Peter Farrell

All eyes were on Limerick Greyhound Stadium last night as the eleven opening round heats of the Matchbook Betting Exchange Irish St. Leger got underway and Pat Buckley laid down an early marker as he sent out a treble of winners on night one.

Chasing a third Irish St. Leger after previous victories with Never Give Up and Paradise Silva, Pat Buckley is very well represented in the 2022 renewal and it was his Bobsleigh Dream who went quickest of the session in heat one, while both Killahan Sydney and Ballinabola Ed both landed their respective contests on the night.


The Classic got off to a flier in heat one as Bobsleigh Dream carried on her rich vein of form for Willie Joe Murphy and Pat Buckley.

After some fine performances in the Yvonne Barry 600 at HQ, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Bobsleigh Jet posted 28.13 in a trial last time out and she built on that with another accomplished display. Breaking well from trap one, Bobsleigh Dream trailed only Ballinulty Bolt into the opening corner but she soon took charge midway down the back. It was plain sailing for the strong running bitch thereafter as she drew clear to win by five lengths from Storys Cashout in second. The time for the 1/2 chance was a brisk 29.43. (sec:17.44)


The most anticipated clash of the night was the penultimate heat of the night in heat ten as Ballinabola Ed took on the reigning English Derby Champion, Romeo Magico.

Both Ballinabola Ed and Romeo Magico couldn’t be separated at the top of the outright market prior to the opening round but it was the former who set his stall out as he showed terrific early speed. Both greyhounds sent to traps as the 5/4 joint favourites, it was actually Midfield Deano who showed first from four but Ballinabola Ed quickly excelled into the opening corner to take full control. Meanwhile, after missing the break, Romeo Magico came out of the pack to chase down the leader and there were three lengths between the greyhounds midway down the back. Romeo Magico was making inroads at this point and looked a real threat rounding the bottom two bends, however, Ballinabola Ed had plenty in reserve and he pulled clear once more in the closing stages. Two lengths separating these two powerhouses, the time was 29.65. (sec:17.34)


Pat Buckley was in double form in heat three as Killahan Sydney upset the apple cart to win at odds of 6/1.

In what was a very messy affair, Killahan Sydney overcame a massive bump at the opening corner but there was nothing lucky about his performance from that point on. Kenny Glen’s charge has shown brilliant speed from halfway in previous outings and he ran out a most comfortable winner in the end as he came home five lengths clear of Ballymac Joey in second. The time was 30.21. (sec:17.84)


After smashing the track record for the standard trip at Cork last weekend, Illnotbeback was fancied to bring her superb form to Limerick and she duly obliged at odds of 4/5 in heat two. Trained by Paul Hennessy for Freddie Adams in Derry, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Shirocco Star didn’t come away too fluently from trap four but she once again showed serious gears from halfway to take over from Kilcolgan Comet down the back. Once doing so, it was a matter of how far and Illnotbeback stayed on strongly to win by three lengths, in a time of 29.60. (sec:17.34)

Mustang Jet is one of the outright fancies for this year’s St. Leger and the Dolores Ruth-trained charge made every yard to win heat four. Jointly owned by Paul Horrig and Sean Bourke, Mustang Jet was swiftly into stride from his favoured striped jacket and the 4/6 shot paced up well to sweep around the opening corner in control. Setting a blistering gallop down the back, the son of Droopys Jet and Mustang Kay Cee maintained a smart gallop all the way to the winning line and he was two and a half lengths better off than Adamant Approach crossing the line. The time was 29.67. (sec:17.20)

There were no surprises in heat five as 8/11 favourite Bockos Budsit held off Magical Mary. Trained by Graham Holland for Bev Lochead, as expected, Bockos Budsit got off to his usual flying start from trap six and he excelled into the corner, displaying his customary early gears. That said, Magical Mary was stalking the leader down the back and was just one length off the pace entering the penultimate turn and Pat Guilfoyle’s bitch looked nailed out at this point. However, Bockos Budsit wasn’t to be denied on this occasion and after Magical Mary switched to the outside close home, the son of Laughil Blake and Matts Monica held on to score by one length. The time was 29.89. (sec:17.42)

Heat six was seen as a match race between the Ballymac runners of Ballymac Run and Ballymac Whispa and it was the former who came out on top to continue her strong form. Owned by Liam Dowling, the 6/4 favourite made her intentions clear from the off as she broke smartly from red to pace up the inside and take control. It was all one-way traffic thereafter for the daughter of Bull Run Bolt and Jaytee Pearl and she was a clear, four length winner over Annagh Bailey, who stayed on well for second, while Ballymac Whispa produced her customary blistering finish to overcome a poor start and finish third. The time was 29.51. (sec:17.31)

Bockos Crystal notched a double for the kennel of Graham Holland and Beverley Lochead in heat seven as she produced an assured performance to follow-up on her recents wins at Shelbourne and Cork. Running from trap four, Bockos Crystal, a 4/5 shot, was briefly headed by the evergreen Gortkelly Nestor in the early stages but she soon took control at the opening corner to head the field. Once doing so, she produced her usual strong running display down the back and the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Vigorous Hilary stayed on stoutly to see off the staying-on Gortkelly Nestor by two lengths, in a time of 29.48. (sec:17.20)

Heat eight looked like one of the hottest on paper but it was Droopys Edison who chinned the longtime leader, Trinity Junior, to maintain his great form for Robert Gleeson. A recent record breaker around Curraheen Park, Droopys Edison was a Laurel’s finalist last weekend and he went to traps a narrow 6/4 favourite to return to winning ways. Running from trap two, Droopys Edison broke poorly and was headed early on by the explosive Trinity Junior and Peter Cronin’s tracker led around the opener, setting a frantic gallop in the process. However, Droopys Edison was never going away in second and he edged closer around the bottom two bends before delivering a late flurry to get up late. Just a neck in it crossing the winning line, the time for Droopys Edison was 29.66. (sec:17.34)

In heat nine, Vincenzo ran out a very good winner but there was also a shock exit as Derby runner-up Ballymac Finn crashed out at the first hurdle. Trained by Pat Guilfoyle for Peter Sutcliffe, Vincenzo was unfortunately withdrawn at the semi final stages of the Derby but he has the Leger very much in his sights as he dominated from the outset in his opening round assignment. Sent to traps as the 11/8 second favourite, the son of Droopys Sydney and Alien Nipper broke best of all from five and once leading, it was all over bar the shouting given the brute power this greyhound possesses. Setting a blistering gallop down the back, Vincenzo was extending his lead throughout as he crossed the line an eight length winner over Athlacca Zette in second. The time was 29.65. (sec:17.36)

Pat Guilfoyle secured a double for his kennel in the concluding heat of the night as Wi Can Dream bounced back to winning ways. Owned by Lars and Anita Wicander, the final heat was just a four-dog affair but Wi Can Dream was professional in his work as he made every post a winner. Running from trap four, the son of Cabra Firmino and Cabra Angel used his inside line to his advantage as he quickly took over from Ballymore Border early on. Running out a two and a half length winner over Ballymore Border in second, the time for Wi Can Dream, the 5/4 favourite, was 29.86. (sec:17.47)