It's a sign that the Irish Sprint Cup is on the horizon when Open races over the 400 begin to appear on Dundalk Stadium cards.
There was one such race down for decision last Friday night, and it developed into a thriller between two who could be major contenders for the Bar-One-sponsored event when it gets underway next month.
The splendidly-related Doratas Del Mar - he's a litter-comrade of last Saturday night's English Derby winner, Dorata's Wildcat, and 2017 Sprint Cup runner-up and Sporting Press Irish Oaks heroine, Forest Natalee - was chasing a third successive win, having recorded a very swift 21.19 last time out at Dowdllshill.
The Martin Lanney-trained warm favourite matched strides with Quare Dame for most of the journey, but as the line loomed, had to give way.
A product of one of the country's most enduring lines, the one created and meticulously maintained by Co. Fermanagh's Hugh Maguire, Quare Dame belied her lack of experience to go clear for a two-and-a-half-length win in 21.21, having reached the bend in 7.09. That's genuine Irish Sprint form.
A daughter of Vans Escalade and Quare Sparkler, Quare Dame was having only her fourth run and was chasing a third success. Her other two wins came in recent weeks at Longford.
Tullyallen's John Downey might be tempted to have a stab at the Classic with Monleek Colorado. Not yet two, this home-bred made it three from five earlier on in Friday's nine-race card, running right away from a number of recent winners in the home straight. Gaining more experience, the Kinloch Brae dog can improve on his 21.55.
One of the top 525 performances of the night was turned in by the Knockbridge runner, Mystic Jet. Miss Dáire Hoey's son of Droopys Jet and Mystic Must went from one and was soon at the head of affairs. He carried a clear lead into the back straight, and galloping on strongly got to the line three lengths ahead of his nearest rival, returning a career-best 28.82.
Dromiskin-based trainer, Ambrose Quinn, sent out Larl Harry to win over the 360, the choicely-bred son of Ballymac Vic and Razldazl Lily scoring for the first time on his sixth outing - and it was a winning return to Dowdallshill for Lurgan's Jim Brady, the former track bookmaker filling the role of owner of the impressive 525 scorer, Waltzers Away.
Saturday night's low-grade card at Dowdallshill threw up a few winners from around these parts. Without a win in quite a while, Sisnemisgeorge got it right in a 400, winning for former bookmaker, Seán Lawless, and trainer, Patsy Mellon, from Dowdallshill. The Scolari Me Daddy dog took up the running going to the bend and was never troubled after that.
Another dog not winning out of turn was Aintree Dasher. Owned by the Mid-Louth syndicate, the Aintree Crew, the three-year-old went from one and a good break had him at the head of affairs early on. He stayed there, holding the late run of Jimmy's Sham.
Michael Kelly's Wee Pinky overcame a tardy start to win a 525 in fine fashion. Having only his second run, the Clogherhead-based, Scottish-owned lightweight recorded 29.26, a mark he can surely improve on.
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