A HUGE crowd and top-class racing made the meeting for Muscular Dystrophy Ireland on Saturday night the best Dundalk Stadium has staged since August 15 of last year.
Credit to the organisers. They got sponsors for all twelve races, three of them competition finals, and were responsible for six very fast greyhounds coming together to contest an Open 550. No race was worth less than €400 to the winner, and that must surely have been appreciated by owners.
The finals were over the sprint, 525 and 600 distances, and each was won in convincing fashion, none more so than the Sherry Properties 600.
This brought together Come On Trigger and Royal Affair, each of them carrying an unbeaten record in the competition. Royal Tiger’s interest ended early, with the Ollie Bray-owned bitch sustaining an injury at the opening bend, forcing her to pull up.
By then, however, Come On Trigger had the look of a winner about him. Running from six, the son of Westmead Hawk and Ballinclare Dime showed sprinter’s pace to the opening corner and was clear of the field by the time the unfortunate Royal Tiger had run his race.
The now-winner of five races opened up a huge gap in the back straight, and being one who has won over the track’s gruelling 900 was never likely to be found out late on. He thundered up the home straight to win by 11 lengths from Clonkelly, with Clonlost Bob taking third.
Owned by Dublin’s Kevin Rooney, Come On Trigger recorded a competition-best 33.14. He is trained by Peter Noone at his kennel in Lordship - and here is a young man going places. His kennel is not long established, but has already turned out a good stream of winners. This was trainer Noone’s first in a competition final.
In contrast, brothers Brian and Laurence Jones have been in the game since probably before Peter Noone first saw the light of day – and those before them were also practitioners, one-time 525 national record-holder, Jemmy John, being among the best turned out from the Jones kennel in Carrickmacross by their father, Pete, for his brother Larry.
The lads had the home-bred Gilford Driver (Ballymac Meave-Quadrigo) going for them in the Boylesports.com 400 final, and this consistent three-year-old ran a blinder to win from Big Casino in 21.36.
Big Casino, running from one, raced up to grab the lead at the bend, and was a couple of lengths clear turning in. But Gilford Driver was perfectly placed to deliver a challenge, and after passing Big Casino went away to win by almost three lengths. Faughanfantastic took third, two lengths back.
Imperial Eagle was another to successful defend an unbeaten competition record, winning the TMK Rugs Dromiskin 525 in clear-cut fashion.