Big prospect puts on Deadly Show at Thurles

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon


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

All the latest from Thurles greyhound stadium

All the latest from Thurles greyhound stadium

Sprint racing at Thurles Greyhound Stadium remains a vibrant scene in 2021 and not for the first time this season, the 330-yard trip returned the most impressive Saturday performance as young trainer Mark O’Donovan added further to his current purple patch when hot prospect Deadly Big Show (Droopys Jet-Humble Star) scorched to victory in his Open contest.

Another smart recruit for owner Garry Hannon, the September 2018 whelp only commenced his career at the beginning of April with a blistering 15.91 debut over 300 yards at Clonmel. Finding traffic at Tralee last time, this Thurles outing was just his third career start and securing clear passage with a level break from trap 2, he confirmed that his belated career start was very much worth the wait.

Quickly drawing clear of the field with powerful early pace, his attractive galloping gait saw the O’Donovan speedster reach his six-length winning margin before tackling the first bend. Pursued by Flomur Steve who just shaded second position at the turn, the latter would give game chase to the line but never threatened in a dominant display, Deadly Big Show lived up to his name in a stunning 17.58 (-10)!

Quinn and Alex shine at 525
On a warm Saturday evening with the track on the fast side, the usual going rating was halved for the four bend distances but that couldn’t mask some sparkling performances throughout the card, and it was Gerard White’s Rahyvira Quinn (Skywalker Tuco-Stouke Bird) who led the way at 525 as the May 2019 pup continued his smart career start with A3 victory.

A recent A4 scorer, his best start to date saw the Quinn charge just shade matters in the early exchanges before securing a one length lead at the opening bend. Extending clear of Coffee Dock to the back-straight, Rahyvira Quinn had the verdict settled by halfway when over six lengths to the good.

In behind, Borna Barney impressed when advancing to second before reducing the arrears to just two lengths at the line but a smart prospect, Rahyvira Quinn was not for catching in his third win from six races while posting 28.95 (-20).
All but matching that effort in the following A0 525, John Butler’s Neon Alex (Droopys Roddick-Boraderra Angel) resoundingly confirmed that his latest A4 victory was no flash in the pan as the late flourisher ably coped with his big upgrade in a dominant third career success.

The April 2018 whelp had missed a year of his racing career before returning to action this season and now beginning to fully realise his potential, will seek a hattrick next time. Moderately to stride from trap 2, he lay fourth to the opening bend but gaining a place to the back-straight, set sights on Keefill Arthur to halfway.

Powering to the closing bends, the Butler powerhouse joined the leader at the third turn and wasting little time before striking the front, skipped readily clear thereafter. Staying stoutly to the line, Neon Alex posted 28.97 (-20) in a hugely impressive five length verdict over a gallant Keefill Arthur.

Any time that Roger Brereton’s Lady Lewis (Droopys Jet-Springwell Eva) is offered leeway on the grading table, she invariably takes advantage and following her runner-up performance in A1 last time, the wonderfully consistent bitch duly took advantage while claiming her eleventh career victory in Saturday’s thrilling A2 525 contest.

Breaking on level terms from trap 2, the March 2018 whelp crucially gained command of the rails position approaching the first bend when repelling Tarsna Dettori for a lead to the back-straight. Extending to three lengths at halfway, the Brereton stalwart would face an inevitable rally from that same rival beyond halfway and the pair duly served up a cracker as Tarsna Dettori reduced his deficit to the home-straight.

Resolute out front however, the ever game Lady Lewis repelled the late threat when clinging to a short-head winning margin in a smart 29.06 (-20).

There were two further sprint contests on Saturday and the S1 330 proved another highly competitive affair as Active Display (Laughil Blake-Active Air) doubled his win tally in brave fashion for John Commins.

Breaking just off the lead from trap 3, he would reach full stride in mid-division as Cabra Beauty held a narrow advantage throughout the early exchanges. A smart turn of pace approaching the first bend would, however, see the Commins charge strike the front while turning. A length to the good in the home stretch, Active Display saw her lead halved to the line but ably repelled the rallying Cabra Beauty in 17.99 (-10).

The remaining 330-yard contest came in S5 grade and brought debut victory for Michelle Phelan’s Code Jackal (Oaks Road-Code Rouge) in his belated career start. A September 2018 whelp, he contested the lead in tight quarters throughout the early exchanges before extending his narrow first bend advantage to three and a half lengths at the line while posting 18.35 (-10) in advance of Demon Ziggy.

Flanagan on song in Saturday brace
Saturday featured a sole novice contest over 525 yards and the ON3 event returned a smart debut winner as the Three K Syndicate’s Nowursinging (Ballymac Best-Steely Dynasty) sparked a double for trainer David Flanagan.

Moderately to stride from trap 1, the September 2019 pup showed smart dash to crucially defend his rails pitch at the opening bend, but he would be forced to cede a halfway lead to the sharp Swift Fellowship. Rallying on the run to the closing bends, the Flanagan charge again struck the front and Nowursinging completed a hugely pleasing debut win with two lengths to spare over the staying-on Volcanic Jewel in 29.62 (-20).

Completing the Flanagan double in the later A6 525, Catrina Sodersten’s Cabra Air (Kinloch Brae-Cabra Smokey) doubled her win tally in a seventh race outing. Breaking well from trap 3, the June 2019 pup would cede the early lead to Flashy Mia but never more than a length adrift, struck the front at halfway before extending to a comfortable four length winning margin over the fast-finishing Heavens Kye in 29.29 (-20).

Next best on the night when finding marked improvement in the A7 525, Ann Taylor’s Get In Front (Skywalker Puma-Over The Limit) will take a big step up the grading ladder following a maiden success at the ninth time of asking. Moderately to stride from trap 1, the January 2019 whelp reached the back-straight in third but impressively began to reduce his four length arrears on the run to halfway.

Extremely eye-catching while joining pacesetter Rashersnatcher at the third bend, the Taylor youngster extended readily clear thereafter with three and a half lengths to spare over that same rival in a smart 29.26 (-20).

Saturday’s sole 570 contest came in A4 grade and gaining reward for a host of solid placed efforts of late, Kim Taylor’s Breathtaking (Good News-Ballymac Abigal) doubled her win haul in dominant fashion. Breaking smartly from trap 4, the April 2018 whelp led Errill Daithi to the opening bend before extending to near five lengths at the top of the back-straight. The latter did reduce the deficit when staying stoutly to the line but Breathtaking was not for catching in a two-length verdict while posting 31.57 (-20).

Approaching veteran status, the night’s A5 525 went to John O’Connell’s Oakvale Bear (Scolari Me Daddy-Windmill Daisey) who secured a second win from his last three outings as the July 2017 whelp dominated throughout. Never sighting a rival following a smart break from trap 3, he impressed from halfway when extending to a commanding seven length verdict over Delta Work in 29.55 (-20).

Rounding out the programme in the concluding A4 525, June 2019 pup Hollyhill Sonny (Kinloch Brae-Boom Time) secured his fourth career win from just eight starts for owner Gerard Gubbins. Reeling in pacesetter Rifles Flash at the closing bends, the Pairic Campion charge held three lengths over the strong staying Slanestown Nidge in 29.40 (-20).

Top Dog
Deadly Big Show (Droopys Jet-Humble Star) may have commenced his career quite late but his 330-yard victory oozed class and from the all-conquering Mark O’Donovan kennel, is an intriguing runner to follow throughout the season.

Best Bitch
The wonderful Lady Lewis (Droopys Jet-Springwell Eva) is a stalwart of top graded company at Thurles and following her A2 victory on Saturday, has now only missed out on the trio places in five of her 27 starts.

Most Promising Debut
Having battled bravely to get to the front in his ON3 contest, Nowursinging (Ballymac Best-Steely Dynasty) left a pleasing impression with pace at all points of his 29.62 (-20) debut score.

One To Watch
He’s going to take a step back up to A2 for his second placing behind Rahyvira Quinn but Ruairi Dwan’s Borna Barney (Cloran Paddy-Borna Gem) again caught the eye when staying strongly after an early bump and his next clear passage will surely deliver an overdue second career win.