On a night when one of the area’s leading trainers withdrew his runners, claiming the “track was not safe for racing”, Demo selection, Steely Endeavour, made full use of his inside draw to carve out a two-length win in the final of the Fundraising Made Easy 525 at Dundalk Stadium on Saturday night.
Craig Kelly had three runners of the 12-race card, but soon after racing had commenced it was announced they had been withdrawn “without the permission of the Stewards”.
Speaking afterwards, Kelly said he trialled two from his Clogherhead kennel before racing and their times were “well back on the previous week”. He felt the track was not safe and decided to pull out his three runners.
He was, however, not given permission by the Stewards to do so. One of them, Jim Martin, said the Control Steward was consulted, and he was “happy with the condition of the track”.
There were no problems for the Castleblayney-based Steely Endeavour in the €1,100-to-the-winner decider. Catherine and Joe Kerr’s home-bred son of Droopys Vieri and Lady Dreamer was a good first round winner, clocking 28.82. The five box was not to his liking in the semi-finals, when he finished second to Wee Martin – but he was dressed to the nines for the final, wearing the red sheet.
Unable to do himself justice in a hot Newbridge final last September because of injury, Steely Endeavour was perfectly primed for this outing. He took off fast from traps, and at the opening bend had a length lead from Limekiln Narco.
William Magee’s Lisburn runner, Limekiln, drew level in the back straight, but the Kerr dog had the inside and that was decisive. He pushed on rounding the final bend, and though Limekiln stayed ahead of the others he couldn’t peg back the one in front.
A litter-comrade of Steely Champ, who won a 600 competition for the Kerrs late last season before being sold, the winner had a couple of lengths to spare, recording 28.94. Fastest semi-final winner, Wee Martin, was on the premises for most of the journey but was passed late on by both Imperial Eagle and Mark Street Lass, who dead-heated for third.
Daughter of veteran owner/breeder Tony Nugent, Catherine Kerr was in Clonmel for the weekend, but hadn’t to wait long before told of her kennel’s latest competition win.
Another local flag was flown over the weekend, who else but Colm Farrelly doing the waving. The Hackballscross owner had Looks Fishy going for him in a graded 525 at the Louth GAA benefit meeting on Friday night, and he was as game as they come, getting up to score by just under a length from Millview Red in 29.37. This was the home-bred’s third win from seven outings.