Lady leads way on finals night at Thurles Greyhound Stadium

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon


Fancied runners, bar one, make the Irish Sprint Cup semi-finals at Dundalk Stadium, writes Joe Carroll

Greyhound racing from Thurles track

All the action from the Thurles track 

A last chance to secure early Christmas presents, the Saturday action at Thurles Greyhound Stadium featured four sweepstake finals as part of the Track Supporters Annual Celebration with the Good News & Belles Direction A1 525 the feature showdown where Roger Brereton’s Lady Lewis produced a brilliant final performance on an action-packed programme.

A brave battling display to qualify from her semi-final, when behind final favourite Star Blake, was rewarded as Lady Lewis (Droopys Jet-Springwell Eva) gave herself every chance to reverse the form when swift to stride from trap 2. Crucially commanding the rails position on the run to the bend, the Brereton charge repelled Moonlight Melody for one length lead at the top of the backstraight.

Little changed to the closing bends with the pair drawing clear but proving strongest in the closing stages, Lady Lewis further asserted on the run to the line for a two-length verdict over a gallant Moonlight Melody in 29.25 (-40), with Star Blake staying strongly for third. Gaining due reward for her admirable consistency, the hugely likeable Lady Lewis was registering a sixth win of a career which has seen her out of the trio placings on just three occasions from 23 races!
Kaye in command

A high quality S1 Track Supporters 330 Yard Stake Final looked a wide-open contest but quickly became a two-runner affair when Diarmuid Quinlan’s Kiwi Kaye (Droopys Jet-Princess Aine) duelled for early supremacy with Borna Jack as the pair made much the best of the start.

Racing as one, the leading duo were locked in battle approaching the opening bend but displaying bravery to match her pace, Kiwi Kaye rounded Borna Jack while preparing to turn before settling the final on the run to the home straight. A rallying runner-up would gallantly reduce arrears nearing the line but scoring a third career win, Kiwi Kaye was full value for a length verdict in a slick 17.92 (-10).

Having caught the eye with a strong staying semi-final second in the A3 525 Yard Stake, Ava Scally’s Cabra Dawn (Over Limit-Cabra Millie) stepped up on previous form when keeping closer tabs on the leaders this time before registering an ultimately dominant final victory.

Holding strong against a bump at the opening bend, the September 2018 whelp advanced to second at the top of the backstraight before bearing down on pacesetter Leamaneigh Dream at halfway. Striking the front before the closing bends, the Scally charge again stayed very strongly thereafter when posting a smart 29.41 (-40) in a six and a half-length verdict over the running-on Borna Bee.

The remaining showdown on the night was the A5 525 Stake and saw the only semi winner to convert a final opportunity when Thomas Everard’s Mackee Mikado (Droopys Nidge-Mackee Biscuit) backed-up last week’s 29.78 (-40) performance with a brave effort to secure glory.

Suitably drawn on the fence, the May 2019 pup was only moderately to stride but pacing up on the inside of a packing field, made her way to third around the bends as rivals suffered bumping. Reaching the backstraight, it was Monadreen Pearl and Abigails Sky who contested the lead and despite closing on these, the Everard youngster lay fourth as Emotion advanced to join the leaders who reached the third bend in a bunch!

Something simply had to give and with crowding up front, Mackee Mikado displayed track craft beyond her experience when switching to the outside before striking the front entering the home stretch. Powering to the line thereafter, she drew clear to a two-length verdict over Emotion in a bump affected 30.10 (-40), with Abigails Sky third.

On his Way to a hattrick?!
Outside of the final action, the highest graded event came over 570 yards and having got back to winning ways at Limerick last time, the Lost In Transit Syndicate’s Onyourway (Ballymac Matt-High St Jesse) ably handled his rise to top grade company in a thrilling AA0 encounter.

Just moderately to stride from trap 6, the Rachel Wheeler trained July 2018 whelp relished the long run to the bend when overhauling Down An Hour for a one length lead upon turning. Keenly pursued by that same rival for the second week in succession, Onyourway thoroughly impressed along the backstraight when readily extending his advantage.
With the race appearing settled at the closing bends, a rallying Down An Hour would give the winner a real scare when gallantly reducing arrears all along the home straight but Onyourway just had enough resolve to defend a shorthead advantage in 31.57 (-40).

Gaining some compensation for defeat in the sprint final, the kennels of Ruairi Dwan bounced back in a warm A2 525 where Borna Rhythm (Cloran Paddy-Borna Gem) secured his second career victory in battling fashion.

Breaking in mid-division, the January 2019 pup reached the opening bend in third position from trap 5 but maintaining a wide berth, advanced to second behind Breathtaking at the top of the backstraight. Overhauling that rival, Borna Rhythm crucially defended a third bend lead against the advancing Rackethall Zoe before repelling that game rival’s late rally by a length and a quarter in 29.40 (-40).

Saturday featured a brace of novice contests and both returned smart winners when firstly, David Sinclair’s Canya Rio (Confident Rankin-Mustang Swift) led throughout his two and half-length debut win in the ON3 525. Slick early pace saw the David Flanagan trained August 2019 pup immediately in command and once turning in advance of Race And Class, he led that rival home in a very pleasing 29.78 (-40).

The following ON2 525 returned an equally impressive winner when Philip Heffernan’s Omar (Confident Rankin-Mayleen) battled bravely to secure second place on the rails before delivering his telling challenge behind early leader Clondotty Seamie along the backstraight. Striking the front beyond halfway, the June 2019 pup drew readily clear to a five and a half length verdict in 29.67 (-40).

That winning time was equalled in the following A3 525 when John McKenna’s Myahs Friend (Ballymac Vic-Littleton On Air) got back to winning ways while taking advantage of her ease from A2. Securing a fifth career win, defence of the inside rail in the early stages ensured a lead around the bends before extending readily clear to halfway. Completing a facile victory with nine lengths in hand over Heavens Storm, she will be a feared opponent in the same grade next time.

Rounding up the Saturday winners, the A5 525 saw Paddy Scally’s Cabra Cleo (Pat C Sabbath-Cabra Laura) shed her maiden tag at the third attempt when bravely securing a first bend lead before the May 2019 pup skipped clear for a three-length verdict over Borna Mint in 29.73 (-40), ensuring a family double for the Thurles kennels on the night.

The remaining A8 525 also brought a maiden win when Michelle Phelan’s Code Chase (Oaks Road-Code Rouge) benefitted for his debut experience, scoring at the second attempt and from an unsuitable trap 6 berth. Seeking the inside on the run to the bend, the lightly raced September 2018 whelp reached the backstraight five lengths in arrears of Sunset Nova before steadily making ground to the closing bends. Striking the front before the home run, Code Chase converted by one length over the staying-on Errill Daithi in 30.23 (-40).

Top Dog
Setting up a treble bid next time, the early pace of Onyourway over extended four bend trips is proving a potent weapon as he proved too tough to contain once again on Saturday.

Best Bitch
Gaining reward for consistency, Lady Lewis returned a brilliant final display in the A1 525 Stake, enhancing her profile as a thoroughly likeable racer.

One To Watch
Not for the first time, Rackethall Zoe (Tyrur Big Mike-Leamaneigh Breda) hinted at better to come when without clear passage in her game second to Borna Rhythm in the A2 525.