Given that Friday night’s meeting at Dundalk Stadium took place on the eve of the English Grand National, Aintree Smokey was a fitting winner of the fifth race.
This lad is owned by the Aintree Syndicate, whose members come from around the Dromiskin area, and the probability is that most of them were over in Liverpool for the big meeting.
Gerry Kinahan, Eamon McGinn and the like make the pilgrimage each year, thus the the name of their syndicate and the prefix used when registering the greyhounds. Paul Murtagh is another major shareholder, and there’s no-one more enthusiastic.
If the lads weren’t present, their money could have been, and that’s more important than anything.
Drawn six in a field of inside seeds, it was perhaps no surprise that Smokey – trained in Oldcastle by Oliver Fitzpatrick - was behind in the early stages of the A5 event. Sparkling Daisy cut out the early running to establish a good lead down the back straight.
However, Aintree Smokey displayed a nice turn of pace into the third bend to take a narrow advantage. Sparkling Daisy battled back, and with Gatillos Sophie finishing to good effect, the three flashed past the line together.
A photo showed Aintree Smokey got there by a head from Gatillos, and there was a further short head back to Sparkling Daisy in a time of 29.59.
As a short-head runner-up to Razldazl Rioga in last year’s Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup Final, Cloughtaney Gift looked different class to the rest in the opening race on the card. Punters certainly thought so as an opening show of evens was quickly snapped up.
The Co Meath-based speedster eventually went off at 1/2 and he made even those odds look generous with a smart break from trap three. Drumcrow Impact did his best to keep in touch on the run to the corner but it was a vain pursuit as the leader went further clear up the straight.
Cloughtaney Gift crossed the line 4¾ lengths ahead of Regardstoestelle, with a short head to Drumcrow Impact. Winning time was 21.29, just one spot off the fawn’s career-best which he logged in that Sprint Cup Final defeat.
Owen and Eugene Duffy scored with Black Kelp on Saturday night, the litter-comrade of their previous week’s scorer, Temple Run, leading all the way. The youngster was an odds-on chance and she was brave as she held off the late run of Manilla Beauty.
Later on the same card, Airborne Hawk made the transition from middle distance running to sprinting a successful one, the 5/4 favourite leading throughout to win by a couple of lengths from Tamna Sooki.
Then in the penultimate event, a 550, Gymstar Jumbo gave Cooley Peninsula trainer, Peter Noone, yet another winner, the heavyweight showing a liking for the inside having run most of his previous races from the wide outside.