Peter Farrell

Kindly sponsored by Willie Rigney, the opening round heats of the TIME Greyhound Nutrition Confined A4 Derby gets underway at Limerick Greyhound Stadium later tonight and it is sure to kick-start some hugely competitive action over the next five weeks at the Dock Road circuit.

Boasting an incredible winner’s prize of €20,000 to the eventual winner, there is a specific rule in place where greyhounds will face elimination should they break the 28.90 barrier in either of opening two rounds and this of course lives into the ‘Confined’ nature of the stake. There will be twelve heats tonight and a further twelve on offer on tomorrow night and given the brilliant prizemoney, there are bumper crowds expected to flock to Limerick this coming weekend.


Heat 1 – The opening heat of the Derby can get Philip Gough off to a good start with Sparta Knight selected to come out on top. Just an October puppy, the son of Ballymac Cashout has just the three starts under his belt but has already tasted victory in 29.30 around Waterford and he looks to have plenty of scope to improve. Bellagors Kate looks the main threat as she is on the down-grade and has some fine form in her book over course and distance.

Heat 2Oscar The Grouch won on debut in a slick 28.77 around Cork and although that stands as his sole victory from six subsequent starts, the son of Burgess Bucks looks the one to beat in heat two. The white jacketed runner also has a sub 29-second performance around Kilkenny and he should benefit from his first run in A4 company. His rivals include the fast-starting Hello Oppy in one and Rockpit Jason in six.

Heat 3 – The standout runner in heat three is the Shane Divilly and Eimear O’Dwyer-owned Crafty Ti Amo. The daughter of Skywalker Canny has two wins from just three starts to her name and she is a mere baby as a January 23’ whelp. She has already shown fine promise around Galway and she looks very much the one to beat in a heat that also includes the consistent Avongate Sturdy.

Heat 4 – Michael Hogan always has a decent tracker up his sleeve and Grangeview Yan gets the vote to land heat four. The daughter of Good News is a winner in 29.34 around Galway and looks to be returning from a seasonal break at just the right time. Of her rivals however, it is always wise to follow the respected Brendan Matthews, who is represented by Unlock Queen, while Ignatius is also stepping down in grade and is the class act in the field in terms of prior clocks.

Heat 5Ashmore Susie may be without a career win to date; however, she has shown decent promise around Kilkenny and is of course bred in the purple being a product of Droopys Sydney and Susie Sapphire. Trained by Paul Hennessy for John Boyle, expected a bold bid from this lady as she bids to break her maiden tag at the fourth time of asking. Her rivals include Beaming Apache and Bright Coco.

Heat 6 – The most experienced runner in the line-up is selected to come out on top in heat six as the David Flanagan-trained Canya Mags bids to get back to winning ways. A former 28.81 winner around Galway, the daughter of Dorotas Wildcat has recorded some fine performances in the past and it’s worth noting that this looks a significant drop in class. Of her rivals, De Magic Box is certainly better than what his card reads, while Stac Lee will be finishing fast for Owen McDonagh.

Heat 7 – Paul Hennessy is represented by Airforce Rising in heat seven and the strapping brindle looks likely to double his career tally. A winner on debut in 29.69 around Kilkenny, this fellow looks tailor made for the stiff Limerick circuit and he should take plenty of beating from trap three. Rivals on this occasion include By Yourside for John O’Brien, who knows how to win and is perfectly drawn in the stripes.

Heat 8 – The beautifully bred Glengar Petsy is without a win in three career starts, however, can get off the mark in heat eight for Pauline and Pat Buckley. A daughter of Brett Lee and Ballymac Petsy, who is the dam of the likes of Ballymac Finn and Maries Wedding, the October pup has had excuses in prior starts and should go close from trap five. Rivals include Sing Hallelujah and Adamant Mia.

Heat 9 – A very open heat, however, Nady Des gets the narrow vote to make it a hat-trick of wins for leading trainer, Stephen Murray. The son Pestana is really finding his form and has only been out of the frame in two of his nine career starts to date. Kanturk Power has some good form around the Cork circuits for Tony Winters, while Yotota Lad is another that has no forlorn hope for Michael Kennedy in six.

Heat 10Mustang Razor had a baptism of fire down at Clonmel having come up against some really hot prospects, however, this could be right up his street. Jointly owned by Sean Bourke and Paul Horig, the massive son of Magical Bale qualified well at Clonmel and he can only improve as a mere October puppy. The likes of Sparta Martha arrives with winning form around Waterford, while it would be unwise to look past Ballycoole Boss, who has smart Thurles form in the book.

Heat 11 – Like his kennel companion, Ashmore Toby is still searching for a first career victory after ten starts, however, he can break this streak in heat eleven. On the downgrade, the son of Azzabi has some smart estimates around Shelbourne and Enniscorthy and it looks a matter of time before he gets his head in front. Trumpers Del and Ballysloe Lola can give him the most to think about.

Heat 12 – There is a lot of Thurles representation tonight at Limerick and both Shackleton and Hollyhill Walko look likely to close in the concluding Friday heat. The latter is a 28.84 winner around Clonmel in the past and has also some decent recent form around the tough Thurles circuit, while the same can be said of the consistent Shackleton. Outside of this duo, Hidden Jack is very unexposed for Kathleen Brown and could be one to watch.