Champion Ava completes a Cabra brace at Thurles Greyhound Stadium

All the action from Thurles Greyhound Stadium

Out of luck in the Sporting Press Irish Oaks last time, the 2020 Thurles Champion Bitch Cabra Ava (Kinloch Brae-Cabra Smokey) was back with a bang in the Premier on Saturday, returning a fastest of the night performance to land the Talking Dogs TV A0 525 while securing a double for her young owner Ava Scally.

A redoubtable talent who is never kept out of the winner’s enclosure for very long, Cabra Ava was back to her best breaking form from trap 3 and edging to a one length first bend lead over Bogger Benny, the June 2017 whelp extended her advantage to two lengths at the top of the back-straight.

The latter would remain a serious threat to the third bend before checked and it was the strong staying Tarsna Havana who pursued the leader to the home-straight but staying powerfully to the line, Cabra Ava extended to four and a half lengths while posting a brilliant 28.71 (-20) on the approach to her fourth birthday in a fortnight’s time.

The first leg of the Ava Scally double had arrived in the earlier A1 570-yard contest with the in-form Cabra Dawn (Over Limit-Cabra Millie) claiming a seventh career win in most game style.

Only moderately to stride from trap 3, the September 2018 whelp tracked Whizzing Katie and Gunboat Showman to the second bend before negating her two and a half-length deficit with powerful pace to the closing bends. Sweeping to the front on the outside, Cabra Dawn skipped readily clear to a three-length verdict over Whizzing Katie in 31.66 (-20).

Soda in fizzing form

Having shown promise in a debut third before an eye-catching second last time, Geoff Parnaby’s Tarsna Soda (Skywalker Rory-Dunclone Cannon) went a long way to delivering on immense promise when claiming Saturday’s A5 525 and looks a pup to follow after a facile maiden victory.

Swifter to stride from trap 5 this time, the August 2019 whelp battled his way to a tight first bend lead before turning across nearest rival Private Jet for full command of the race on the run to the back-straight. Readily dashing clear of crowding for rivals in behind, the Parnaby pup had the race settled by halfway and thoroughly impressed in strong running manner thereafter.

Chased to the home-straight by a gallant Vics Surprise who filled runner-up position from the second bend, Tarsna Soda completed in isolation with eleven lengths in hand at the line while posting a very smart 29.01 (-20).

Another who falls into the bright prospect category following Saturday victory is the improving Ballyphilip Blue (Skywalker Farloe-Ballyphilip Ace) for Jackie Sparrow having found smart progression to claim the concluding A5 525.

A previous A6 scorer, the June 2019 youngster found an improved start from trap 4 and contested the early lead with Heavens Kye to the top of the back-straight. From a half-length adrift, the Sparrow charge drew alongside that rival passing halfway and forcefully claiming the lead on the outside at the third bend, skipped clear for a ready three length verdict while posting a sharp 29.21 (-20).

Next best over the 525, the Three-K-Syndicate’s Nowursinging (Ballymac Best-Steely Dynasty) extended his highly impressive career start with a third win from just four outings when claiming the Track Supporters A4 event.

Bumped in his hattrick bid last time, a return to trap 1 proved ideal once again as the David Flanagan trained September 2019 pup ably defended the inside in the early exchanges before repelling Ballyphilip Sky for a lead around the opening turns. One length to the good along the back-straight, the latter remained a threat throughout, but Nowursinging was not for catching in a two-length verdict while posting 29.32.

A kennel in fine form at present, trainer John Byrne returned winners at three venues over the weekend and his Courty Girl (Laughil Blake-Killaheen Queen) doubled her win tally with an admirable performance to land Saturday’s A2 525 for owner John Meelam.

Contesting above her current grading, the October 2019 pup supplemented her recent A3 score when finding a smart start from trap 4 before battling her way to a one length first bend lead. Sweeping from the middle of the track, the Byrne charge impressed when galloping the turns at pace and settled the race on the run to the back-straight. Pursued to halfway by Master Link, it was Railteen Dara who eventually filled second and though that strong runner did reduce the winning margin to two lengths, Courty Girl was full value for victory in 29.40 (-20).

Following an emotional week with the recent passing of his much-revered dad Johnny, trainer Brendan Everard received a timely lift on Saturday when his Demon Say Ten (Azza Azza Azza-Demon Cause) set up a hattrick bid for owner Joe Bourke when securing back-to-back A3 wins over 525 yards.

Now filling a trio place in all nine of his races, with only one of those in third place, the June 2019 youngster remains admirably consistent, and his early pace once again saw him secure a first bend lead from his ideal trap 6 berth. Stretching clear to halfway, he would have the strong staying Nugget rapidly reducing his advantage late on but held strong for a half-length verdict in a 29.52 (-20).

Saturday featured a brace of sprint contests over 330 yards and a smart S2 event saw James O’Connor’s Micks Energy (Tarsna Havana-Send The Answer) build on his latest maiden win over the trip, setting up a hattrick next time. Breaking just off the lead from trap 5, the October 2019 pup showed the best early dash to lead on the run to the bend before Amazing Music emerged as the chief threat on his outside. In command to the home stretch, the latter gamely closed all the way to the line, but Micks Energy was not for passing in a head verdict while posting 18.03 (-10).

The earlier S6 330 went to John Leahy’s Clondotty Bonnar (Laughil Blake-Clondoty Nancy) and having shown early pace at 525 in his two previous starts, the switch to sprinting proved ideal as the April 2019 youngster dominated following a slick break from trap 6. Drawing clear to a four length first bend lead when tracked through by Hack Up Deise, Clondotty Bonnar ceded ground while running wide but retained a comfortable two and a half length winning margin in 18.26 (10).

Commencing the Saturday action, the opening A6 525 went to Tommy Morrissey’s Errill Cindy (Belles Direction-Geelo Lu Lu), doubling her win tally while leading throughout a head verdict over the eye-catching Chestnut Ghost in 29.71 (-10) before Joe Shanahan’s Crickleowl Billy (Belles Direction-Geelo Lu Lu) claimed his first career win in the following A7 525. Posting 29.96 (-10), the April 2019 youngster held a half length over dead-heating duo Kylenoe Spirit and Definate Ark.

The remaining A4 525 was a keenly contested affair but leaving a pleasing impression when recovering from fifth at the top of the back-straight, Dan Clancy’s Four For Johnny (Droopys Jet-Killduff Kerry) extended her smart strike-rate with a ninth win from 23 starts. Overhauling pacesetter Busy Busy at the third bend, the Clancy winner posted 29.83 (-20) with two lengths to spare.

Top Dog

Finding smart improvement in his third career start, Tarsna Soda (Skywalker Rory-Dunclone Cannon) thoroughly caught the eye with an attractive galloping gait in his dominant A5 victory and looks a smart prospect as an August pup.

Best Bitch

Imperious while claiming the A0 525 contest, Cabra Ava bounced back to her recent sparkling form and retains all of her extensive racing class on the approach to her fourth birthday.

One To Watch

Again, challenging from off the pace, a significant back-straight deficit was not the fault of Tony Bennett’s Chestnut Ghost (Head Bound-Playmistyforme) in Saturday’s opening A6 525 when suffering bumping at the bends and the April 2019 youngster once again showed pace beyond his current grading when only going down by a head to Errill Cindy in 29.71 (-20). His future certainly appears to lie at higher grades and will prove extremely tough to contain when securing clear passage.

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