Friday night was stake night, with the first round of two competitions at Kilkenny track.
There were bright starts for the A4 Danny Norton Memorial and the A3 Sheridan Insurances Stake, but it was the final race of the night that saw the fastest time of the night.
In this race Fennis Henry came in as reserve for the Kilkenny Track A2 525 but it was Doubtful Venture who continued his rich vein of form, winning his third race on the trot in brilliant fashion. Fast away, he did a scorching 4.31 sectional and literally ran away from the field.
Raggletaggle Rex was always second, but Venture was six lengths too good in 28.99 - he was cheered home by the Carlow contingent.
The opening A6 race saw Cill Dubh Misty lead early on but Big Boss Paddy went clear round the first bend on the outside. Surging clear, he went seven lengths clear down the back straight from Sligo Star to continue owner Paddy Coss’ sequence of wins in recent weeks - Big Boss Paddy won by three and a half lengths from Available Seamus in 29.94.
The second race, the A8, saw Ascot Arkle sent off as an evens favourite. From trap-rise Arkle cut in sharply to the rails and got the bend from Deckos Peggy. Down the back straight, Arkle was four lengths clear and was never troubled to win by three lengths in 29.85.
Jacks Asuperstar went off 5/4 favourite in the first heat of the opening round of the Danny Norton Memorial. At trap-rise Ambitious Diva came wide from trap one with Village Star at rear of field.
Out of the second bend Diva opened up a three length lead from Random Pete. Village Star had worked his way into third place a half a length behind. Star kept closing and got up close home to win a length from the long time leader in 29.79.
The second heat was an open betting contest. Mt Leinster Ash showed good early and led round the first from Laptop Lady. Down the back straight Ash led Lady two lengths but into the third Lady took it up and won a neck in a good time of 29.94
The third heat of the Norton Memorial was another open betting race. From a level break Old Road Jack and Dark Shadow quickly asserted control of the early proceedings. Moving around the first bend Dark Shadow shot clear and led down the back straight by a length from Old Road, with Mt Leinster Jack now in third a further four lengths behind.
Between the last two bends Mt Leinster quickly cut the deficit and went clear up the home straight to win a length and a half from Dark Shadow in a time of 29.61.
The sixth race, heat one of the Sheridan Insurances Stake, saw Kilara Prince sent off as the 6/4 favourite. At trap-rise the favourite walked out of traps with Black Foot fast away. Acres Oak showed all the early pace to lead round the 1st and went six lengths clear down the back straight. Oak was not for catching and won by six lengths in 29.67.
Kilbally Bob was 5/4 favourite in heat two with Blackstone Nero close behind at 6/4 - the duo duly justified the punters’ opinion. At trap-rise Bob was well away while Nero was crowded early and baulked first.
Pops Soldier led Bob round the first but out of the second Bob had joined Pops and his backers were happy. Bob hit the front round the third and held off the unlucky Nero, who had run through the field to challenge between the last two bends. Bob won by four lengths in 29.63.
The third heat of the opening round of the Sheridan Insurances Stake saw Ten for Henry go off as 6/4 favourite but never got in a blow. Instead it was Random Megan who cleared the field on the run to the first, getting there ahead of Kilara Flash. Out of the second bend Megan led Flash by a length and a half, giving the strong running Flash every chance. By the third bend Flash had joined the leader and won by a length from Megan in a time of 29.38.
Star of the Week
Doubtful Venture is on a winning roll. His 28.94 was a sparkling run.
One to Follow
Blackstone Nero ran a blinder in defeat. Crowded at trap-rise and baulked first, Nero will soon be a winner with a clearer run.