Racing at Kilkenny greyhound track on Friday night featured a number of semi-finals with the Frightful Flash Kennels McCalmont Cup semis the big ones.
In the opening semi Raheen Boy and Droopys Der shared favouritism, but it was Ardrahan Zebo who showed best early and led the pack. Sunset King followed around the first bend, but saw his rival slip four lengths clear into the second.
The lead was down to three into the third. As Sunset King edged closer on the run home, Droopys Der came home with a rattle. Ardrahan Zebo, trained by Frances O’Donnell, dug deep and held off the challenges in an estimated winning time of 28.80.
The second semi was won by Garryglass Marco. The real excitement was behind where Woolie No Shoes and Barefoot Arthur dead heated for third place. The pair will have to have a match race.
From a level start in race one 525 (a4) Arabian Spirit led early. The pace setter moved two lengths clear of Condor Amy into the second bend but saw that lead reduced into the third as Zippy Sixpence joined the chase. Zippy Sixpence challenged coming home, but Arabian Spirit held on in 29.20.
Race two was an a4 525. It was a hotter looking contest. That did not stop punters backing Tearaway La and steaming into Woe Katie. Both were outdone by the reserve Natureofthetrade, who bounced back to form. Trained by John O’Flynn (junior), Natureofthetrade started smartl and led her rivals a merry dance. Graigues Trade had every chance but Natureofthetrade was a length too good in 28.74, the fastest time of the night.
Race 3 was the Pat Gunner Engineering a3 525 and Hes A Hurricane ran a race and a half to take the opening semi of the 12 dog stake. The winner walked out of trap 1 and was impeded at the first bend. Garryglass Messi had no problems and he built up a seven length.
Hes A Hurricane came home with a real rattle and reeled in the long-time leader. Crossing the line, Hes A Hurricane got up to win in 29.23.
In the second semi-final Garryglass Ros started quickly but was swallowed up at the first bend. There were six in a line going around the turn. Bellmore Shelly went on along the rails and was a length up on Blue Ballydaniel into the second.
Blue Ballydaniel closed the gap and the front pair were level at the third. Neither was able to kick on. This allowed Garryglass Ros to come again and snatch victory in 29.36.
Race 6 was a D1 725 and here Lough Maller started fast and built up a five length lead over Droopys Sprinter into the third bend. The lead remained the same until nearing the fourth turn as Droopys Sprinter began to creep closer. It looked like Droopys Sprinter would pick off Lough Maller but it was Lough Maller who saw it out as two tired dogs crossed the line. Lough Maller held on by a neck in 40.32.
The second semi-final of the McCalmont Cup saw Woolie No Shoes lead Garryglass Marco to the first bend. Woolie No Shoes ran the bends much better and was a good four lengths clear turning down the stretch. The lead was down to two lengths by the third as the leader struggled.
Garryglass Marco wore down Woolie No Shoes on the run home as the field closed up. In a desperate finish, the Karol Ramsbottom trained Skyview Blue got it as Woolie No Shoes and Barefoot Arthur dead heated for third another short head back. The time was 28.90.
In the Harding Brothers a1/a2 525 semi-final, Garryglass Sheba led early followed by Beautys Whisper. The leader was two lengths up at the second but Beautys Whisper shot by into the third bend. The David Flanagan trained Beautys Whisper kicked on but Arabian Arch chased.
In a tight finish, Beautys Whisper held on by a short head in 29.03.
The second semi was bumpy at traps and the first bend. Flomur Antics plotted a wide course and missed it all on his inner. Flomur Antics turned down the back four lengths up but saw Graigues Kaino whittle that down. The challenger checked at the third and that allowed Flomur Antics go on again and seal victory by two and a half lengths in 28.94.