On Friday night a benefit meeting in aid of Prague House was staged at Kilkenny greyhound track.
There was plenty of action on and off the track and an auction for a pup grabbing plenty of attention. The main racing attractions were the semi-finals of the Red Mills Champion Open Unraced Stake.
Although, there were a number of withdrawals, the quality was still very high. John Codd and Diane Brodie’s Cushie Jet had been the star performer in the opening two rounds, and so it proved again.
Running in the second semi-final, the son of Droopys Jet and Except Change trapped out with Ballymac Tabor, but heading to the bend Cushie Jet took control.
The 4/6 favourite powered on and was two lengths clear at the second. Cushie Jet doubled his lead into the third and try as Ballymac Tabor did, he could make no impression.
Cushie Jet crossed the line five and a half lengths clear in a blistering 28.73.
The other semi was won Droopys Berry, while in the a5 stake there were victories for Condor Merlin and Tentothedozen.
The first race was an a5 semi-final. Condor Merlin dominated from start to finish.
After leading up from trap three, Merlin moved two lengths clear of Foulkscourt Hope around the second bend. Condor Merlin extended his advantage to three lengths into the third and was never troubled as he came home two and a half lengths clear of the running on Triangle Dasher in 29.55.
Artistic Captain trapped out well in the second semi, but it was Tentothedozen who led around the first bend.
The wide running favourite moved three lengths clear of Artistic Captain into the back stretch before adding another length to his lead into the second last. Artistic Captain never gave up the chase but Tentothedozen scored by two and a half lengths in 29.45.
There was an early duel for the lead on the outer between Gainstown Sianna and Manvers Melody in Race 3 (a4 525).
The latter just got the bend in front, forcing her rival to check.
Manvers Melody kicked into a four length lead at the second turn, a lead that she held all the way down the back stretch. On the run to the line, Manvers Melody began to fade and Gainstown Sianna edged closer.
Just made it
However, the line came in time for the Murt Leahy trained Manvers Melody, a winner in 29.68.
The fourth race saw a good start from Condor Judy and Trumera Wood. The pair went on around the first bend together with Condor Judy just shading out of the second.
Neither could get clear down into the third and this saw the field pack up behind.
Foulkscourt Mags went on but was forced wide off the last. This allowed the inside runners to come through. Da White Horse took full advantage to grab victoryfrom Trumera Wood in 29.85.
The first semi-final of the Champion Unraced Stake saw just four runners go to traps, but it threw up a thrilling contest.
Kennel mates Droopys Berry and Dignity started best on the outer, and they went to the first together. After a bit of bumping, Droopys Berry went on to lead by a length at the second turn.
Poured it on
Droopys Berry poured it on into the third to move two lengths clear as Ballymac Arminta moved into second. Ballymac Arminta finished well but couldn't catch the Murt Leahy trained Droopys Berry.
Droopys Berry booked her final spot by three quarters of a length in 29.02.
In race six, an a3 bitch 525, Bull Run Babe was the all the way winner. The 4/1 chance was much quicker to the bend than usual and was in front around the opening corner.
Bull Run Babe moved two lengths clear into the back straight before storming five lengths clear of Ratchies Milano turning for home. There was no stopping Bull Run Babe, who won by five and a half lengths in a fine 29.19.
Sober Escape, trained by Karol Ramsbottom, continued his good form as he landed the Open 525.
Bull Run Ballad started fastest but it was Chawke It Down who led up.
Chawke It Down ran wide at the first and this allowed Sober Escape to join him at the head of affairs.
Sober Escape was just shading it into the third, but on the run home he eased away from Chawke It Down.
Bull Run Ballad flew home to give Sober Escape a fright, but Sober held on by a half a length in 29.05.
The penultimate contest saw Totos Gift get a solo. Aided by trouble behind at the first bend, Totos Gift built up a six length lead into the far side.
Foulkscourt Eye tried to make a race of it but remained eight lengths adrift coming off the second last. Foulkscourt Eye did claw back some of the deficit late on but it mattered little as Totos Gift was home by three and a half lengths in 29.34.
The last race of the night was level early doors and into the first bend.
With space at a premium, Go On Ronnie went on along the rails and was a length clear of Sawdust Club out of the second turn.
There was no change into the third but on the run home, Scouser came into the picture.
Go On Ronnie dug deep and held all comers by three quarters of a length in 29.94.
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