With only one night’s racing in Kilkenny during January and February, the first meeting of 2015 was held on Friday.
The track was on the slow side and no dog managed to break 29.50. The fastest time was posted by the Paul Hennessy trained Oxford Girl after she came in as a reserve into the a4 contest.
The winner was well away but was held up by Old Road Cody as Blue Ballydaniel led up the rails. Blue Ballydaniel moved a length clear of Oxford Girl into the second bend, but down the far side Tony and Lorraine Howard’s daughter of Droopys Scolari and Olympic Stunner showed real pace.
She powered into a two lengths lead. Oxford Girl galloped home to win by four lengths in 29.56.
Trainer Michael English completed a double with victories for Hi Rachael and By A Whisker.
The opening race of 2015 saw Urard Chaton and Veraisalady go to the bend together. Urard Chaton got around on the rails as Veraisalady was impeded.
Urard Chaton was five lengths clear of Hi Rachael at the second bend but saw that lead whittled down to two lengths around the third. The Michael English trained Hi Rachael got up on the line to win by a short head in 30.08.
In race two Ohme Ohde showed first from traps. High St Mondo showed early to blast into the lead ahead of Take Away Lady.
Showing huge early pace High St Mondo shot six lengths clear into the second bend and maintained that to the third as Kilara Edi began to come into the picture. Kilara Edi picked off High St Mondo when the long-time leader faded and the Paul Hennessy trained Edi obliged by a length and a half in 29.67.
Chums Fiver showed early in race three and led Feed Me Caviar to the first turn. The pace setter moved three lengths clear of Random Megan and Feed Me Caviar at the second bend.
The lead was up to four lengths by the third turn and the prolific Chums Fiver stayed clear of Random Megan coming home to win by four lengths in 29.76.
The first semi-final of the 12 dog a5 benefit stake saw Runya Beach, Feed Me Subway and By A Whisker go to the bend together. After some bumping, By A Whisker went on along the outer and was three lengths clear of Runya Beach turning down the far side.
Runya Beach flew into the third bend and caught the leader. However, Runya Beach never hit the front and after plenty of bumping and boring, victory went to the Michael English trained By A Whisker.
The winning distance was a length and a half in 29.98.
The second semi-final in the benefit stake was level early. Feed Me Mangos went on and was two lengths ahead of Baile Na Lochain and Acres Star at the second turn.
Baile Na Lochain showed the pace of the race to take over at the head of affairs at the third bend. Baile Na Lochain kept on going to defeat Feed Me Mangos by two and a half lengths in 29.62.
As expected, Pops Sandie was the first to show in the a3 contest. He led around the opening two bends.
Two lengths clear of Triangle Jamie and Mt Leinster Ash at the second bend, Pops Sandie saw her lead halved into the third. Triangle Jamie got by a little easier on the outer and outstayed his rivals to win by two lengths in 29.58.
Mt Leinster Ash filled the runner up spot.
From a level start, the field was still tight into the first bend. Fiancee Alsation was smart between the bends and took a length out of his rivals.
Dysert Ranger was closest to the leader at the third bend, just a half a length back, with Dive Bomber also moving into contention. On the run home, Dysert Ranger, trained by Maria Byrne, showed the best finish to see off Fiancee Alsation in 29.78. A length back was Dive Bomber in third.
The finale was a race tingled with disappointment. The race had been a very enjoyable contest as Garryglass Sheba led down to the third bend as Dysert Noir and Kilbally Bob challenged.
The leader suffered a very bad injury as she tangled with Dysert Noir around the third turn. Kilbally Bob took it up on the run home to defeat Dysert Noir by two lengths in 29.90.