Fresh from his success in an A3 competition at Shelbourne Park, Tomdabarker got his challenge for the Land of Legends 525 off to the perfect start at Dundalk Stadium last Saturday night, winning his heat in a session-fastest 29.08.
The Navan-based runner, a son of Hondo Black and Amarantine, did it the hard way, coming from well back to just get the better of Bit Of Action.
It looked good for Stephen Thornton’s Haggardstown tracker, Bit Of Action, as he went four lengths clear in the back stretch. Tomdabarker was at this point trying to recoup the loss he made at the traps, but was still no better placed than fifth.
The Rohan Monerawela dog, however, ran a fine back straight, and turning for home was Bit Of Action’s nearest challenger. The lead changed just shy of the line, Tomdabarker edging in front to score by just under a length. Parnell Jack stayed on to take third.
Carrying a first prize of €1,500, a welcome change for some of the paltry prizefunds for recent competitions, the Land of Legends, for A3 graders, attracted an entry of thirty. The first three from each of the five heats, along with the three fastest fourths, go forward to next Saturday night’s semi-finals.
Togher owner, Michael Doyle, supplied the winner of the concluding heat, his Rathduff Rachael giving a fine frontrunning performance. The former Kilkenny tracker ran from trap four and a good break had her in front rounding the first turn.
Neon Flash was Rahduff Rachael’s final challenger, but the best the Northern runner could do was get to within two-and-a-half lengths of the 29.28 winner.
The popular Tom Dillon, from Drumconrath, saw his Sigma Sophie take the opening heat. This lassie was another to lead from the start, and wasn’t hard pressed to hold out for a length-win in 29.43.
Thursday March 28
Race 1 Catunda Usain won in 21.87 for Michael Byrne (Dublin); Race 2 Fifth St Lady won in 29.11 for Brendan Lockard (Belfast); Race 3 Ballyhill Slide won in 29.45 on 2nd attempt for Anthony Fegan and Downpatrick trainer Damian Maginn; Race 4 Hayeses Field won in 21.57 for Pat O’Connor and Tipperary trainer PJ Tynan; Race 5 Izhesound won in 33.63 for John Dever and Newry trainer Paul Matthews; Race 6 Manilla Jet won in 21.86 for Owner/trainer Deirdre Walsh (Newry); Race 7 Farran Feveez won in 29.27 for Cormac McHugh (Dungannon); Race 8 Dial A Bolt won in 22.30 for Rose Lanney and Rathkenny trainer Martin Lanney.
Saturday March 30
Race 1 Catunda Alfie won in 21.92 on 3rd attempt for Michael Byrne (Dublin); Race 2 Tullygate Lass won in 22.05 on 1st attempt for Rachel Smyth (Monaghan); Race 3 Catunda Putin won in 21.96 for Michael Byrne (Dublin); Race 4 Cian Tigernal won in 29.55 on 6th attempt for Joe Dolan (Bellewstown) and Derek Murtagh (Dundalk); Race 5 Bessbrook Jamie won in 29.37 for William Bradley (Emyvale); Race 6 Sigma Sophie won in 29.43 for Tom Dillon (Navan); Race 7 Tomdabarker won in 29.08 for Rohan Monerawela (Tara); Race 8 Pleasetellfrank won in 29.10 for One-From-Mullagh-Syndicate and Kells trainer Tina McGrane; Race 9 Catunda Elaine won in 21.77 for Rita Downey (Tullyallen); Race 10 Drumsna Messi won in 29.15 for Ray Butler and Larry Costello and Rathkenny trainer Martin Lanney; Race 11 Manilla Breeze won in 29.38 for owner/trainer Deirdre Walsh (Newry); Race 12 Rathduff Rachael won in 29.28 on 8th attempt for Michael Doyle (Drogheda).