Dundalk has a worthy Con & Anne Kirby Memorial 525 representative in Borna Native. The recent recruit to Craig Kelly’s Clogherhead kennel won the track’s trial stake in impressive fashion on Saturday night and now heads to Limerick with a sound chance of landing a huge pot in the JP McManus-sponsored event.
The line-up for the qualifier was good, Borna Native having among his rivals recent 28.35 (.30 fast) winner, Jetson, and Kingsmill Sky, who limbered up for his first race at the track with a 28.49 trial.
Valeries Courage was among the outsiders, but the Cooley Peninsula-based dog, trained by Opeter Noone, ran a blinder, taking the field along for a good part of the journey before finishing third, less than three lengths off the winner.
Owned by Alex and Daniel McCarthy, Borna Native, who had wins at Thurles before finding the going a little too hot in a couple of Shelbourne outings, took over from Valeries Courage at the end of the back straight. It was also at this point where the slow-starting Kingsmill Sky got involved, but in making his challenge, the Robert Gleeson-trained dog lost his stride and momentum. He recovered to take second, but was still two lengths off the winner.
Saturday’s 12-race programme was good for local kennels, in addition to Craig Kelly’s. Five other winners are housed around these parts, one of them, Hangover Head, being particularly impressive. Amy Rose O’Connor and Chris Doyle’s runner was on his debut, and although boasting of some useful trials on his card, appeared to have it all to do. He was slow away and had most of the field in front of him going down the back. But he got himself into a nice position after turning in, and showing a nice turn of foot, went on to score by three-and-a-half lengths in a useful 29.01.
Banshee Tom took full advantage of his inside draw to win for Paddy and Philip Kerr, the Quay runner staying on for a length win from Rathronan Fancy – and Castleblayney’s Kieran Lonergan won with his well-bred Cheyenne Chief.
Peter Noone gained compensation for Valeries Courage’s defeat in the big race with another of his charges in the same Athboy ownership, Valeries Girl, getting the better of Pat Duffy and Harry Lawrence’s Tullna Amy at the end of a protracted struggle.
Colm Lawrence’s Tullna Band improved on his early career record, winning a 360 in a fast time to take her score to three from seven and never being out of a place.