There was just one night of racing at Kilkenny greyhound track last week due to the sad passing of track director, Peter Meany. A minute’s silence was observed on Friday in his memory, and also in memory of Maeve Cuggy, wife of former director Jim Cuggy.
Friday night’s racing marked the start of the eagerly awaited Red Mills Champion Unraced Stake. A good crowd was in attendance with 66 dogs entered to take their chance. It is a stake that regularly throws up some top class trackers, but picking those future stars was not an easy task on Friday.
There was trouble in nearly every race and few dogs got the chance to show what they can really do. Hopefully next week that potential will begin to be realised as they line up for the second round.
The star turn on the opening night was Dermot O’Sullivan’s Belvedere Emma (Big Daddy Cool-Belvedere Olive). In an open betting heat, Helens Champ and Belvedere Emma were sent off the 2/1 joint favourites.
Belvedere Emma showed the value of hitting the lids as she was soon out and gone, with really only Helens Champ for company. Bumping at the first made sure nothing was about to challenge Belvedere Emma.
She was able to increase her lead to four and a half lengths at the second. She continued to race down the far side, completely untroubled. Helens Champ chased Belvedere Emma home but had to settle for second spot, five and a half lengths back in 29.11, the fastest time of the night.
Red Mills stake
The opening winner showed the value of luck. Piercetown Ball was last into the first bend and the heavily backed favourite looked in all sorts of trouble.
Luckily for favourite backers, there was mayhem at the bend and Piercetown Ball (Hondo Black-Piercetown Pet) went from struggling to five lengths clear at the second. There was no doubting the pace of the favourite as he streaked away to win by seven lengths ahead of Whiteys Thirteen.
The winning time was 29.29. Without that huge slice of luck at the first bend, it would surely have been a much different result.
In heat two Black Jaw showed the best early to lead. The pace setter was clear around the first where plenty of bumping took place. The odds on favourite, Navarone was in the middle of the pack at the bend and got shunted backwards.
Black Jaw took full advantage of the open spaces in front of him to move into a commanding lead. Black Jaw (Black Shaw-Anhid Reta), trained by Owen McKenna, stayed away to defeat Ringtown Snowy by four lengths in 29.29. Navarone caught the eye rallying to be third, a further two and a half lengths in arrears.
The third heat was won by the Paul Hennessy trained Priceless Pilot (Late Late Show-Kilara Gypsy). The winner was sent off as favourite but struggled early with only Emmas Present behind him. Once more there was bother at the bend and this saw Whatsonjack clear by two lengths at the second.
Whatsonjack was still in front at the last but came very wide off the home turn. This allowed Rockburst Saint and the fast finishing Priceless Pilot up the inner. Priceless Pilot came home best to win by three lengths in 29.36.
Not best away
Kildallon Tea was sent off the 5/4 favourite for the fourth heat. While the jolly was not best away, he soon found his feet and led into the first bend. Rebel Snowy ran into the back of the leader between bends and lost momentum.
Kildallon Tea raced four lengths clear heading into the third bend. Ballycaum Lass stayed on into second but there was no catching the favourite. Kildallon Tea (Premier Fantasy-Kildallon Lee), owned by Noreen Weir, who obliged by three and a half lengths in 29.39.
As in keeping with so many of the races, there was bother at the first bend in heat six. Fun Guy led around the first bend and was three lengths clear of Starlight Kevin at the second.
The chaser missed the trouble at the turn by being on the rails and set about reeling in Fun Guy down the back straight. Starlight Kevin (Express Ego-Mild Flavour) made no impression into the third but closed the gap coming home before getting up to defeat Fun Guy by two lengths in 29.67.
There was a short priced jolly in the seventh heat as Killdallon Rapid was sent off the 4/7 favourite. After a level start Dry And Mild went on to lead around the first bend. Kildallon Rapid followed the leader but the pair then bumped between bends.
Kildallon Rapid quickly recovered and breezed past Dry And Mild out of the second. Once in front, Kildallon Rapid showed his quality as stormed away for a comprehensive win. Noreen Weir completed a double as Kildallon Rapid romped home, ten lengths clear of Prince Butler in 29.56.
The eighth race saw great expectations for a Kildallon treble as Kildallon Ranger was sent off the 1/5 favourite. However, it was not to be as Kildallon Ranger was hit after traps and struggled to get to the fore.
Boherna Rumble had no such trouble as he led up from trap 1. The raging hot favourite was in second at the start of the back stretch, but made no impression. Instead it was Boherna Rumble who showed all the pace to extend his lead to five lengths at the third bend.
Kildallon Ranger dropped back on the run home as Liam Dwan’s Boherna Rumble (Ace Hi Rumble-Hondo On Air) stormed home to defeat the running on Yonko by six and a half lengths in 29.37.
The clearest run race was the ninth heat. Millbank Laurie was best away and led Castlelyons Zack into the first bend. The pair were usurped by Jimmy Boy around the second but in a very enjoyable race, the front trio were back on terms by the third.
Millbank Laurie got pushed backwards at the third bend as Jimmy Boy kicked for home. Castlelyons Zack (Head Bound-Bright Outlook) covered the move and finished strongly to win by a length in 29.31.
The tenth heat saw Tropical June fly out from trap four and cut across to the rails. Dysert Classic showed plenty of dash to join the early leader into the first bend before going on to lead by four lengths at the second bend. The Maria Byrne trained Dysert Classic continued to dominate down the far side as he pulled six lengths clear.
Dysert Classic (Dysert Poldark-Cauldron Rose) faded dramatically on the run home and was nearly caught by Tropical June. Dysert Classic just held on by a short head in 29.85. Monroe Storm finished smartly to fill third spot and may be the one to take out of the race.
The final heat of the first round provided a local winner in the shape of Ballybough Pa (Ace Hi Rumble-Droopys Bambi). The winner showed the early pace and got the bend ahead of the evens favourite Ringtown Ned.
There was trouble amongst the rest and it quickly became a two dog race. Pat Carroll’s Ballybough Pa was three lengths to the good heading past the halfway point and galloped on to stay those three lengths clear of Ringtown Ned on the way home in a time of 29.48.