It was a good night for punters in Kilkenny on Friday as favourites had the upper hand.
The jollies were led by the improving Likely Gift, who landed the first semi-final of the Pauline Lennon memorial a3 525 Stake. The winner battled it out early on with Russmur Con and got the bend on her rival.
The daughter of Droopys Cain and Luminous Flower stormed clear out of the first and took control as she powered seven lengths clear of Bull Run Blue into the third.
Bull Run Blue kept up the chase but Margaret Lennon’s Likely Gift was four and a half lengths too good. Likely Gift booked her final spot as she stopped the clock in 29.15.
The second semi was won by Ballydaniel Sky while in the a4 bitch stake there were wins for Manvers Melody, Flomur Amy and Droopys Cutey.
The first race was a five dog affair. The money came for Night Time Joxer.
The jolly was led early by Millies Vic, but when Millies Vic came wide on the run up, Night Time Joxer slipped up the inner and into the lead. The strong running leader was soon two lengths clear and there was no stopping him.
He never let up and won in style by nine lengths in 29.44. Millies Vic filled the runner-up spot.
The second race was level early and heading towards the first bend. Into the turn Cheers Jimmy asserted and went on to hold a two length advantage over Rathvilly Paudie and Alloverchampagne at the start of the back stretch.
Rathvilly Paudie went a clear second approaching the third, but Cheers Jimmy was still clear and eased away to win by four and half lengths in 29.71.
In the opening heat of the Coffey Construction a4 bitch stake, Flomur Amy led up from trap 3.
After getting around the bend in front, Flomur Amy skipped two lengths clear into the second. Bogger Realta tracked the leader and looked a real danger.
However, as they turned for home Flomur Amy found plenty and came away to win in 29.54. Goldmine Rosie was second.
The Murt Leahy trained Manvers Melody continued her rich vein of form with victory in the second heat.
After leading up from trap 6, Manvers Melody established a three length lead into the second bend, with Ratchies Kiev in behind.
Ratchies Kiev tried to bridge the gap into the third but the deficit remained at three lengths. Ratchies Kiev did claw back two lengths late on, but Manvers Melody was home and hosed by a length in 29.58.
Droopys Cutey led up on the rails in the third heat. The pace setter came a little wide from trap 1 but still got the bend.
Droopys Cutey kicked three lengths clear into the second, a lead over Nameless Raheen that she maintained into the third. Nameless Raheen closed the gap late on but the Murt Leahy trained Droopys Cutey stuck her neck out to get her first career win.
The winning distance was a neck in 29.56, as trainer Murt Leahy completed a quick fire double.
Rathduff Sarah made the most of the space afforded to her by Killenane Freddy’s desired to head from the rails from trap 5 as she led up on the outer in the sixth contest.
Rathduff Sarah charged clear down the back stretch and looked in complete control. Annual Review showed plenty of dash to chase the long-time leader into the third, but it would not be enough.
Rathduff Sarah continued about her business and saw off Annual Review by two lengths in 29.54.
In the second of the Pauline Lennon memorial a3 semis, Dutch Dream began smartly and led towards the first bend.
Ballydaniel Sky undercut his rival at the bend and took the lead on the rails.
After moving a length clear into the second, Ballydaniel Sky kept Dutch Dream at bay into the third as the favourite looked to draw level.
Ballydaniel Sky dug deep late on and ran out a deserved winner by a length in 29.26 as Dutch Dream finished second.
After a level beginning to race nine, Tomahurra Chase led up on the rails.
The leader ran off the bend and this allowed the slow starting Fennis Brae to take over at the head of affairs.
Fennis Brae went on to hold a length lead at the second, but by the third the odds on favourite, Trumera Quarry was within a length.
In a thrilling finish, Fennis Brae gave his all but it just was not enough as Trumera Quarry lunged late to get up and win by a half a length in 29.60.
Avongate Class began best in the finale and led to the first bend.
There was trouble at the turn and this left just Avongate Class and Clearly in contention. Avongate Class was a length up at the second bend and she doubled that advantage into the third.
Clearly was not finished, however, and when Avongate Class tired up along the home straight Clearly, trained by Paraic Campion, came through to claim victory by a length and a half in 29.45.
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