Peter Farrell

The big-race action returned to Galway on Saturday night as the opening round of the €3,500 to the winner Jimmy Flaherty Memorial A1/A2 550 got underway and the standard was set by Townspark Benjy as he made every post a winner to score in style

Townspark Benjy finished second in a €5,000 to the winner ‘TIME’ sweepstake held at Galway back in March of this year and his aim of going one better got off to the best possible start as the Ollie Bray-trained tracker dominated from the outset to set the standard. Owned by Ollie Bray and Patrick Geraghty, this looked the hottest of the heats on offer, however, it proved a straightforward assignment for the son of Broadstrand Bono and Silver Penny as the 6/4 chance powered from two to lead. In doing so, he displayed awesome early speed to quickly manufacture daylight and he proved too hot to handle thereafter as he galloped into a commanding lead entering the bottom two bends. Chased in second by the powerful Rural Kihei, she indeed made little inroads into the leader as ‘Benjy’ crossed the line with six lengths to spare. The time was a rapid 30.09.


In the opening heat of the night, May Bozada justified his odds-on pricetag as Shaun Conway’s runner produced a fast finish to score. Second early doors as Own Lullaby dictated proceedings after a rocket start out wide, the favourite was made to work hard in order to secure his first victory since May. Showing bags of stamina, the son of Droopys Sydney and Peters Queen upped the ante in the closing stages of the contest and he reeled in Own Lullaby to cross the line one and a half lengths clear of another fast finisher in Big Time Punter. The time was 30.38.

Trained by Gerry Holian, Hot Wood landed the aforementioned €5,000 to the winner ‘TIME’ stake on his last appearance at the Connacht circuit and he returned in fine style in the third heat of the night. Owned by Pat Carey, the 4/5 chance was led early on by Grouchos Finn, however, this was short-lived as the orange jacketed runner took charge rounding the opener. From here, the son of Airmount Nando and Burgess Millie had to fend off some powerful finishers in the shape of Young Tiernan and Hanover Storm, however, he did this with ease as he emerged a two and a half length winner. The time was a fast 30.16.

The concluding heat was landed by Rinnwood Leo as he made it back-to-back wins for Des Flaherty and the Flaherty-Family-Synd. Another who likes to dictate throughout, the 3/1 chance knew his job as he broke brilliantly from trap four to lead. Thereafter, it was a case of catch-me-if-you-can for Rinnwood Leo and the son of Pestana and Rinnwood Pearly held on gamely to see off Donies Wood by one length crossing the line. The time was a good 30.22.