Peter Farrell

There was a stacked card on offer at Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night as both the semi finals of the TIME Greyhound Nutrition A4 Confined Derby and the Treaty Cup Open 350 went down for decision.

After three weeks of hugely competitive action, temperatures really increased last weekend in the €20,000 to the winner event as the 28.90 barrier was lifted and Sir Rodger set the standard as he maintained his unbeaten record in the Derby. Michael Keating’s runner has proved a revelation thus far, however, a whole host of trackers still boasted big claims heading into the semis and with just the two runners advancing to the showpiece, there was little margin for error on the night.


Yotota Lad was an eye-catching third last time out as he finished with real intent behind Gaytime Elmo and the Michael Kennedy-trained tracker got his reward last night with another swashbuckling finish in the third semi final.

Owned by The-Retirement-Fund-Syndicate, Yotota Lad boasts a massive engine from the halfway mark and this was on full show in the third semi as he recorded a fourth career victory, two of which have now come in this Derby. Running from his favoured striped jacket, the son of Dorotas Wildcat and Peggotty was again only moderately into stride and in contrast, it was Crokers Hugo that set the pace after a slick exit from four, while Gaytime Elmo was also in close proximity in white. However, it didn’t take long for Yotota Lad to get motoring down the back and within the blink of an eye, he was on the shoulder of Crokers Hugo ready to hit the front. Taking charge entering the penultimate turn, the 5/2 chance pressed home his superior stamina in the closing stages and he emerged a three length winner over Crokers Hugo in second. The time was a brilliant 28.64.


In the opening semi, Sunnybank Mia (6/4) made every inch of the running to score a third victory for joint owners John Fox and Maria Ryan.

Trained by Marie Gilbert, Sunnybank Mia had been performing admirably throughout the Derby and despite being handed a defeat last time out, the May 22’ whelp was still open to much improvement and this was evident from an emphatic performance last night. Running from three, ‘Mia’ took a flier to record a rapid 1.29 sectional and in doing so, quickly excelled into the opener where Glamorous Woohoo set off in chase. Holding a lead of just one length down the back, the choicely bred daughter of Droopys Sydney and Sidarian Pearl proved a tough nut to crack in front as she maintained a relentless gallop to pull clear in the closing stages and record two and a half lengths win overGlamourous Woohoo in second. The time was a brisk 28.71.


As mentioned earlier, Sir Rodger was seeking his fourth straight victory in the Derby in the second semi final and it looked on the cards for the Michael Keating runner until the dying strides.

Sir Rodger has taken this Derby by storm thus far and set the standard last weekend when posting a rapid 28.66 off the front. Expected to take all the beating in the second semi, a fast start was once again required and despite not coming away as fluently as prior rounds, the brindle showed fine early dash to course around runners and take a slender lead from Gortglas Dream in second. Little to separate the duo down the back, the contest was still up in the air as Carrigmore Dante sat in fourth at this point, just behind Goingthewrongway in third. Showing brilliant determination to hit the front at the penultimate turn, it looked like Sir Rodger was on his well to a fourth straight win, however, Carrigmore Dante (Droopys Sydney - Carrigmore Dizzy) really upped the ante entering the home stretch and it was Pat and Aoife Coffey’s heavyweight that was to prevail. A thrilling finish to the second semi final, Carrigmore Dante (3/1) powered to the line where he was a short-head better off than Sir Rodger in second. The time was a fast 28.78.


Elsewhere on the card, the semi finals of the Treaty Cup Open 350 also featured and as expected, Ballinakill Alf dominated his contest to build expertly on his record-breaking display seven days prior.

Running from four, Ballinakill Alf was fresh from his incredible 18.22 clock last weekend and understandable went to traps as the 4/9 favourite to frank the form. Trained by Graham Holland for the Pillar-Syndicate, the son of Pestana and Newinn Madam was again paw-perfect at traprise as he broke brilliantly from his middle berth to hit the sand running. In doing so, he showed his customary awesome early speed to create daylight and that was all she wrote in terms of a contest. Storming clear of his rivals, ‘Alf’ was a class above once more as he raced to a facile four length victory over Trionas Tribe in second. The time was 18.48 as Giglis Ebony claimed the final qualifying position in third.

In the second semi final, Burgess Jack also made it back-to-back wins in the Treaty Cup for his owner Sarah Shannon. It was Hopes Hurricane that went to traps as the 2/1 favourite in this contest and he looked a safe bet when rocketing from trap five to lead. However, after going wrong at the opener, this allowed Burgess Jack to strike and he didn’t need a second invitation for his connections. Coming home strong up the Limerick hill, the son of Burgess Bucks and Droopys Dargle raced to a two length victory over Feshtys Mo in second. The time was 18.73 as Zaconey Vulcan also booked his spot in the decider in third.


On the undercard, there was plenty of TIME Greyhound Nutrition action on offer and the first stake on offer were the semi finals of the TIME Puppy & Sapling A2 525.

After two very strong performances in both semi finals, it was the Evan McAuliffe-owned Drombeg Bear (Grangeview Ten - Blastoff Kat) who went quickest as he made it eight career wins with a blistering display. 3/1 at the off, the June whelp bolted from trap three to lead and in doing so, he quickly created a three length advantage turning into the back. Setting an incredible gallop thereafter, Highview Bizarr made the leader work really hard in the second half of the contest, however, he was to come up short on the night as ‘Bear’ claimed a one and a half length success. The time was 28.56. In the second semi final, the ever-reliable Portdrine Magic made it eleven career victories with another trap-to-line display. 5/2 at the off, the son of Clonbrien Hero posted a rapid 1.25 opening sectional that set him well on his way and he never relented for Liam Carroll in emerging a three length winner, in 28.79.

The first round heats of the TIME Record Breaker A3 600 were next to follow and it was Kyletaun Coco that set the standard for owner Joe Williams.

Incredibly chasing a first win since January, Kyletaun Coco (5/2) broke brilliantly from trap five and immediately moved inwards to just turn in front from Tyrap Malachi in second. Holding a decent advantage over her rival down the back, the daughter of Deerjet Sydney and Velvet Nannykate relished every yard of the tough 600-yard trip as she stayed on stoutly to see off ‘Malachi’ by four lengths. The time was a good 32.66. Heat two proved an impressive front-running performance from Curraghmorecoco as Patrick Conway’s charge made-all from trap two. Holding a three length lead early on, the son of Droopys Sydney and Allowdale Coco shifted up a gear on the run for home as he emerged a six length winner from Father Jack in second. The time was 32.77. The final first round heat was claimed by Crescent Emily (6/4) as she produced a ‘last to first’ display. It was Balrobuck Dream that led early in this contest and in truth, ‘Emily’ looked out with the washing as she trailed the field around the opener. Showing huge progress down the back however, the daughter of Good News and Killenaulerocket, owned by Gabriel Hogan, stormed up the home straight to record a terrific victory. The time for the David Flanagan-trained fawn was 32.75.

The TIME Garmivite Extra A2 550 was the last of the stakes on offer and Gurtnara Jax proved that he will be a tough nut to crack in the decider with a very telling performance.

4/1 at the off, Gurtnara Jax arrived at Limerick with some modest Kilkenny form but the Dave Bourke-trained runner took off in the second semi to emerge a comfortable winner. Running from trap three, Patrick Ryan’s tracker took no prisoners early on as he bolted to lead Beanandgone early doors. Running a super opening corner, the son of Crash and Skilful Daisey quickly excelled into the back to open a healthy advantage and he stayed on expertly to record a virtual solo, five lengths clear of Beanandgone in second. The time was a fast 29.91. In the opening semi final, Cagey Billy came out the right side of a judge’s call for Christopher Delaney. A 3/1 market chance, the son of Pestana and Lilly Lula broke well from six but was forced to play second fiddle behind Dazzes Beauts early on. However, showing fine stamina, ‘Billy’ never gave up the ghost and he produced a strong finish to emerge a short-head winner from Dazzes Beauts in second. The time was 30.26.