Ballybough Bela in 28.84.
REMARKABLE VETERAN MONARCH RULES AGAIN
The remarkable Razldazl Monarch had to work hard in the A2 second race but the veteran managed to claim an eighteenth career victory.
The Neilus O’Connell trained son of Makeshift and Razlazl Pru wasn’t the fastest into stride and was only disputing third into the turn but he slipped onto the fence to turn second to Bit View Vinny.
Once doing so, he always had the leader in his sights. Showing fine pace into the third turn, the Kildare Kilcolgan Syndicate owned hit the front at halfway and then proceeded to contain the late charge of Crokers Wish for a half length victory in 28.98.