Peter Farrell

The final of the Pas Bar, Upperchurch, 525 may have received top billing at Thurles Greyhound Stadium last night but there were a number of superb performances across the card, none more so than in the John Rafferty Memorial Open 330 semi finals.

KIndly sponsored by Pas Bar, Upperchurch, the 525 stake was the main event on the card and there were to be no shocks as Charlestown, who had dominated the earlier rounds of the event, justified his 4/6 starting price with another astute performance. Chasing the €1,050 first prize, the Paddy Brennan-owned runner was expected to assert from the outset and this tactic proved accurate as despite breaking level from trap four, he immediately excelled to create clear daylight rounding the opener. From here, the son of Dorotas Wildcat and Princess Aine drew clear down the back straight to open a six length lead and although Miss Celebrity made some late progress, it was all in vain as Charlestown did the damage early on. Another polished performance from this November 20’ tracker, he made it three wins on the spin, stopping the clock in a good 29.34 .20s.


There was another final down for decision on the night and this also followed the script as Brave Lad, who produced that wonderful debut performance, ran out a comfortable winner for Pat Guilfoyle and John Byrne.

Boasting a winner’s purse of €600, the Coolavanny Hoffa @ Stud Unraced 525 has saw the emergence of a number of talented pups in the likes of Brave Lad and Anytime Boss but it was the former who proved a class above as he romped to victory, fully justifying his 1/3 starting price. Running from trap five, Brave Lad wasn’t as fluent at traprise this time around but it mattered not as he soon asserted in the opening yards to take a three length lead into the opener from Donegal Gift in second. Drawing clear down the back, the son of Skywalker Logan quickly doubled his advantage down the back and it was a straightforward night’s work thereafter for the talented brindle. Five and a half lengths clear of Anytime Boss, who showed fine potential in behind to come through for second, the time for Brave Lad was a slick 29.20 .20s.


Outside of the two sweepstake finals, there were a couple of  outstanding performances in the John Rafferty Memorial Open 330 semi finals but Greatdistraction in particular, set an almighty bar heading into next week’s decider.

Owned by Paul Brussells, Greatdistraction has some incredible form in his book and the June 21’ pup broke his duck at the third time of asking in emphatic style over the two-bend trip. Sent to traps as the 5/4 favourite, Greatdistraction was quickest into stride from trap four but blitzed his rivals into the opening bend as he displayed incredible early gears to run away from some very talented speedsters. Holding a five length lead rounding the bottom two bends, the son of Pestana and Kilgowan Honey maintained his relentless gallop into the home straight and he powered across the line to record a five and a half length victory over the dead-heating pair of Coolemount Boss and Courty Girl in second. The time was  scorching 17.58 .5s.

The second semi final was just as impressive as Laughil Roy built on his impressive outing previously when leading Dogs Anonymous to win comfortably for Mary and Paul Jennings.

Trained by Michael O’Donovan, Laughil Roy also went off at odds of 5/4 and despite being led by Cabra Sonic in the opening yards, he soared up the inside to still hold a two length advantage into the opener. Tracking beautifully around the bottom two bends, the son of Droopys Jet and Laughil Irene continued his dominance up the home straight as he romped to a four and a half length victory over Count Aurelius in second. The time was 17.75 .5s.