Kenneth Finnegan had the biggest win of his short career in the greyhound game when his Bradley Star came home an easy winner of the Good Friday Racing 525 final at Dundalk Stadium.
The Lordship man, whose kennel is situated on the picturesque Sliabh na gCloch, went into the €960-to-the-winner decider double-handed and in a very strong position, having sent out the winner of each of the semi-finals.
Alongside Bradley Star was her litter-sister, Across The Bay, and drawn on the inside and boasting the competition's fastest time, the former was a ready-made favourite.
The 6/4 chance, a daughter of former Dundalk International winner Quail Hollow and Kielduff Millie, made a terrific start from the inside berth and was clear going around the opening bend. Jimmys Sham was her nearest rival as they approached the final bend, and for a while looked as if he might make a race of it.
But Bradley Star showed no sign of stopping. Indeed, after turning for home, the 4-year-old pushed on, and at the line was almost four lengths clear of Jimmys Sham. Across The Bay finished third to make it a highly profitable night for Finnegan, whose charges got all the cheers they needed from a very enthusiastic bunch of supporters.
Adding spice to Bradley Star's win was the time she recorded - 29.09, her best-ever for the standard distance. She has now won seven of her 39 races, while her comrade is on eight wins.
Seán Lawless, for many years a leading bookmaker when racing was at The Ramparts, was back among the winners, his Sisnemesisgeorge taking the opener on the nine-race card.
Trained in Dowdallshill by Patsy Mellon, Sisnemesisgeorge wasn't winning out of turn having been to traps on eleven previous occasions and failing to register. This time, however, he made a smart break count, grabbing the lead early on and staying on stoutly to repel the late dash of another runner with Dowdallshill connections, Groveshill Ava. There was a neck in it, and the clock stopped at 29.65.
Our Surprise made a winning debut for Laurence and Brian Jones, the home-bred coming off best after a schemozzle at the opening bend - and having taken a drop in grade, the one-time A1 performer, Calafornia Chrome, got back to winning ways, leading for most of the journey in a 525.
Michael Doyle and Catherine Johansson's Togher-based runner didn't have the clearest of runs at the opening bend, but once clear showed a nice burst of pace. The Premier Fantasy dog won by a length in 29.30, bringing up his eleventh career win.
The North-East branch of the Owners' & Breeders' Association will be making awards to the leading owner, dog and bitch of 2018. The scheme is open to members of the branch, access to which can be gained by contacting any committee member. Wins at all tracks will be taken into consideration.
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