Friday night’s racing at St James Park greyhound track was on a wet circuit that saw the track rated .50 slow for the standard trip.
A number of the times were on the slow side, but Sober Escape had no such issues. He clocked the fastest time in the second semi-final of the a1/a2 stake.
Dutch Dream started best and led to the first bend. In behind, Sober Escape tracked well around the first turn to join Dutch Dream into the second. There was only going to be one winner from there.
Sober Escape (Zero Ten-Tullowmac Java), trained by Karol Ramsbottom, edged a length clear into the third before racing away to book his final place by two lengths in a super 29.21.
The other semi went the way of Karlow Rocket. In the a3 semi-finals there were wins for Karlow Leader and Howsyerdaymissus.
The opener saw Acres Hill and Metro Gypsy start best. The former went on and held a two length lead over Old Road Flyer at the second bend.
The challenger shaved off a length into the third despite the best efforts of Acres Hill. Acres Hill dug deep but it was not enough as Old Road Flyer and Metro Gypsy charged late on.
On the line, Old Road Flyer got up to defeat Acres Hill by a short head in 30.22.
In the sprint the start was fairly level. On the run to the first Skeogh Man, trained by Michael Donnelly, asserted and took up the running.
Skeogh Man charged three lengths clear around the bend. He was untroubled from there. Skeogh Man came home three lengths clear of Tulamuck Benny in 16.81.
The first semi of the a4 stake saw Flomur Pete get some reward after his narrow defeat last week.
The winner was best away and led the pack around the first bend. Flomur Pete kicked three lengths clear into the second bend but was chased hard by Autumn Desire into the third, clawing back a length.
This time around Flomur Pete was not going to be denied. Flomur Pete saw off Autumn Desire by a length in 29.86.
The second semi saw Ballygur Santa begin best and set the early fractions. The leader ran the bends well and held a three length lead over Ambitious Glyder down the far side.
The pair were usurped into the third as the odds on favourite Bull Run Bullet charged into the lead.
There was no stopping Bull Run Bullet. She cleared away to win by three and a half lengths in 29.68, with Ambitious Glyder second.
In the a3 stake the early dash came from Triangle Tady and Barefoot Banker. The pair went to the bend together where they tangled.
Barefoot Banker hit the sand and a number of dogs behind were impeded. Triangle Tady was left three lengths clear going down the back stretch, followed by Howsyerdaymissus.
The challenger shaved a length off into the third and kept on coming up the home straight. Triangle Tady gave his all but it was not enough as Howsyerdaymissus, trained by Brian Ellard, got up to snatch victory by a short head in 29.77.
In the night’s staying contest (725), Bubba Maggie began well and led the field early on.
Maggie built a three length lead over Foleys Gift into the third turn and maintained her advantage heading down the far side.
It was all change into the fifth turn as both Bull Run Petal and Obama Country charged into the lead from the pair.
Bull Run Petal and Obama Country battled it out all the way to the line with victory going to Bull Run Petal by three quarters of a length in 41.48.
In The Track Supporters Club a3 525 semi-final, Karlow Leader made the most of a drop back in grade to land the second semi.
Drawn in trap 5, Karlow Leader was soon in front and he led Mydras Vic around the opening two turns. Karlow Leader held a two length lead at the second bend and maintained that advantage all the way to the third.
Mydras Vic could never get on terms and Karlow Leader was then able to hold off the challenge of the running on Sals Express by a length and a half in 29.45.
In the FBD Insurance a1/a2 525 semi-final, after a level start, Sawdust Club showed his early pace to lead up on the rails.
Mt Heaton Daisy followed around the opening two turns, sitting two lengths adrift. There was no change into the third.
Behind, Karlow Rocket was edging closer. Regular sprinter Sawdust Club began to tire up the home straight, while Mt Heaton Daisy crept closer.
The pair were joined on the line by the fast finishing Karlow Rocket.
It was ’Rocket who got the verdict, a short head in front of Sawdust Club, with a further short head back to Mt Heaton Daisy.
Karlow Rocket stopped the clock in 29.87.
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