On Friday night there were a number of high quality performers on view at Kilkenny greyhound track.
The best of the lot was the David Flanagan trained Lamestep in the semi-final of the Dublin Coach a1 Stake.
This one showed fair class and caught the eye big time.
Lametsep started fast and led up on the outer. The leader raced two lengths clear of Music Master and Random Jet into the back stretch.
The lead was still at two lengths by the third as the daughter of Tullymurry Act and Locnamon Sarah kicked for home. Obama Country came with his usual late surge, but it was not enough as Lamestep took the win by a neck in 29.16, the fastest time of the night.
The other a1 winner was Bluebell China, while Kippers Express and Florican Velvet were two novices that impressed.
In race one, the Karlow Kennels Open Novice 2 525, Florican Velvet showed early on the inner and led the opener into the bend.
The pace setter slipped two lengths clear of the hot favourite Talbot’s Inch into the second bend before maintaining that advantage all the way to the third. Talbot’s Inch finished strongly but the gutsy Florican Velvet dug deep to hold on by a short head in 29.53.
In the second semi final Kippers Express led up on the rails and avoided the trouble in behind at the first bend.
Not to be caught
Kippers Express slipped eight length clear into the back stretch and was never going to be caught from there. Sunset Daisy ran well in behind to claim second spot, six and a half lengths in arrears of Kippers Express in 29.46.
Race three was a Kilkenny Limestone Quarry d2 725 semi-final.
In what was the first of the staying races, Corgrigg Castle was the first to show. Power Style soon took it up, followed by Sound Chap.
The pair were level by the third and stayed that way into the back stretch for the second time. Into the fifth the William Finn trained Sound Chap took over, racing three lengths clear of his nearest rival.
On the run home Sound Chap stayed clear to win by three and a half lengths in 41.22.
The second semi-final began with Kiltrea Ellie to the fore. The pace setter never got too far clear as Missing Postman joined her around the third turn.
It was nip and tuck between the pair from the third turn all the way to the home stretch.
In the latter stages of the contest, Bandit charged into the picture also. The trio went across the line together with Missing Postman getting the verdict by a short head in front of Kiltrea Ellie in a time of 41.89.
Race five was a Black and Amber Kennels a3 525 semi-final.
Condor Judy started fast and led around the first bend. The early leader was joined by Lemon Daithi into the second and they went down the far side locked together.
Off the third Lemon Daithi kicked on. Condor Judy tried to come back for more but Lemon Daithi saw her off by three quarters of a length in 29.23.
The favourite Tommys Dream set the ealy fractions in the second semi-final and led into the first bend.
Tommys Dream raced four lengths clear into the second as Coolside Walker gave chase. The lead was down to three lengths by the third as the challengers lined up in behind.
Coolside Walker and Bull Run Blue both finished well to pass Tommys Dream up the home straight.
In a thrilling finish, Bull Run Blue got the better of Coolside Walker by a short head in 29.59.
In the novice 725, Ninja Nagato justified favouritism with a clear cut victory.
After leading around the first bend the jolly avoided the bumping behind and stretch out into a clear lead.
Ninja Nagato, trained by Margaret Fortune, was soon eight lengths to the good and not for catching.
Charjam chased hard for much of the contest but could not reel in the runaway winner. Ninja Nagato took the victory, six lengths in front of Charjam in a time of 41.32.
In the finale, Bluebell China led up on the rails.
After running a smart opening turn, Bluebell China moved two lengths clear of Blitzem Bill and Fill The Till into the back stretch.
The field closed up into the third but Bluebell China continued to hold a length advantage.
On the run home, the Brian Ellard trained Bluebell China refused to yield and saw off her kennel companion Fill The Till by a length in 29.20.
Run of the week
Lamestep - this one was anything but the name might suggest. Booked her place in the final with a very polished performance.
Looks a big player next Sunday.
One to follow
Trade Cabrina - Showed big pace from the halfway point in the novice semi-final.
This one looks to have a bright future.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.