The opening round heats of the €2,000 to the winner, Borna Kennels A4 525 got underway last night at Thurles Greyhound Stadium and it was Kilvil Robert who set the early standard with a polished performance.
Owned by the Kilvil-Syndicate, Kilvil Robert (Ballymac Best - Ina Heartbeat) has a fine record at Thurles and he built on his off-the-pace victory last time out with a make-all win this time around. Running from trap five, the 2/1 favourite came away smartly from the outside as he recorded a 1.66 sectional early doors. Once doing so, the heavyweight tracker was always going to prove difficult to peg back and he maintained a relentless gallop throughout to emerge a five length winner over Anfield Bud in second. The time was a fast 29.18 .20s.
In heat two, the John Byrne-trained Knockalton Conor ran a determined race to get the better of Tribal Council in second. Owned by Stephanie Ryan, the consistent son of SIlverhill Shay and Kitmans Denise was the 5/4 jolly at the outset and he broke crisply from trap one to post a 1.63 sectional. Setting a strong gallop down the back, Knockalton Conor was briefly headed by Tribal Council but he pulled out plenty in home straight to down his rival by a short-head, recording a decent 29.47 .20s in the process.
The Jennifer Lee-owned Code Skye made it back-to-back wins in heat three as she stayed on strongly to record a comfortable win. A 4/1 shot at the off, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Boherna Abbie made a decent break from the inside as Roscomroe Rusty also disputed in the opening exchanges. However, Code Skye was very strong down the back and she took full control in the second half of the race to win by two lengths from Cloneen Valerie, who also stayed on well, in second. The time was 29.42 .20s.
Heat four saw a dead-heat as both Cabra Sonic (Kinloch Brae - Cabra Ebony) and Epic King (Belles Direction - Priceless Dancer) could not be separated. It was the Paddy Scally-owned Cabra Sonic who blasted from traps to take a two length advantage into the back, however, Epic King emerged from the pack and it was to prove a thrilling contest thereafter. Cabra Sonic still in control heading for home, Epic King, owned by the Knockedofflandin-Syndicate and trained by Michael Donnelly, who displayed the superior stamina to cross the line in tandem. The time was 29.47 .20s.
In heat five, Mysterious Star came out on top with one of the most convincing victories of the night. Owned by Tommy Walsh Jnr, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Mysterious Ways came away racing from trap two and the white took a two length lead into the back from One For Billy in second. A two length deficit quickly doubled midway down the back as Mysterious Star turned the screw on her rival and she stayed on expertly to record a four length victory over One For Billy in second. The time was 29.44 .20s.
The final heat of the night saw Freedom Sonia taste victory for the first time for Kathleen Pomfret. Only an October 21’ whelp, the fawn had some big qualifying efforts to her name but found life difficult having had three races without landing a flag. However, after a decent break from trap one, she quickly turned in second behind early leader, Code Jackal. From here, the daughter of Magical Bale and Freedom Dream showed big speed down the back to range alongside the leader and she stayed on strong to emerge as a three parts of a length winner. The time for the 2/1 shot was 29.47 .20s.