The opening round heats of the 2022 Con & Annie Kirby produced the most incredible action last weekend at Limerick Greyhound Stadium but it was cranked up a notch last night as Swords Rex headed a string of phenomenal performances.
Deadly Showtime threw down the gauntlet last weekend as he posted a quickest of the Kirby so far, 28.16, and the Karol Ramsbottom-trained star followed that up with another hugely impressive display to land his second round assignment last night. However, the headlines on the night went to Rural Unraced winner Swords Rex as he came out the right side of the eagerly anticipated clash with Droopys Edison to clock the fastest of the session.
Heat five was very much seen as a match race between two of the outright Kirby fancies in Droopys Edison and Swords Rex but although both greyhounds broke on terms from the inside traps, it was the latter who displayed sizzling early gears from trap two to hold the early advantage. Taking a two length lead into the back, Swords Rex showed blistering speed into the third turn and the Barbara Lowndes-owned black stopped the third bend sectional clock in a rapid 16.01. Droopys Edison at this point was chasing hard in second, however, it was all in vain as Swords Rex, a 7/4 market chance, powered clear up the home straight and it was son of Droopys Sydney and Starry Display who crossed the line a comfortable leader in the end. Four and a half lengths better off than Droopys Edison in second, the time was an exceptional 28.20 as Emilys Jet alsoran a huge race to finish just a length and a half further back in third. (Sec: 4.17 / 16.01)
BACK-TO-BACK FOR SHOWTIME
Garry Hannon and Karol Ramsbottom are no strangers to producing fantastic greyhounds and their latest is Deadly Showtime who followed up a sensational first round display with another stunning performance.
Running in heat three, Deadly Showtime was an understandable 4/6 favourite at the off and he quickly put his contest to bed with another ping break from trap four. Motoring his way to the rail early on, Deadly Showtime posted a slick 4.09 sectional and he rounded the opening corner with two lengths already in hand over familiar foe, Ballymac Leon, in second. Setting a blistering gallop down the back, the son of Droopys Sydney and Ruby Valley doubled his lead from two to four lengths approaching the penultimate turn and he showed no signs of fatigue thereafter as he maintained a relentless gallop on the run for home. A really impressive performance from Deadly Showtime, he was five and a half lengths clear of Ballymac Leon crossing the line, with Storys Archie a further two and a half lengths back in third. The time was a sparkling 28.29. (Sec: 4.09 / 16.08)
DOMINANT NICE ONE
Droopys Nice One was one of the main eye-catchers from last weekend’s opening round and although the classy bitch faced some stiff opposition in the final heat, John Coleman’s charge made light work of her rivals.
Trained by Murt Leahy, Droopys Nice One went to boxes a 7/4 chance with Coolavanny Hoffa installed the even money favourite, however, it was all one-way traffic from the off as Droopys Nice One won comfortably. Breaking smarly from her inside draw in one, Droopys Nice One drifted to a middle pitch early doors and she turned the opener with clear daylight over Townview Syd in second. In contrast, two of the other major fancies in Coolavanny Hoffa and Crafty Kokoro missed the kick and occupied the rear positions at this point. However, setting a powerful gallop in front was Droopys Nice One and the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Droopys Dance was now entering her strongest part of the race as she extended her lead to four lengths rounding the bottom two bends. As the chase for the minor placings was heating up in behind, there was no catching Droopys Nice One on the run for home and she stormed across the line to finish five lengths clear of Crafty Kokoro, who once again displayed massive pace despite being hampered on more than one occasion, to finish second. The final qualification spot went to Townview Syd and the time was a rapid 28.33. (Sec: 4.17 / 16.13)
Heat six looked a wide-open affair prior to the off but it was Ballymore Border who produced an outstanding performance to win at odds of 3/1.
Trained by Owen McKenna for Una O’Sullivan, Ballymore Border has that fantastic 28.11 clock to his name at Shelbourne Park and after running a big race in the opening round of the Kirby, he was to produce a masterclass in heat six to win comfortably. Breaking only moderately from trap five, Ballymore Border showed sizzling early gears to drive past Scooby Prince early on and he had the early leader, Disco Pants, on his radar rounding the opening corner. Showing terrific speed at this point, the son of Laughil Blake and Cu Abu swallowed up Disco Pants within a matter of strides to take charge at the sprint box and he drew clear down the back to put himself firmly in the driving seat. In total control, this was a very taking performance from Owen McKenna’s charge and he flew home seven lengths better off than Disco Pants in second. The remaining qualification spot went to National Puppy winner Scooby Prince, who was just a neck further back in third, as the time read a hot 28.35. (Sec: 4.17 / 16.11)
KUBA LANDS RED-HOT OPENER
While Pat Guilfoyle was guiding Explosive Boy to yet another sensational performance down in Waterford, his newest charge, Magical Kuba (Magical Bale - Impact Miami), notched his first career win in brilliant style in heat one.
In a race which included numerous first round scorers, it was Kilgraney Sydney and The Other Kobe who emerged from the pack to dispute the early lead. On the outer, however, was both Ballinabola Ed and Magical Kuba who were benefiting from the freedom of Limerick early doors as Kilgraney Sydney darted for the rails in the early exchanges. A closely knit pack heading into the back straight, it was The Other Kobe and Kilgraney Sydney who went neck and neck at this point, with Ballinabola Ed and Magical Kuba hot on their heels in what was proving a thrilling contest. Three in a line midway down the back straight, something had to give at the third turn and it was Ballinabola Ed who was forced to check which in turn allowed the wide-running Magical Kuba to take full advantage on the outside. Storming clear thereafter, it was the strong-running Magical Kuba, owned by the Westwell-Racing-Syndicate, who bound clear on the run for home and the 9/2 shot was three and a half lengths better off than Ballinabola Ed crossing the line. The final qualification spot went to The Other Kobe in third as the unlucky in running, Kilgraney Sydney, made his exit from the event. The time for Magical Kuba was 28.63. (Sec: 4.20 / 16.22)
LENSON ICE COLD
Lenson On Ice has shown brilliant early gears thus far in his career and the Pat Buckley-trained charge was on point in heat two as he made every yard of the running.
A 7/4 chance at the off, Lenson On Ice came away nicely from trap five and although Aayamza Magic showed narrowly in front, the former sped past his rival to hold a two length lead into the back straight. Now followed by Carrauntoohil in second, Lenson On Ice continued to set a powerful gallop into the penultimate bend where he was now being challenged by Carrauntoohil, while Ballymac Ben was also beginning to creep into the picture. However, Lenson On Ice, owned jointly by Len Ponder and Austin Whelan, wasn’t to be deterred and he pulled out all the stops to deny his fast finishing rivals and grab victory. Three quarters of a length clear of Carrauntoohil crossing the line, Lenson On Ice stopped the clock in 28.66 as Ballymac Ben produced another eye-catching performance to finish just three parts of a length worse off in third. (Sec: 4.14 / 16.16)
TOMMY TOO GOOD
Heat four looked like another red-hot contest on paper but it was Tommy Too Many who led from the outset to make it back-to-back Kirby wins for the Moydrum-Massive-Syndicate.
Tommy Too Many was a trap-to-line winner of his opening round assignment and he was once again paw-perfect at traps to lead Glengar Scholar in the opening yards. The latter displayed awesome early pace at this point however, and the duo went neck and neck rounding the opening turn with nothing to separate the pair. Showing fierce determination upon entering the back, it was Tommy Too Many who took back control and the son of Dorotas Woo Hoo and Ballintee Babe wasn’t to be headed thereafter. Maintaining a strong gallop in the closing stages, Tommy Too Many, a 3/1 chance, crossed the line two lengths to spare over Glengar Scholar, while Da Bold Freddie just about hung on to secure the final qualification spot in third. The time was a swift 28.54. (Sec: 4.16 / 16.27)
TRAP-TO-LINE FOR CRYPTOPUNK
Swords Rex wasn’t the only winner on the night for Graham Holland as Cryptopunk followed up on his excellent debut to make-all in heat seven.
Cryptopunk came into the Kirby as a debutant and after finishing a very impressive second in his opening round contest, he came into heat seven with plenty of supporters. Going off a 5/2 chance from trap two, the Simon Taylor-owned puppy was first to show and he was quickly joined by Fernandes on the approach to the opening turn. Running a brilliant opening corner, Cryptopunk extended his lead to three lengths down the back as Fernandes and Kildare both came together and the duo continued a ding-dong battle down the back straight as they gave chase to Cryptopunk out in front. However, despite Fernandes making a serious fist of it in the closing stages, Cryptopunk never looked like getting caught and the son of Dorotas Woo Hoo and Bogger Bonnie was still two lengths clear crossing the line. The time was 28.61 as Kildare ran another big race to land the final qualifying position in third. (Sec: 4.19 / 16.09)
The draw for the Quarter-Finals of the 2022 Con & Annie Kirby Memorial 525 was made shortly after and it is as follows:
T1 - CRAFTY KOKORO
T2 - BALLYMAC LEON
T3 - DA BOLD FREDDIE
T4 - DROOPYS NICE ONE
T5 - FERNANDES
T6 - MAGICAL KUBA
T1 - CRYPTOPUNK
T2 - THE OTHER KOBE
T3 - DROOPYS EDISON
T4 - BALLYMORE BORDER
T5 - KILDARE
T6 - TOMMY TOO MANY
T1 - EMILYS JET
T2 - CARRAUNTOOHIL
T3 - DEADLY SHOWTIME
T4 - GLENGAR SCHOLAR
T5 - BALLINABOLA ED
T6 - STORYS ARCHIE
T1 - SWORDS REX
T2 - SCOOBY PRINCE
T3 - DISCO PANTS
T4 - TOWNVIEW SYD
T5 - LENSON ON ICE
T6 - BALLYMAC BEN