Sponsored by the Friends & Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing, the Irish Laurels delivered two fantastic semi-finals on Saturday night at Curraheen Park.
LOCAL CORK WINNER
Local Cork trainer Johnny Linehan took the opening semi-final with the early paced Runninta Seeya, who is owned by the Runninta-Syndicate.
Breaking best of all, the winner led around the opening turns from Blastoff Fire and Witches Ethiopia. With crowding in behind, it did the other runners no favours at all. Up front, Runninta Seeya was setting a strong pace, Blastoff Fire did get within a length heading down the far side but the leader was strong, pulling out all the stops, he went on to beat Blastoff Fire, by two lengths, in quickest of the night, 28.16. Witches Ethiopia, now the last standing bitch in the event, a length behind the runner-up in third.
DREAM DOG BALLYMAC ANTON
Nearing the age of four years, the Liam Dowling-trained Ballymac Anton once again showed unbelievable guts and determination to register his 26th career victory, taking the second semi-final.
Grangeview Ten bolted from traps, winning the early lead and slipping around the opening corners in front. Brodys Magic fluffed his start but he showed all of his usual big early pace to turn second. Turning down the back, Grangeview held a length lead but Brodys Magic showed unbelievable back straight pace to come alongside at the third corner. It was four lengths back to Ballymac Anton who was delivering his usual strong finish. Brodys Magic did overtake Grangeview Ten on the outside but it clearly took a lot out of him and it opened the door for the strong running winner.
At the line, Ballymac Anton was a length and a half clear of Brodys Magic. The judge was unable to decide on third place as the fast-finishing Droopys Hamish forced a dead-heat with Grangeview Ten. Both will have to re-run on Tuesday, the winning time was 28.32.
SHOWED HIS CLASS
Malton Manor showed his class once again when taking the opening semi-final of the Friends & Supporters of Cork Greyhounds A3 stake.
David Harrington's runner won that all-important early lead and once there was crowding in behind, it was race over. Showing plenty of pace up front, the winner cruised to a four and a half-length success over Oneinarow, with two and a half lengths back to Edencurra Brae in third.
Simply Clever, trained by Kieran Lynch for owner Donal Barry, overcame a bump at the opening corner to take the semi-final.
In control heading down the back straight, she then kept on well to deny Reflex Blue, by two lengths, in 29.14. A length back to Witches France in third.
ONE WAY TRAFFIC
It was all one-way traffic in the opening semi-final of the Jerry Hennerty Memorial Unraced Stake as Coolavanny Swift came home alone, winning for trainer Kieran Lynch and owner Noel Browne. Quickest into stride and quickly pulling clear, the smart April puppy came home with eight and a half lengths to spare over Ballymac Neassa in 28.67.
OH HOKEY POKEY
Oh Hokey Pokey, trained by Patrick Norris for Paudie Taylor, stayed on extremely well take the second semi-final.
Coolavanny Pier took them along for most of the journey but the December puppy was strongest late on, finishing well, she got the better of the early leader, by a length, in 28.72.
ALFIE ON TOP
The third and final semi-final went the way of Doolin Alfie, who scored for trainer Pat Buckley and owner Austin Whelan.
The February puppy built up a big lead early but that was greatly reduced late on as Corrin Derek who was in early troubled showed huge pace to get within two lengths at the line, the winning time was 29.27.