Gerry Callan’s Gammy Glitter faces a huge task in this Friday night’s final of the Cross Country/Bexhill Brian Coursing Stake at Dundalk Stadium, but in that respect the Knockbridge bitch is no different than four of the other contenders.
This €1,300-to-the-winner contest for coursing breds has been all about Rio’s Girl, trained by the sponsor, Paul Matthews from Newry. This lassie was sensational in the opening round, winning by nine lengths in a time, 21.08, that wouldn’t be out of place in the Irish Sprint Cup. And as if to prove this was no freak run, she came out in last Saturday night’s semi-finals and repeated the feat, amazingly returning the exact same time.
Rio’s Girl, who reached the semi-finals of last year’s Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park, has drawn one in the final and that won’t inconvenience her in the slightest. She’s sure to go off a very warm favourite, and on all known form, the others are running for a place only.
There is, however, no such thing as an absolute certainty, and you can take it Gerry Callan and his son, Mark, will be trying everything they know to get their charge to the track in top order.
Tom O’Dwyer’s well-known Cashel kennel has two runners in the line-up, litter-comrades Smokey Millie and Smokey Symbol. The first-named has won each of her preliminaries, returning a more than useful 21.50 in the second of them.
The one, however, who’ll be most prominent in the “without the favourite” betting is Lar Na Cathrach. This Waterford-owned and trained dog was nine lengths adrift of Rio’s Girl in the opening round, but getting a clearer run last Saturday night, more than halved that deficit. He’s well enough drawn in four.
The line-up is: 1 Rio’s Girl (Josie Burns, Newry), 2 Smokey Symbol (Tom O’Dwyer, Cashel), 3 Gammy Glimmer (Gerry Callan, Knockbridge), 4 Lar Na Cathrach (Des Flynn and Paul Browne, Waterford), 5 Smokey Millie (Tom O’Dwyer, Cashel), Cracking Lord (John Kennedy, Thurles).
The final of the Land Of Legends 525 takes place at the local track on Friday night, and the one to watch out for here is Fergus Run, one of three locally-based runners in the field.
Trained in Lordship by Peter Noone for Bettystown owner, Bob Rowe, is a most consistent performer, having won 17 of his 73 races. He’s in top nick right now, having recorded the fastest time in each of the two rounds of this €800 competition, and with an inside draw is likely to be top of many lists.
Peter Thompson has Micro Burst going for him, while Colm Farrelly will be hoping to maintain his kennel’s recent good run with his representative, Looks Fishy.
The field for the final is: 1 Fergus Run (Bob Rowe, Bettystown), 2 Ballydavis Ann (Anthony Feenan, Downpatrick) 3 Micro Burst (Peter Thompson, Dundalk), 4 Coran Impact (Joseph Leonard, Lurgan), 5 Looks Fishy (Colm Farrelly, Dundalk), 6 Grumpy Boots (Yvonne Johnson, Drogheda).
Friday May 3
Race 1: Manilla Jet won in 21.56 for owner/trainer Deirdre Walsh (Newry); Race 2: Bandstand won in 29.11 for Conor Byrne (Navan); Race 3: Grumpy Boots won in 29.31 on 11th attempt for Yvonne Johnson (Drogheda); Race 4: Fergus Run won in 29.11 for Bob Rowe and Dundalk trainer Peter Noone; Race 5: Courtlough Rio won in 28.77 for The-Us-Five-Syndicate and Balbriggan trainer Anthony Rooney; Race 6: Tullymurry Maid won in 21.82 on 2nd attempt for Maria Maginn and Downpatrick trainer Damian Maginn; Race 7: Rathduff Rachael won in 29.25 for Michael Doyle (Drogheda); Race 8: Lip Reader won in 21.77 for Brian Larkin (Dunleer).
Saturday May 4
Race 1: Kilnacloy Prince won in 22.07 on 1st attempt for Benny Treanor (Monaghan); Race 2: Spudzontherun won in 21.91 on 1st attempt for Darren and Gerard McAleer (Pomeroy); Race 3: Psycho Bob won in 21.89 for Gary McHugh (Castlederg); Race 4: Coloured Sal won in 29.24 for Brendan and Paul O’Callaghan (Belfast); Race 5: Queen Athena won in 29.31 for Trevor Whyte and Patrick Carroll and Dundalk trainer Peter Noone; Race 6: Smokey Millie won in 21.50 for Thomas A O’Dwyer (Cashel); Race 7: Rios Girl won in 21.08 for Josie Burns and Newry trainer Paul Matthews; Race 8: Jetpak won in 28.78 for Brian Douglas and Michael Kelly and Clogherhead trainer Craig Kelly; Race 9: Piercestown Liam won in 21.36 for Sharon Shinkwin and Piercestown trainer Ronald Shinkwin; Race 10: Goodwill Buddy won in 30.36 for Patrick Rooney (Newry); Race 11: Kansas Citychief won in 29.18 for Ciaran Havern (Newry); Race 12: Sigma Sophie won in 28.99 for Tom Dillon (Navan)