Greyhounds action. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
It is still possible to pick up a bargain at the Sales, and Hack Up Hothouse proves the point. The syndicate-owned dog was purchased in Thurles back in March, and since joining Damien Maginn's in-form Downpatrick kennel has won four races, all of them at Dundalk Stadium.
The son of Razldazl Jayfkay had a reserve of around €2,000, but having only attracted a final bid of €1,100 was taken off the bench. However, he was bought privately after that, and even if the representative of new owners, the Have A Dream Syndicate, had to match the reserve, they would have recovered almost half their outlay in prize money already, and have a decent prospect on their hands.
Hack Up Hothouse completed his first three wins the hard way. He was unfavourably drawn - in one - each time, running over the sprint distances, but overcame the handicap, recording 21.57 for one of his 400 successes.
The now winner of five of his nine races was given a first 525 test for his new connections last Friday night, and again leading traps with a lot of pace, sauntered to an emphatic 28.96 win, justifying favouritism. This was the night's fastest run, and it would seem there is more to come from the Maginn-trained runner.
Huntsman Close continues on his winning way for local lads, Dowdallshill's Pat Loftus and Drogheda native, Michael Tiernan, who would be well-known to coursing enthusiasts as treasurer of the Dundalk & Dowdallshill club. Saturday night's 400 win was his third on-the-trot, and once again the son of Godsend and Mo Jo was lightening from traps.
Clear at the opening turn, Huntsmans went on to score by almost three lengths from Ely Way, returning a near career-best 21.45.
Two Classics are currently in progress, and both are attracting a lot of local attention. The final of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks takes place in Shelbourne Park this Saturday night, and having been campaigned at Dundalk earlier in her career when known as Courtlough Cindy, Jaytee Jordan will have lots of eyes trained on her as she runs from trap two.
After winning her quarter-final last Saturday week, Jaytee Jordan was sold by Balbriggan's Anthony Rooney to one of England's biggest owners, John Turner, and was immediately transferred to Paul Hennessy's Co. Kilkenny kennels.
Any doubts about her settling in new surroundings were quickly dispelled. She rocketed from four, soon built a commanding lead, and was comfortably clear at the line. Ideally placed in two, she looks the main threat to the favourite, Ballinakil Clare.
And while Jaytee Jordan is lining up at Shelbourne, over in Towcester at around the same time, Innocent Times will be making a bid for a place in the English Derby semi-finals. This lad is owned and trained by Newry's Brendan Matthews, and, like Jaytee Jordan, is not without a chance of claiming Classic glory.
Innocent Times recorded an excellent win in last Saturday night's third round - as a follow-up to a previous week's success, when he was the subject of a sound gamble. He looks well-suited to the tricky Towcester circuit, and if he goes through on Saturday night, the son of Tyrur Big Mike will be out again in next Tuesday's semi-finals. The final's scheduled for the following Saturday.