There was a bumper crowd in attendance on Friday night at Kilkenny greyhound track when the final of the Red Mills juvenile stake took centre stage. A benefit meeting for Fenians (Johnstown) GAA club also helped add to the great atmosphere.
There was also a presentation made to Milldean Sally and her trainer John O’Flynn (junior) to mark her brilliant success in the Irish Oaks.
In the big one, Skywalker Puma was sent off the 5/4 favourite with plenty of support for trap 4 Liveanddangerous also. Keelogs Diamond was the first to show followed by Priceless Sky. Skywalker Puma was in third approaching the opening turn before crowding between the first three ensued.
When the sand settled, Skywalker Puma was in front and about to show why he is regarded as one of the fastest in training. He simply opened up down the far side and streaked clear. Keelogs Diamond gamely gave chase but made no impression.
The Francis O’Donnell trained Skywalker Puma (Royal Impact-Dianas Ranger) was poetry in motion as he swept home to win by six and a half lengths in 28.90 claiming the first prize of 5,200 euro in the process. While the stake failed to attract the 48 dogs it was advertised for, it has no doubt been a huge success and hopefully will be a fixture that will grow in years to come.
Favourite backers got off to a winning start in what was a messy opening a6 race. Dongib Judy led up from trap 1 but failed to run the bend. She impeded all bar Lemon Prince and Lughill Percy. Lemon Prince was left two lengths clear into the second, a lead he extended to six lengths by the third.
Lemon Prince (Ballymac Maeve-Lemon Blossom) kept on motoring up front and ran out a very easy eight and a half lengths winner in 29.41.
Inmojohands ran a race and a half to claim the a4/a5 race. The winner was fifth into the first bend and took a hefty bump at the bend which dropped him back to last, six lengths off the leader. That leader was Dixies Special who led Tarsna Rossi passing the halfway point.
Rossi took it up into the third bend but the field was closimg up in behind, led by the recovering Inmojohands.In a blanket finish, it was Inmjohands that stayed on best to defeat Tarsna Rossi by a half a length in 29.91.
The a3 race saw lots of early pace from trap 3 Kilcloney Tiger and he led the pack to the first. There was trouble behind the leader as Karlow Ming hit the rails. Kilcloney Tiger was oblivious to that bother as he pulled twelve lengths clear of Old Road Tiny and Karlow Ming. Into the third bend though, the leader began to struggle.
By the last Kilcloney Tiger was all out and Karlow Ming picked him off easily. Karlwo Ming (Droopys Maldini-Quam Celerrime) picked up an unlikely win by four lengths in 29.74.
The fourth race was another a3 contest. This one was won from the front by the Jimmy Scott trained Murlens Mave (Ballymac Maeve-Lemon Abby). The winner was best away and led the field by two lengths at the first bend. Lemon Leaine closed to within a length at the second but Murlens Mave ran the back straight better to re-establish a three length lead at the third.
In a real tussle, Lemon Leaine finished well to get within a length but Murlens Mave held on for a win in 29.34.
The fifth race on the card was the final of the James Tynan a3 stake. Priceless Pilot and Ballybough Pa were sent off the joint favourites were spectators wondering if the former would be able to be lie close enough early doors to make his rousing finishing ability pay. From traps those on the inside were squeezed for room. Priceless Pilot did not have the early pace to take advantage so found himself back in last going to the first.
Locnamon Bridie went on and was two lengths clear of the pack at the second. Priceless Pilot was now up to fifth, six lengths off the lead. The field closed up on the leader into the third and rounding the second last only two lengths separated five dogs. Priceless Pilot appeared to check at this point as Inkerman kicked on. Inkerman looked like he made get to the line in front but the Pilot swooped late in the day to get up and win by a length in 29.17.
Priceless Pilot (Late Late Show-Kilara Gypsy) trained by Paul Hennessy took home the 1600 euro first prize, thanks to what is becoming a trademark late surge.
The a2 525 was won by Pauline Lennon’s Lemon Mel (Premier Fantasy-Lemon Abby). Rathorpe Boss was the best to the first bend and led the pack by a length. Lemon Mel joined Rathorpe Boss between the bends and the pair were nip and tuck all the way to the third bend.
Lemon Mel went on off the second last and though Skywalker Silk tried to reel her in, Lemon Mel had this one in the bag by three lengths in 29.10.
The a1 525 saw Ballygur Ted lead early on. After getting around the first bend in front, Ballygur Ted eased three lengths clear of the back into the second. Ballygur Ted was still two lengths to the good at the third but Big Bam was on the move. The gutsy Ballygur Ted dug deep up front and held on for much of the home straight.
It was not enough though as Big Bam and Sawdust Terry swept by in the shadow of the post. The verdict went to Big Bam (Top Honcho-Tyrur Footsteps) by a short head in 29.28, with Sawdust Terry in second. The long time leader, Ballygur Ted was a further half a length back in third.
The final race on the card was an a2 contest. After a level start, a six dogs were up with the pace going to the first bend. Locnamon Angel went on but was soon passed by Dublinhill Boy. Dublinhill Boy raced two lengths ahead of Locnamon Angel passing the halfway point but by the third, Locnamon Angel was back within striking distance.
Locnamon Angel (Royal Impact-Locnamon Belle) strongly on the rails to win by two lengths in 29.37.