With €4,000 up for grabs to the eventual winner, it was hardly surprising to see such a quality entry for the Galway A3/A4 525 and last night’s action certainly produced with Role Model setting the opening round standard with a brilliant performance.
Of the six heats on offer, Role Model went by far the quickest for Waterford trainer Declan Byrne as the May puppy bounced back from a narrow defeat last time out to win in style. Owned by John Lambert, the son of Pestana and Knockdrinna Wink, a 5/4 shot, made his intentions clear from the off with a lovely turn of early speed from trap two to take control heading into the opener. From here, Role Model set a brilliant gallop to draw clear of his rivals and he stayed on stoutly to cross the line with four lengths in hand over Glynnscross Liz in second. The time was a rapid 28.87 .10s and he will be hard to contend with going forward based on that display.
Next best in terms of the clock was Raining In Paris who made it three wins on the spin as he downed the 1/3 favourite, Crafty Orlando. Owned by PJ Quinn, Raining In Paris was a trap to line victor on his last start and he produced something similar this time around with a swift exit from trap two. Setting a sharp pace down the back, he exchanged the lead with Malbay Theo but the son of Droopys Sydney and Long Pearl was never under any serious pressure, despite Crafty Orlando showing eye-catching speed to move into second. Raining In Paris stayed on well however, and he was one and three parts of a length clear of Crafty Orlando crossing the line. The time for the 3/1 shot was 29.17 .10s and both he and Crafty Orlando are big players in this stake.
In heat three, Ballygraigue Ten justified his 4/5 starting price, albeit pulling out all the stops to deny the persistent, Fast Fit Lucky. Coming into the contest on the back of four straight victories over the sprint distance, Thomas Bourke’s charge was expected to figure early but he didn’t come away too well from trap one as Fast Fit Lucky set the pace. However, making steady progress down the back, the Vincent McKenna-trained son of Grangeview Ten and Grangeview Vicie rallied to take control at the penultimate turn and was all out to see off Fast Fit Lucky, who came back for more, late on. Just a head separating the pair, the time was 29.18 .10s.
Micheal Hogan is never too far from the winner’s enclosure at Galway and he landed heat four as Grangeview Ron sealed a first career win, coming from last to first. A 2/1 chance at the off, the son of Ballymac Best and Grangeview West was sluggish into stride from five and he occupied the rear position early on. However, the heavyweight tracker made good progress down the back and he finished with a wet sail to collar Bay City Oscar on the line. A neck in it, the time was 29.38 .10s.
The concluding heat of the night saw Reasontobelieve come out in front for Linda Kinsella. Another making the step up to four bends after recent sprint efforts, she broke reasonably well from trap two to sit third early on. Showing good speed down the back, the daughter of Azza Azza Azza and Hayeses Turbo took over at the penultimate turn and kept enough in reserve to see off the fast finish of Crokers Burko in the closing yards. Just half a length between the pair, the time was 29.64 .10s.