Peter Farrell

The final of the €4,000 to the winner Irish Cambridgeshire took centre stage at Limerick Greyhound Stadium and the marathon feature was landed for a second year running by the Paul Hennessy kennel as Hello Hammond produced a devastating performance to run out a wide-margin winner.

Despite coming into the Irish Cambridgeshire as a novice over the 750-yard trip, Hello Hammond would have featured at the top in terms of the outright betting given his incredible exploits over the four-bend trip and it's fair to say he has taken to the marathon trip like a duck to water. An English Derby finalist, Hello Hammond set the tone early in this stake when clocking the quickest opening round time and he followed that brilliantly with another expert victory last time out. Coming into the decider, it looked like a two-dog affair between Hello Hammond and Magical Poppy, however, this proved all one-way traffic as Gerry and Miriam Meany’s runner stormed to a convincing victory to maintain a flawless marathon record of three wins from as many starts.

Known for his fast finishing tactics over the four-bend trip, Hello Hammond has been bolting from traps since stepping up in trip and for the third straight week, Paul Hennessy’s charge was the first head to show as his black jacket flashed out to lead Hazelhill Hazard early doors. Opening a four length lead entering the home straight for the first time, it was already clear that it was going to take a monumental effort to reel in the son of Jaytee Jet and Jaytee Storm. Extending his advantage down the back, Hazelhill Hazard remained in second place, while Magical Poppy wasn’t making much inroads back in third. Pearl Express, meanwhile, was beginning to rally further down the field and it was John Ryan’s bitch who emerged from the pack to try and chase down the leader. However, this contest was over from a very early stage as Hello Hammond continued to set a relentless gallop around the final two bends and showing absolutely no signs of fatigue, he stormed up the home straight to record a ten length victory over Pearl Express in second. The staying-on Magical Poppy could only manage third as she finished a further three parts of a length behind Pearl Express, and the time returned a rapid 41.56. It’s now back-to-back Cambridgeshire titles for the Hennessy kennel after Jaytee Japan landed this event twelve months ago and it has proved a masterstroke by the Black & Amber kennel in stepping Hello Hammond up to six-bends. With very little marathon racing in Ireland, perhaps the Open 750 on BoyleSports Irish Derby final night now beckons for this powerful black and he will be a serious force to be reckoned with going forward over this trip.


The two semi finals of the Limerick & Clare GOBA 525 served as the supporting act on last night’s Limerick card and for the second straight week, Vedfield Lionman produced a polished performance to go quickest.

Jointly owned by Julie O’Sullivan and Fiadh Murphy, Vedfield Lionman was an impressive winner of his opening round assignment and as such, he was installed as the 1/2 favourite to land the spoils once again. Racing from trap three, the January 21’ son of Ballymac Bolger and Clear Mountain was well away and he took a slender lead around the opening turn from Montore Phill in second. Showing super dash down the back, Vedfield Lionman opened a four length lead over the improving Chestnut King in second and he was never under any pressure as he stayed on stoutly to record a two and a half length victory over his rival. The time was a quick 28.69. In the opening semi final, Grouchos Billy and Paradise Grace could not be separated as they dead-heated in a time of 29.18.


Race six was a very competitive A0/A1 550 and it was landed brilliantly by the O-L-Syndicate-owned Whats Up Jack (Candlelight King - Balance Sheet). An ever-present at Limerick track, Whats Up Jack is a strong running greyhound and he once again wore down his rivals to score a tenth time and make it back-to-back wins in the process. In midfield early on as Ballyelan Rolly showed the way, Whats Up Jack upped the ante in the second half of the contest and he powered up the home straight to take charge in the closing stages. Three parts of a length better off crossing the line, the time was a good 30.05 for the 6/4 joint favourite.

John Byrne accounted for a fine double on the card and the first of his winners came in race seven as Taylormade Art won by a narrow margin. Owned by Jessica Reddan and Dominic O’Brien, the daughter of Magical Bale and Patterdale Lena was chasing a hat-trick heading into her 525-yard contest last night and she made every post a winner, albeit by a slender advantage in the end. Showing a lovely turn of early pace, Taylormade Art swung around in front from trap six and she held her advantage throughout in coming home just a neck clear of Fire Height Gem in second. The time was 29.01.

The double for the John Byrne Kennel was completed in race eleven as Courty Girl justified her even money pricetag. Strictly Paul broke fastest from trap four but Courty Girl displayed instant acceleration to power around the outside and take control. Opening an unassailable advantage down the back straight, the daughter of Laughil Blake and Killaheen Queen was seven lengths clear approaching the final two bends Strictly Paul did catch the eye as he ate into the lead in the closing stages, however, Courty Girl was still two and a half lengths clear crossing the winning line. The time was 28.75 for the John Meelam-owned bitch.

Race eight was an AAO/AO 525 and Wizard prevailed in what was another photo-finish result. Trained by Paraic Campion for Gary Pepper, this talented hound was chasing a third win from his last four starts and despite breaking only moderately from trap six, he benefited greatly from opening bend traffic to course around runners and hit the front. Holding a five length lead down the back, the son of Magical Bale and Coolavanny Park was all out to score as the fast-finishing Meduza chased down the leader in the closing stages. Just a head separating the duo, the time was 28.98 for the 5/1 shot. 

Joe Long sent out an impressive winner of race nine as January 21’ whelp Rosshill Rocco broke his maiden tag at the tenth time of asking as he galloped to a comfortable victory in his A3/4  550 contest. A 7/2 shot at the off, Rosshill Rocco enjoyed the freedom of Limerick early on as he paced up well from trap six and he swept to the front off the second bend to go clear. Setting a powerful gallop thereafter, the son of Ballymac Best and Leamaneigh Lisa was four and a half lengths too strong for Aboy Da Wayne crossing the line. The time was a slick 30.09.