It WAS fairly cold at Kilkenny greyhound track on Friday night but there was still a good crowd in attendance to watch the start of two stakes. The 24 dog John Mitchell a2/3 stake was the main attraction.
The fastest time of the night came in the third heat. Some Touch was sent off the favourite but she failed to count, despite trapping out well. Bua Tommy on the other hand sparkled as he powered past Queenofdiamonds to lead at the first bend.
There was a length between the front two at the second turn, but approaching the third Bua Tommy asserted and put a bit more daylight between them. Queenofdiamonds kept on trying but the victory belonged to Paul Dillon’s Bua Tommy (Minnies Pavlova-Oran Pixie). The winning distance was two and a half lengths in 29.25.
The opening heat of the John Mitchell Bookmaker a2/a3 stake saw Garryglass Marco make all the running for a two and a half length victory in 29.42. Two lengths clear at the first, Marco doubled his lead between the bends as Monabrogue Mona gave chase in vain.
Colling Wood moved into second approaching the third bend, but by now Garryglass Marco had built up a six length lead. The challenger managed to eat into the lead late on but was never likely to catch the Karol Ramsbottom trained Garryglass Marco (Hades Rocket-Garryglass Jess).
The key moments in the second heat occurred within a few yards of each other between the last two bends. Clover Cruiser and Barefoot Missile had been battling it out for the lead from early on until they bumped at the second last.
The field was close behind and nearly every dog was forced to check. Clover Cruiser (Royal Impact-Clover Petal), trained by Maria Byrne, recovered quickest and managed to go on to get the win by two and a half lengths from Chaotic Duke in 29.84.
Drunken Thought and Cill Dubh Tommy battled it out to the first bend in the fourth heat. Drunken Thought took the bend much better than his well backed rival and shot five lengths clear into the second. Royal Oak Sammy went in pursuit down the far side but made no impression on Drunken Thought.
Drunken Thought (Ballintoire Brave-Tai Lass) saw his lead halved late on but won well in 29.49.
A nice looking 12 dog a4 Christmas Parties at Kilkenny track stake got underway on Friday night also. In the first semi, Kilkenny newcomer Cathys Express led up from trap 5. Cathys Express was two lengths clear at the second bend but now had the favourite Sup Bel in her rear view mirror.
Sup Bel was within a length at the third, but Cathys Express was proving a tough nut to crack. Cathys Express (Kiowa Sweet Trey-Oran Pixie) kept finding for pressure and in the end, she deservedly held on by a neck in 29.63.
The second semi-final began with the reserve Caulry Hero leading the pack up to the bend. The leader was smart between the bends and increased her lead to four lengths over Ullid Key.
Caulry Hero remained in control to the third bend and was six lengths to the good turning for home. Ullid Key reduced the deficit to two and a half lengths nearing the line but never looked like catching Thomas Kerrigan’s Caulry Hero (Head Bound-Madam Hero) in 29.54.
Ullid Oscar (Elite State-Ullid Judy) enjoyed got back to winning ways after dropping down the grades. The former a1 racer was back down in a5 company as he defeated Jimmys Biscuit by four and a half lengths in 29.47.
Jimmys Biscuit showed best to the bend and led around the first two turns. Ullid Oscar pushed his way into second off the first bend, and sat just two lengths behind the early paced Jimmys Biscuit. Ray Harney’s Ullid Oscar breezed by into the third bend before pulling away for a comfortable win.
The s3 300 was won by Pat Carroll’s Thorn Brae Brett. After a level start Thorn Brae Brett showed his pace as he raced two lengths clear of the pack into the first bend. Trained by Murt Leahy, Thorn Brae Brett (Brett Lee-Bluebell Fantasy) ran the bends well and stayed clear to defeat Ballydaniel Sham by two lengths in 16.51.
The rest of the pack were well behind the front two.
After a number of expensive failures, Philip Fennelly’s Figaruso put it together to win the a4 525. Unlike previous nights, Figaruso was in front early and this proved the key. A length up on Heavens Comet at the first bend, Figaruso doubled his advantage between the bends.
The lead remained intact to the third bend before stamina came into play. Figaruso (Ballymac Ruso-Droopys Caoimhe) does not lack in this area and he eased away to finish four and a half lengths clear of Ascot Andrew in 29.30.