Peter Farrell

The Munster Juvenile Cup is one of the most historic racing events on the calendar and the 2022 renewal, kindly sponsored by local Stud owners, got off to a flier last night with top-class performances in each of the four opening round heats on display.

The night, however, belonged to Graham Holland as his Riverside kennels accounted for three of the four heat winners with Ballyhimikin Leo setting the standard for the opening round with a terrific display in heat three.


Sent to traps as the 5/4 favourite, Ballyhimikin Leo was a brilliant winner of his last outing at the Suirside venue as he won by twelve lengths in 28.68 and he was paw-perfect once more to lower those figures considerably.

Jointly owned by Billy and John Dunne, Ballyhimikin Leo was running from trap five and he was well away but steered a wide course into the opener as Doubtful Ollie nipped up the inside in two. Neck and neck down the back straight, Ballyhimikin Leo stormed to the front rounding the penultimate turn and he displayed the superior staying power to extend his lead thereafter. A six length winner over Strictly Paul in second, the time for the son of Ballyhimikin Jet and Slaneyside Poppy was a scorching 28.32. (Sec: 16.29)


Next best in terms of the clock came as no surprise as the Pat Buckley-trained Bens Teddy justified his 5/4 price tag with another off-the-pace display.

A hugely fast individual, Bens Teddy didn’t come away too fluently from trap three and it was Graigues Ozzy who made the most of a plumb draw in one to nip around in front. However, showing fine early dash, Bens Teddy maneuvered into second place and overcame a two length deficit within a matter of strides to take control. The son of Droopys Sydney and Beechgrove Bell was never going to be caught thereafter and he was three lengths clear of Graigues Ozzy crossing the line. The time was a brisk 28.38. (Sec: 16.21)


Graham Holland also landed the opening two heats of the Stud Owners Munster Juvenile Cup as both Romeo Kodi and Riverside Fudge won emphatically.

The first to pass the post in front was Romeo Kodi in the opening heat of the night as he led from the outset. Owned by David Firmager, Romeo Kodi was the 6/4 favourite at the off and he was spritely into stride from trap one before making full use of his inside berth to slip around in control. Chased in second by Lilywhite Queen, there was never any danger of catching the leader as he stayed on stoutly to record a four and a half length victory over his rival. The time was a fast 28.58. (Sec: 16.16)

Shortly after, Riverside Fudge produced a career-best performance for the RTC-Syndicate. It was Ballycairn Bluff who rocketed from trap three to show the early running, however, this was short-lived as Riverside Fudge quickly displayed the superior early gears to soar past his rival. A 3/1 chance in the market, the heavyweight son of Lenson Bocko and Riverside Honey had a three length lead down the back but was challenged at the penultimate by an improving Ballyhimikin Rex. However, slamming the door shut at this point, Riverside Fudge pressed home his advantage late on to cross the line two and a half lengths to spare over Ballyhimikin Rex in second. The time was 28.55. (Sec: 16.16)


There was still time for Graham Holland to secure another winner elsewhere on the card and this came in the form of Hovex Gracie in race nine, an A2 525.

Owned by Graham Ashe, Hovex Gracie was very unluckily knocked out of the Clonmel ON2 Bitch Unraced last time out but she had shown massive promise in the rounds prior to her exit. Sent to traps as the even money favourite last night from trap four, Hovex Gracie made no mistakes as she broke smartly to lead the field into the opening corner. Setting a scorching gallop down the back, this proved a solo effort for the daughter of Skywalker Canny and Dower Bud as she crossed the line with twelve and a half lengths to spare over nearest rival, Mahogany Sydney, in second. The time was 28.60.