While the Boylesports Champion Stakes was the feature at Shelbourne Park on Saturday, there was an exceptional undercard littered with incredible performances including that of the Jennifer O’Donnell trained Born Warrior in the Boylesports Champion Plate.
Sent to traps the 15-8 favourite, Born Warrior produced a thoroughly efficient display. Da Bold Freddie and Paradise Nikibel both came away racing but neither had an answer to Born Warrior, who displayed huge early speed to take up the running into the turn.
There was a line of dogs disputing second into the turn but Deadly Showtime forced his way through in the fence. But this race was over as a contest. Born Warrior, owned by the Whatever You Like Syndicate, entered the back straight with four lengths in hand and the son of Ballymac Best and Mountaylor Queen was ruthless down the back straight.
Six lengths to the good at the third turn, Born Warrior eventually coasted home with seven lengths in hand on Deadly Showtime in 29.81 (Rated .30 slow). Ballymac Joey ran an encouraging race a further length back in third.
AN EPIC ENCOUNTER OVER SIX BENDS
The third race on the card was not just one of the highlights of the night but also one of the greatest races ever seen at Shelbourne Park over six bends.
After meeting in the Corn Cuchulainn decider, Crafty Kokoro and Magical Poppy offered up an incredible battle for the appreciative crowd.
There was never much between the pair but their buckle from the fourth bend to the line was the stuff of legend. Magical Poppy broke fastest but Peter Divilly’s Crafty Kokoro was quickly in chase. Tinnock Solis turned third and ran a remarkable race to stay relatively close to the leaders but was never going to score.
Magical Poppy led by a length on the opening turn, a length and a half on the second but then Crafty Kokoro began to show her four-bend pace. Making her move on the outside of Magical Poppy at the third turn, the latter repelled her rival.
Crafty Kokoro was far from done with, however. Still on the leader’s heels as they entered the back straight, the daughter of Droopy Sydney and Cockyorconfident switched to the inside to make her next challenge. Getting up the inside of Magical Poppy to the fifth turn, she moved on by almost a length. The race was still far from over.
Magical Poppy rallied on the run in and in a desperate finish, Crafty Kokoro just confirmed Corn Cuchulainn form over her rival by holding on by a neck in 41.45. Tinnock Solis was just two lengths further adrift. It really was an incredible race and one that is worth looking back on regularly to highlight how good top class six bend racing can be.
HOFFA IN A THRILLER
And how do you follow a race like the 750yd contest? Well, it’s simple.
You put three of Ireland’s very best against each other over the 550yd Derby trip and watch them produce another epic contest.
The three in question were Part Blake, Good Cody and Coolavanny Hoffa with the latter just getting the better of his rivals. This was greyhound racing at its best. Part Blake broke fastest from the inside box and held a narrow advantage over Coolavanny Hoffa.
Good Cody may have missed the start but flew into the turn to move third. While there is no doubting the ability of Good Cody, he was never going to give his rivals a start and a beating but he did run a fine race to finish just behind the duo.
Instead, Part Blake and Coolavanny Hoffa went toe to toe like prize fighters. Part Blake denied his rival the lead around the opening two bends and down the back straight but Coolavanny Hoffa really drove the third turn for Michael and Mark O’Donovan to take up the running.
Still the race was far from over. Part Blake rallied on the run in provide another thrilling finish but Coolavanny Hoffa was up to the challenge. The brilliant son of Droopys Sydney and Coolavanny Ella kept finding out front to repel Part Blake by a half length in 29.56.
Incredibly, Good Cody was just another half length adrift in third. The first three home will now almost certainly be aimed at the Derby for which they are all amongst the leading fancies.
LEAH EARNS HER DERBY TICKET
The Boylesports Derby Trial Stake was the sixth race on the card, although it was subject to a delay with heavy rain forcing the dogs to retreat to a bit of shelter.
Once the rain had stopped and the water drained off somewhat, the Graham Holland trained Bockos Leah again displayed her many qualities to earn her Derby ticket.
Making a fast start from trap two, she challenged Pintsnotpilates into the turn before asserting as they entered the back straight. Ballymac Fairone did a lot of running down the back straight to race on the heels of Bockos Leah into the third turn but he took a bump at this point, leaving the pace-setter to pull clear.
Bev Lochead’s Bockos Leah (Kinloch Brae/ Singing Hen) always looked like she would stay further and she duly ran on well to emerge a comfortable three length winner over Magical Benji in 30.23 (.30 slow). Ballymac Fairone was just a head back in third.
MELODY ON TUNE AGAIN
Bev Lochead and Graham Holland later added to their tally with Bockos Melody following up her recent Shelley Fennelly Memorial success with a big run in what would turn out to be the final race on the card.
Prominent into the corner alongside Kilcolgan Comet, she was forced to check slightly at the turn before turning second. Kilcolgan Comet led the field down the back straight but Bockos Melody, who is in wonderful form at present, charged into the third turn to challenge on the outside of the pace-setter.
Shooting past her rival at this point, the daughter of Droopy Sydney and Ballymac Razl eased on in the very wet conditions to score by two length from the big finishing Pablo Escobark in 30.34 (Conservatively rated .30 slow).
A PERFECT EIGHT FOR CYRNAME
The name of Tullig Cryname was on the lips of many shrewd judges after racing following another brilliant victory.
The Pat Buckley trained Lee Strand winner now boasts an unbeaten record of eight wins and there are no signs of the son of Droopys Sydney and Hail Cleopatra taking his foot off the pedal.
In what was his Shelbourne debut, Morty and PK Ahern’s brilliant youngster looked right at home despite a tough draw in four. Urban Fire and Cryptopunk both went up fast but Tullig Cyrname had them in his sights from the start.
Edging towards the fence from four, Tullig Cyrname stalked the duo into the second bend and, when a gap arrived on the fence, he displayed a brilliant turn of pace to shoot through it. Leading from the sprint traps, he quickly put the result beyond doubt.
Storys Cashout ran a huge race to come through for second, but Tullig Cyrname went on to win by two lengths in 28.26. Both first and second are destined for big things.
MONEY BAGS PICKS UP MORE CASH
Flaminmoneybags (Laughil Blake/ Killaheen Queen) is certainly an aptly named hound as he continues to pick up good prizemoney.
He added another impressive €750 to his earnings in the ninth race over 550yds as he dug deep to lead in the closing yards, denying the long-time leader Crafty Bonanza.
Owned by the Two Laois, Four Kilkenny Syndicate, the October ’19 whelp was never far away and he drew closer around the last two bends before hitting the front on the run in. On the line, Flaminmoneybags had a half length to spare over Crafty Bonanza in 29.99 (.30 slow).
ROCKER A BRIGHT PROSPECT
Droopys Rocker belied his inexperience to emerge a tremendous winner of the second race on the card.
The Johnny Linehan trained winner of the Denis Linehan Solicitors Unraced at Curraheen Park was facing some very talented rivals but she displayed fine early speed up the fence to assert on the bend.
Once doing so, Sean and Pat Hegarty’s son of Loughteen Blanco and Droopys Isabella was never going to be picked up and he stayed on stoutly to contain the running on Hillview Queen by three lengths in 28.44.
IMPROVING CLANG WINS OPENER IN STYLE
Kilgraney Clang continued his rapid progress with a fine display in the opener for Mary and Thomas Buggy.
Rowlers Road flew from traps on the rain saddened track to hold a clear advantage into the bend but Kilgraney Clang turned second and the son of Droopoys Roddick and Kilgraney Vail quickly closed the gap down the back straight.
Savana Hero also displayed fine pace on the wide outside to close in third but Kilgraney Clang got first run on the leader, striking the front just before the third turn. With Savana Hero steering a wide path, Kilgraney Clang moved on before emerging a comfortable four length winner in a fast 28.48.