Zoe sizzles in slick Thurles Greyhound Stadium success on Saturday

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon



Local greyhound training ranks thinning, but the Donegal Dynamo provides plenty to get excited about, writes Joe Carroll

Greyhounds action from Thurles on Saturday evening

All-graded programme featured at Thurles on Saturday evening

In the wake of a brilliant Champion Bitch Stake, the Saturday action at Thurles Greyhound Stadium featured an all-graded programme this week but in a performance that would not have been out of place in that feature event, Liam McGrath’s Rackethall Zoe (Tyrur Big Mike-Leamaneigh Breda) regained the winning thread in a fastest of the night display.

With forward mention in this column for a trio of runner-up finishes over recent weeks, the Toomevara youngster had repeatedly caught the eye in her six-race career start and was not scoring out of turn while doubling her win tally following a sole previous victory in A3.

Contesting in that same grade over 525 this time, the inside seed appeared to have the worst of the draw in trap 6 but finding her best break, the January 2019 whelp contested the early lead with Borna Bee having secured ample room for a gradual drift inward.

Forcefully rounding her closest rival, the McGrath prospect readily struck the front on the run to the backstraight and bounding clear, had reached her three and a half length winning margin by halfway. Never troubled thereafter, Rackethall Zoe posted a very smart 29.21 (-50) on a slow Thurles circuit as Omar impressed in behind while suffering his first career defeat in a strong running second.

Darling Dara bounces back
Having enjoyed a swell of local support in her run to the Champion Bitch semi-final, the popular Railteen Dara (Laughil Blake-Stuckeybawn) returned to graded action on Saturday and immediately picked up where she had left off, scoring a fourth A2 525 win on the spin.

The Patrick Kelly & Michael Skehan favourite had rattled-off an A2 hattrick before stepping into the Open class sphere and proved once again that she is tough to contain at graded level when just about leading throughout. Commanding the inside from trap 2, she crucially denied Tarsna Dettori for a first bend lead and following a brush between the pair, skipped clear to the backstraight.

Four lengths to the good at halfway, the strong running Railteen Dara would not be for catching although Tarsna Dettori exits with much credit having reduced the winning margin to a length and a half in a smart 29.61 (-50).

There was just a sole 570 contest this week but doubling his win tally in a very impressive performance while bouncing back to his best form was Cathal & Alan Bennett’s Chestnut Chief (Coolavanny Jap-Mothers Jam).

His sole previous win had come over the same trip in A4 grade and having reached a high of A2, Saturday’s A3 proved well within compass range once swift to stride from trap 2. Tracking Abigails Sky to the opening turn, the Pairic Campion charge never afforded that rival an easy lead and impressing along the backstraight, struck the front on the approach to the closing bends.

Staying stoutly thereafter, Chestnut Chief completed a dominant victory with six lengths to spare over the eye-catching Flomur Bobby in 32.11 (-50).

Back over 525 yards and next best on the night was Ger White’s Rahyvira Quinn (Skywalker Tuco-Stouke Bird) when landing the concluding A4 contest in strong running fashion.

Slow to stride from trap 2 in his fourth career start, the May 2019 pup paced up well to command the rails when in chase of early leader Demon Say Ten. Securing second place while turning, the White charge reached the backstraight with a strong three lengths to recover but confirming the strong running abilities shown in his short career, steadily reduced the deficit before striking the front at the third turn.

Maintaining a strong gallop to the line, Rahyvira Quinn secured a second victory with two lengths to spare over Demon Say Ten while posting 29.76 (-50).

Claiming the earlier A4 525, Tommy Spillane’s Here Paudie (Skywalker Puma-Flashy Beauty) was one of a host of Saturday winners to secure a first race victory and following a highly competitive career start, the October 2018 whelp was a deserving victor.

Second in his first two outings, the Spillane charge went one better when tracking the early pace of Rememberthetitan before switching inside that rival off the second bend. Impressing along the backstraight, Here Paudie repelled the improving Four For Johnny by a length at the third turn and little changed thereafter as the game winner held that same margin to the line in 29.78 (-50).

There was a brace of sprint races over 330 yards on Saturday and taking an upgrade next time will be Tommy O’Dwyer’s Smokey Leah (Azza Azza Azza-Smokey Zara) following a very smart display to claim the S5 event.

Just a second race outing having been caught late over 525 on debut, the sprint trip was always likely to suit the July 2019 pup and breaking on level terms from trap 5, she duly showed the best early pace on the long run to the bend.

In a hugely creditable effort, Ratchies Origi remained within a length before the O’Dwyer pup asserted while turning with the rails to aid her powerful gallop to victory. Rallying in the home straight, Ratchies Origi kept the winning margin to a length and a half but Smokey Leah was full value for her maiden win in a smart 18.11 (-10).

Less Straight forward
Up the grading table but slower on the clock, the S2 330 was a less straightforward affair with some manner of bump for all runners but that should not detract from a brave eighth career win for Tommy Morrissey’s Errill Tarzan (Tarsna Havana-Mandeville Can).

Over a length adrift of early pacesetter Cabra Cleo, the Morrissey speedster showed slick early pace from trap 1 to draw alongside that rival as Outcast Dreamer also advanced before tackling the bend. All too tight while turning, benefit of the rail proved crucial as the field slowed with bumps all round before Errill Tarzan edged to a lead in the home straight.
Forced to pull out all the stops on the run to the line as Cabra Cleo rallied, Errill Tarzan held on gamely for a shorthead verdict in 18.66 (-10).

Opening the Saturday action in a sole novice contest, Alex Callachan’s We All Matter (Ardnasool Jet-Dundrum Pearl) returned an impressive debut victory while providing a landmark first winner for his young sire, with his first ever runner!
Breaking poorly from his trap 1 draw, the October 2019 pup showed some of his dad’s famous early pace when reducing arrears on the run to the bend. Seizing a narrow lead while turning, We All Matter reached the backstraight with a length in hand over Leamaneigh Scout and little changed to the line thereafter as the Callachan charge posted 30.03.

Rounding up the Saturday winners, the following A6 525 brought a maiden win at the fifth attempt for Philip Heffernan’s Race And Class (World Class-Havana Lottie) when gamely regaining the lead at third turn before posting 30.24 with three lengths in hand over Ellies Pocket.

Patricia Gavin’s Crescent Sydney (Droopys Sydney-Boherna Abbie) also found a first race win in the A8 525 when improving from her debut experience to post 30.41 (-50) in a five and a half length defeat of Foxrock Callum before Maura Milne’s Clonkelly Pulse (Droopys Cain-Boherna Impulse) repeated the feat, posting 30.16 (-50) to claim her A7 525 with five lengths to spare over Stouke Hero in her second career start.

The remaining A5 525 went to Thomas Jordan’s Oakfield Zena (Ballymac Vic-The Other Maddie) as the April 2019 pup battled bravely through early traffic before striking the front at the closing bends. Going back-to-back in her career start, the bright prospect will seek a hattrick next time following a most game half-length verdict over Slaneyside Bambi in 30.25 (-50).

Top Performance
Rackethall Zoe returned a wonderful fastest of the night performance from an unfavourable draw and rising to A1, extends her consistent and progressive profile.

One To Watch
Returning from a near five-month absence, Geoff Parnaby’s Tarsna Dettori (Skywalker Rory-Running Sweet) could have been considered unlucky to find the plucky Railteen Dara to his inner when contesting the lead at the opening bend in their A2 clash. Losing ground when checked, he impressed when rallying beyond halfway and will be tough to contain with this comeback behind him.