There was a bumper crowd at Kilkenny greyhound track for the Frightful Flash McCalmont Cup first round on Friday night. The 2014 ’Cup is an a1 stake in name only.
In truth, the stake was littered with Open class runners. The fastest time of the stake, and of the year, came in the opening heat from the John A. Linehan trained Droopys Der (Ace Hi Rumble-Droopys Twirl). Graigues Kaino showed first but Garryglass Sammy shot by at the bend.
Garryglass Sammy was a length up at the second with Droopys Der chasing. The latter had run the bends nicely. Droopys drew level into the third before blasting clear to win by five and a half lengths in a brilliant 28.71.
The other heat winners were Lough Maller, Woolie No Shoes, Raheen Boy, Risk Of Ice, Ecclestone and Pookies Plan.
From a level start in the a4 opening contest, the reserve Shaws Blaze got the bend on the rails. The leader was sweet on the bends and moved three lengths clear of Old Road Cody. Shaws Blaze moved five lengths clear of one of the backed dogs, Garryglass Ros at the third bend.
Garryglass Ros halved the deficit on the run home but Shaws Blaze saw it out in 29.25.
Race 3 was the second heat in the ’Cup. It was level early before Shunters Gizmo asserted. The leader ran off the bend but still managed to turn down the far side a length in front of Razldazl Banjo. There was no change into the third but approaching the last Lough Maller began to move.
Lunged to win
As Shunters Gizmo looked for the line, Lough Maller lunged on the outer and got up to win by a head in 29.10.
In the next ’Cup heat a blistering display of early pace paved the way for Woolie No Shoes to claim victory. After blasting to the first, Woolie No Shoes went four lengths clear. The lead was up to six lengths into the third and though Move Over Neale ran on, Woolie No Shoes got home in 29.10.
Reigning Langton House Derby champion, Garryglass Marco was all the rage in the fourth heat. The jolly was fast away and led to the first. He was soon joined by Raheen Boy, with the latter going on to shade it at the second bend.
Raheen Boy eased two lengths clear into the third. He maintained the advantage to win in 28.90.
In The Teachers Derby a3 525, Ascot Eoin started fast and led Arabian Arch around the opening two bends. Two lengths up at the second, Ascot Eoin saw his lead evaporate into the third as Arabian Arch joined on the inner.
On the run home, Arabian Arch finished best to hold off the strong finish of Graigues Trade by a length in 29.28.
In the fifth ’Cup heat, the trap 1 runner, Risk of Ice started well on the inner and led around the first bend. Two lengths up on Skyview Blue at the second, Risk of Ice increased his lead to three lengths at the third as Ardrahan Zebo went second.
Risk of Ice stayed on well to defeat Kellymount Gem, who finished strongly by four and a half lengths in 28.95.
Race 8 was another McCalmont Cup heat. From a level break Ecclestone led around the first bend, followed by Floumur Antics.
There was less than a length in it at the second but down the back stretch Ecclestone took control, racing into a two length lead. Flomur Antics came back at the favourite on the way home but the Paul Hennessy trained Ecclestone held on by a length in 29.11.
All the rage
The seventh McCalmont Cup heat had Droopys Daylewis all the rage among punters, but his race was run in a matter of strides. Drunken Thought led up well on the rails followed by Barefoot Arthur.
The leader ran the bends well and was three lengths clear out of the second. The pace was slowed by Pookies Plan down the far side as he powered from third place to get a length clear of Dunken Thought out of the second last. Drunken Thought came back again on the run to the line as Pookies Plan ran wide. Crossing the line, Pookies Plan was a still a neck in front 29.14.
Star of the week
Droopys Der - a massive run despite a sluggish start.
One to Watch - Ascot Fion. Finishes races impressively. Needs to do more early.