Friday night featured a high quality card at Kilkenny track with the Prague House benefit meeting and Red Mills Champion Open Unraced Stake semi-finals attracting a large crowd.
The track was at its fastest for the year and that added to the excitement. The second semi of the Novice stake produced a surprise early leader with Sword Fern showing the best pace.
Sword Fern got the bend ahead of Skilful Legend and Shutthe Backddoor, with Skilful Legend forced to check. Shutthe Backdoor drew level into the second and then matched strides with Sword Fern.
Skilful Legend joined the pair at the third. Sword Fern was squeezed out. Skilful Legend looked good on the rails, but suddenly checked.
Shutthe Backdoor slipped clear and the Brendan Matthews trained son of Droopys
Scolari and Give Some More booked his place in the final in 29.08.
The opening semi was won by Material Man. In the 12 dog a2 stake, there were impressive performances from High St Jesse and Cruel Intentions.
The opening race was level early on and into the first. Kestrel Comet looked to be shading it but ran off the bend. This gave High St Flash a dream run and he was left clear into the second.
High St Flash was five lengths clear of Pennys Seabiscuit into the third and though the challenger ran on, the Murt Leahy trained High St Flash was home a winner in 29.30.
The reserve Happy Blossom started fastest in the second race and led around the first bend in the staying contest. The leader ran wide at the second bend and allowed Kilbally Bob and Leigh Oslo move into contention.
Kilbally Bob moved clear around the fourth turn and held it into the fifth. Leigh Oslo kept on pressing but never got on terms. Kilbally Bob held off Leigh Oslo by two and a half lengths in 41.48.
In race three Kilbally Tom followed his brother’s success with a victory. Knockroe Lad was the first to pressure the leader on the back stretch, but could not get by.
Craw Jumper came late but Kilbally Tom kept on going. Crossing the line, Kilbally Tom was still a length to the good in 29.44.
After being knocked out of the Red Mills Unraced Stake, Minglers Thunder took his first chance in graded company. The May 13 whelp flew the traps and sizzled going to the first bend.
The leader was three lengths to the good at the second and added an extra length to his lead into the third. Minglers Thunder never missed a beat later on as he raced on to defeat Sincere Boss in 29.08.
Fastest time of year
In the Red Mills Plus a2 Bitch 525 semi-final, the fastest time of the year was posted by High St Jesse. ’Jesse flew up and was three lengths clear around the first bend.
The well backed Jesse quickly turned the race into a procession and was 12 lengths clear of Tipp the Deise at the third bend. High St Jesse caught everyone’s attention as she scored by over 10 in a sensational 28.83.
The second semi-final produced another trap to line winner. Cruel Intentions flew up to the bend but ran off the bend. The wide running sort had huge early dash though as she moved six lengths clear of Tarsna Danceaway at the second bend.
The challenger clawed back two lengths into the third and kept on coming at Cruel Intentions. In the end, Cruel Intentions was home by a length and a half in 29.14.
In the Red Mills Champion Open Unraced Stake semi-final things were level towards the first bend. Black Alder went on and was a length clear at the second bend, with Derryhogan Flame second.
The lead was two lengths at the third turn and the pair looked to have it between them. Turning for home, Material Man was still disputing last place but he was about to challenge.
The Murt Leahy trained Material Man stormed up and came wide up the home straight to nab the front duo. Material Man got the win in 29.30.
The finale was a race with a lot of early pace. Sallybog Bolt showed the most and got the bend in front. Raheen Boy was stalking her. Sallybog Bolt looked vulnerable but she made it home in 29.16.