Action from Dundalk Stadium
English Derby-winning trainer, John 'Ginger' McGee, made it a winning return to Dundalk Stadium on Friday night, winning with each of his two runners.
Now based in Oldcastle, McGee, who also numbers Dundalk's feature events, the Irish Sprint Cup and the International, among his big race winners, was having his first runners of the year at the track, and they won in contrasting fashion.
Down The Green went in a 400 and a lightning break had the Co. Limerick-owned fawn well in control before the first turn.
She went on from there to win by eight lengths from Tullymurry Tico, who was first to emerge from first bend bunching.
In bringing up the McGee double, Polish Hero had to work harder. The Skywalker Puma dog was always in the vanguard, but had Swift Cabernet as a constant companion. It finished with Polish Warrior coming out on top by the minimum margin, clocking 29.31 for the 525.
Darver's Paul McDonnell was on the mark on the same card, his Cherrypark Music justifying strong support to win over the standard distance in 29.56. And there was also a win for another Mid-Louth-based runner, No Mumbo Jumbo taking a 360 for Dunleer's Kevin Kearney.
This was a third-in-a-row for the recent Sales purchase, his two previous wins coming in 400s. He's now three from four, and is staying nicely in his grade.
Valeries Express is ticking over nicely for Drogheda owner, Michael Cunningham. The three-year-old's win in the concluding race was the tenth of his career - from 33 starts - and he did in dashing style, going off in front and staying there. Winning a competitive 525 by four lengths, the son of Superior Product and Brenval Star recorded 29.29.
On Saturday night, Colm Farrelly, joint-second in the owners' table, added to his season's tally with a newcomer from his very successful home-bred Drooppys Jet and Course I Can litter. Thornfield Tiger made a good start from three and was never threatened as he came home an easy winner of Saturday night's second race, a 400.
Most attention at the track was focussed on the televised meetings from Shelbourne Park and Towcester. And there was some interest as well in the Champions League final at Kiev, Liverpool supporters stunned by a couple of goalkeeper errors.
The Sporting Press Irish Oaks final was the big race from Dublin, and it produced a real virtuoso performance from former Dundalk tracker, Jaytee Turner. Known as Courtlough Cincy when it ran at Dowdallshill for Balbriggan owner/trainer, Anthony Rooney, Jaytee was bought by Englishman, John Turner, after winning her quarter-final, and what a buy she's proved to be.
Put into training with Paul Hennessy immediately after changing hands, the daughter of Laughill Blake and Gorgeous Gal won her semi-final, and on Saturday night put her opponents to the sword straight away with a swift exit from two. She galloped on relentlessly to win comfortably from Droopys Loom, recouping €25,000 for her new owner.
Eight Carat, desperately unlucky not to have made the final of the ladies' classic, gained some small measure of compensation for Brian and Laurence Jones by winning a supporting race on the Oaks final card. Taking a flier from three, Eight Carat soon built a big lead, and while the manner of her ultra-easy win was impressive, the feature was the time she recorded for the 525, a sensational 28.25.
Newry runner, Innocent Times, was a runner in the English Derby semi-finals, and drawn in six looked to have a chance of going through to this Saturday's final. But while prominent early on, Brendan Matthews' runner couldn't quite get among the qualifiers, finishing fifth. The winner, Whoops Jack, is the only Irish runner in the decider.
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