On the night when one of our own, Slippery Robert, was given given recognition by the track management for his wonderful achievement at Shelbourne Park a number of weeks back (see Inside Track), there were a few on Dundalk Stadium’s Friday night card who could go on to something good if not exactly reach heights attained by this year’s EPS Irish Derby winner.
Droopys Rapid opened the eight-race programme by keeping his unbeaten record intact. The Ace Hi Rumble dog, trained by Martin Lanney for Belfast’s Stephen Townsley, won a heat of the Great Eastern Bar 525 in the style of a good ‘un; and having drawn one in the first of the semi-finals can be expected to make it four from four this weekend.
The 76-pounder won his two previous races, both at Shelbourne Park, and on making a winning Dowdallshill debut won by just over six lengths and recorded 28.87, which is an excellent return for an April pup.
Banshee Evan and Homeless Hawk were good in the same competition, both scoring big-margin wins. The first-named is owned by a proud son of the Quay area of town, the now Co Kildare-based Owen Kerr, and is it Owen’s brothers, Paddy and Philip who’ve now got the now-winner of four in their care.
Colm Farrelly’s Looks Fishy finished third behind Banshee and is among the 12 who’ll contest this weekend’s semi-finals.
The An Cu Veterinary semi-finals also featured on Friday’s card, and fastest here was Homeless Hawk, owned in partnership by the competition sponsor, Brian Jones, and his brother Laurence. Jemmy Boy took the other semi-final, winning for the youthful Leonard O’Hanlon from Dunshaughlin, in Co Meath, and the likelihood is that betting on the final will centre on these two.
The line-up for the decider is - 1: Kyllians Lady (Dan Gregory, Belfast), 2: Monaghan Hawk (Brian and Laurence Jones, Dundalk and Carrickmacross), 3: Belmur Weeshie (Derek Murtagh, Dundalk), 4: Kevins Katie (Kevin Keenan, Ballycastle), 5: Rosmon Park (Paddy McGlynn, Tyholland), 6: Jemmy Boy (Leonard O’Hanlon, Dunshaughlin).
Eoins Billy, highlighted here last week, has done it again, his win on Saturday night being the 27th of his 112-race career. Gerry Irwins Castleblayney home-bred is in his sixth year, but far from losing his zest for the game is as keen as he was on the first day he was taken to the track.
A 4/1 chance, he ran in a 550 and showing in front at the traps, held off the others’ challenges to win by just under a length in 30.73. he now occupies his highest ever grade, which says something for a dog who’s in his fifth campaign.