Grouchos Billy continues to be a terrific servant to David Carroll and Luke O’Connell and he posted a sixth career victory last night in landing the final of the Limerick & Clare GOBA 525 at Limerick Greyhound Stadium.
After landing his semi final assignment in good style, Grouchos Billy was a 2/1 chance heading into the €1,200 to the winner decider and, like the rest of the field, his chances were aided greatly by the absence of certain favourite, Vedfield Lionman. It was Montore Phill who was first head to show at traprise but he was closely matched in the early stages by Grouchos Billy and the latter, steering a wide course, swept to the front upn entrance to the back straight. From here, the August 20’ son of Ballymac Best and Badminton Baby pulled clear of Montore Phill down the back and held a three length advantage over his rival approaching the penultimate turn. At this point, 5/4 favourite Chestnut King was starting to rev his engine in behind and looked a threat; however, Grouchos Billy still held a decent advantage rounding the bottom two bends. The eye-catching Chestnut King did make a fine fist of it in the closing stages as he flew up the home straight, but it was all in vain as Grouchos Billy held firm to land the spoils by a diminishing margin. A smart win for the blue-fawn, who crossed the line with a half length to spare over his eye-catching rival, the time was 29.25.
EMPHATIC FROM ANNE IN SCANLON OPENER
Elsewhere on the card, the opening round heats of the Donal Scanlon Memorial A2 525 were down for decision and the fastest of the opening round winners was the brilliant Ballygur Anne in heat one.
Trained by Michael Donnelly for WIlliam Hanlon, Ballygur Anne was taking a massive drop in grade heading into this event considering the top-class company she had been competing in prior and she duly put her rivals to the sword to clock the fastest time of the night. Running from trap six, the 4/7 favourite hit the ground running and she took control on the run to the opening corner. Holding a two length lead down the back, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Newinn Boodles had the eye-catching Faithful Fred to contend with in behind and his presence kept the leader honest throughout as she never managed to shake him off thereafter. That said, Ballygur Anne ensured she made a winning start to the stake and indeed racing at Limerick as she maintained a powerful gallop all the way to the winning line to cross over with one length to spare over Faithful Fred in second. The time was a rapid 28.66 and both greyhounds are the obvious outright contenders for this event based on that performance.
ROUNDING UP THE HEATS
There was a local winner in heat two as Adamant Approach (Pat C Sabbath - Adamant Gem) defeated Tally Ho Tyson to record an eighth career victory for John Rainsford and the Any-Sport-Will-Do syndicate. A regular sub 29-second greyhound, Adamant Approach was fast away from trap two but it was the superb early dash of Taylormade Art that took her to the front of proceedings early on. However, the complexion of the race changed greatly midway down the back as both Adamant Approach and Tally Ho Tyson outpaced their rivals to change the order of events rounding the bottom two bends. Holding a two length advantage entering the home straight, Adamant Approach was a game as a pheasant in front as he crossed the line one and a half lengths clear of Tally Ho Tyson, who ran a stormer considered his start, in second. The time was 29.05.
There was another local winner in heat three as Brickfield Cody won at huge odds of 12/1. Owned and trained by John O’Brien, Brickfield Cody was out with the washing early on after a poor start in six, however, his wide-running style was to pay dividends as he benefited from a clear passage throughout. It was Bright Royal who led the way out in front but after creeping into contention midway down the back straight, Brickfield Cody made his move between the bottom two bends. Coursing around the leader at this point, the son of Skywalker Rafa and Effin Got Talent stayed on powerfully thereafter and he was two lengths better off than Sober Diamond crossing the line. The time was 29.20.
In the final heat of the night, Barnora Bella made every post a winner to land the spoils for Jason Burke. Fresh off a brilliant 18.80 qualifying trial at Limerick, Barnora Belle was sent off a 2/1 shot and she broke level with Millrose Brandy to dispute the early running. Showing the better of the early pace, Barnora Belle went on down the back and it was the 11/8 favourite, Tyrap Luke, who really motored to move into second approaching the penultimate turn. However, Barnora Belle wasn’t to be denied and the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Sing Dixie stayed on well to claim a length and a half victory over Tyrap Luke in second. The time was 29.04.