There was a top-quality card on offer at Kilkenny greyhound track on Friday night. The bulk of the races were first round heats of the Frightful Flash Kennels McCalmont Cup.
The Paul Hennessy trained Pudgie Budgie put down a marker as he went fastest. Pudgie Budgie started well in company with Dutch Dream.
The latter showed better dash to the turn, but ran wide at the bend. Pudgie Budgie took over and raced four lengths clear into the back straight.
The lead was up to six lengths by the third and Pudgie Budgie was not for catching. Owned by the We-couldn’t-afford-a-Horse syndicate, the son of Taylors Sky and Lemon Lucy raced on to defeat Dutch Dream by six and a half lengths in a sizzling 28.91.
The two finals decided went the way of Foggy Hill and Nametab Ophelia.
In the coursing final, Smokey Megan started fastest and took an early lead. The pace setter appeared to check heading into the first and was passed by Foggy Hill and the slow starting Marshals Blaze.
Marshals Blaze looked to challenge between the bends, but Foggy Hill kept the door shut. Foggy Hill held Marshals Blaze all the way to the line as he took the €650 first prize by a length in 18.21.
After a level start bar Pookies Millie on the rails in the unraced 525 final, Nametab Ophelia got the bend from trap two.
It was tight at first but the inside position saw Nametab Ophelia lead out of the turn. She was a length clear of Lemon Peyton and the improving Pookies Millie at the second.
Pookies Millie tried to bridge the gap into the third, but Nametab Ophelia kicked for home and pulled away to score by three and a half lengths in 29.63. Lemon Peyton got back up for second.
Slow start cost
In the first heat of the McCalmont Cup heats the money came for Ninja Penny before the off. The well backed lady ran on late to claim third, but her chances were diminished by a slow start.
Instead it was Jacobs Deed who set the early fractions. The leader maintained a five length lead down into the third where Road Queen was in hot pursuit.
The Paraic Campion trained Road Queen finished with a flourish to get up and deny Jacobs Deed by a length and a half in 29.48.
The second heat saw a three way dash into the first bend between Lemon Hazel, Come On Irene and Wee Puma.
Lemon Hazel got the bend and moved a length clear of her two rivals into the back stretch. The lead was still at a length by the third as Come On Irene kept up the pressure.
Lemon Hazel found plenty up front and went on to see off the running on Town Jacko by two and a half lengths in 29.32.
The third heat was level at trap rise before Skywlaker Rafa asserted to lead Crew Dog into the first. Crew Dog bumped the rails and impeded those in behind.
Skywalker Rafa stretched six lengths clear out of the second. He easily remained in control for the remainder of the race.
Trained by Michael J. O’ Donovan, Skywalker Rafa ran out a four length winner over the fast finishing Courtmac Regatta in a time of 29.10.
The Hugh Deery trained Random Jet made light work of his rival in the fourth heat. The winner was out in front early and never saw a rival.
A sure winner
Random Jet easily got the bend and opened up a four length lead. The lead was up to seven lengths by the third bend and there was only going to be one winner.
Rastafari Bob ran well to chase home the winner, finishing six and a half length adrift in 29.07.
There are few dogs if any that run the opening two bends in Kilkenny better than Ballybough Murt.
Murt was in an unfavourable position into the opening turn, but he scooted round the outside of his rivals and appeared within a length of the leader Boozed Blue at the second bend.
Ballybough Murt and Boozed Blue were level into the third, but on the run home the Murt Leahy trained Ballybough Murt pulled away to win by two and a half lengths in 29.26.
In heat seven, Ballinurescolari made every yard of the running to win the seventh heat.
The winner started smartly on the rails and led the well backed Shelone Castle around the opening two turns.
Three lengths to the good at the second, Ballinurescolari saw his lead cut back a length into the third. On the run to the line, Ballinurescolari stayed clear to win by two lengths in 29.33.
Carrigoon Risk took the last heat to complete a double for trainer Michael J. O’ Donovan.
The race was even into the first where Carrigoon Risk took over up front. The leader moved two lengths clear into the second before storming five lengths clear into the third.
The favourite, Sober Escape, chased Carrigoon Risk home but crossed the line three lengths in arrears in 29.22.
For more on Kilkeny People sport read here.