HARBOUR SETS SAIL IN CHAMPION BITCH SECOND ROUND AT THURLES

Peter Farrell

After a fantastic opening round of the Reddan Windows Champion Bitch Stake at Thurles Park last week, the second round heats took centre stage last night and there were a number of upsets on the card with Mucky Harbour setting the second round standard.

Skywalker Cilla was outstanding in galloping to an easy opening round win last week and she was expected to make a bold bid once again in heat one.

Running from trap two, Skywalker Cilla was only moderately into stride as the outside duo of Mucky Harbour in five and Right So Belle in six disputed for the lead early on. Showing the superior early dash was Mucky Harbour for trainer John Kelleher and she held a length advantage into the back straight from Skywalker Cilla, who was now improving into second, and looking a huge threat approaching the penultimate corner. However, sticking to her task well in the closing stages of the contest, Mucky Harbour (Laughil Duke - Droopys Harbour) stayed on gamely to cross the line with a length in hand. The time for Don and Gerard Buckley’s tracker was a good 29.21 .50s.

AZABBI MAKES ALL

There was another minor upset in the second heat of the night as Azabbi produced a brilliant performance to get back to winning ways.

Owned and trained by Thomas O’Donovan, Azabbi was chinned by Right So Belle in the opening round but drawn crucially in trap one last night, the flying early paced boxed smartly to dictate from the outset. Showing massive early dash, Azabbi took a two length lead into the back straight where she was followed by Ashwood Soul in second and Nemesis, who missed the kick early on, improving all the time in third. The bird had flown up front however, and the daughter of Azza Azza Azza - Miss Pyromaniac stormed across the line three lengths clear of Ashwood Soul in second, with the fast-finishing Nemesis back in third. The time was 29.31 .50s.

PARADISE AVENGES OPENING ROUND DEFEAT

Following very much in the trend of the opening two heats, Paradise Asia caused a minor upset in heat three as she avenged her defeat to Ebony Delight last week.

It was Ebony Delight who showed first wearing the black jacket but perfectly positioned on the rail was Paradise Asia in trap one and the Sean Meade owned bitch showed brilliant early dash to scrape the paintwork and take a three length lead into the back. Stretching her lead down the far side, it was all one way traffic for the daughter of Droopys Nidge - Alexandra thereafter and she came home a comfortable, three length winner over Ebony Delight in second. The time was 29.44 .50s.

ANOTHER TASTY DISPLAY FROM TWIX

Asides from the Champion Bitch Stake second round there were a number of top-class races also on the card and the Open 330-yards promised to be hotly contested.

Both Explosive Boy and Holiday Twix (Droopys Jet - Princess Aine) served up two smashing displays on their last outing at Thurles and both were expected to play a huge part in proceedings last night. However, it was contrasting fortunes for the duo as Explosive Boy missed the kick early on, while Holiday Twix took a flier from trap three. Leading the field into the opening corner, the Seamus Ryan owned bitch set a frantic gallop thereafter and crossed the line a length clear of Sawdust Player in second. The time was a blistering 17.84 .10s.

MIKE MAKES ALL

After a first outing in two months last week at Thurles Park, the Jerry Griffin trained Rockburst Mike (Candlelight King - Paradise Siesta) was back to his sharpest in race eleven, an Open/A1 525.

A greyhound who is normally accustomed with coming from off the pace to record his victories, Rockburst Mike found himself in unknown territory early on as he came away spritely from trap three to lead early on. Maintaining a strong gallop down the back, Magical Jasper emerged as the main threat in the latter stages of the event but Rockbust Mike, owned by the Bit-Of-Craic syndicate, crossed the line two lengths clear. The time was a swift 29.20 .50s.

PERFECT RHYTHM

There was an identical time in the very next race as Borna Rhythm got back to winning ways in an A2 event.

Owned by Ruairi Dwan, Borna Rhythm wasn’t taking any prisoners early on as he sprung from trap six to outpace his rivals early on. A strong stayer, it was going to take something special to reel in the leader thereafter and the son of Cloran Paddy - Borna Gem flew up the home straight to record a routine, five length success. The time was 29.20 .50s.

SEANCHARA OPENS ACCOUNT

There was another nice spin in race six which was a 330 contest claimed in style by Seanchara.

Owned by Ben Lewis, Seanchara was chasing a first victory on Irish soil but he did so in style, leading from trap to line to run out a comprehensive winner. Flashing from trap six, the son of Laughil Blake - Indulge Me stormed around the Tipperary circuit to win by over five lengths in 17.97 .10s.