Action from Dundalk Stadium.
On a weekend at Dundalk Stadium when graded racing dominated, Our Surprise turned in a performance that had open class written all over it.
The home-bred, by Tullymurry Act and Corduff Flame, is owned by the Jones brothers, Laurence and Brian, and trained at the former’s place outside Carrickmacross, and prior to taking his place in a 400 on Friday night had just one previous race back in March. That was a 360, which he won in a close finish.
A spell on the sidelines was followed by a useful trial at Longford, but there was nothing on his card to suggest Our Surprise would come up with Friday night’s run. Housed in one, the 73-pounder was one of the first to show, but was on his own at the bend. From there he went on to extend his lead, and at the line was over eight lengths ahead of his nearest rival.
It was no surprise to hear that Our Surprise had come up with 21.22, a time which will have competed in higher company on his next outing.
There were a few other decent displays on the eight-race card. No Mumbo Jumbo won again for the Kearney kennel in Dunleer, this bargain-buy scoring for the seventh time in his short career. The son of Droopys Jet showed his usual speed from traps, but had still another mid-Louth-based runner, Larl Harry, to contend with at the opening corner. He drove round on the outside, and from the last bend onwards was always in command. His time of 18.83 was his best for the 360.
The Aidan Finnegan-trained Maeves Gap won over the 600 distance for the Handbags & Gladrags Syndicate, coming with a late run to edge out Termonfeckin contender Seconds Out West.
John Downey’s Tullyallen kennel maintained its recent good run with that admirable performer, Monleek Express, doing her best work late on to overhaul the frontrunning Stefans Dazzler. The near-veteran has now won 13 races, most of them in the highest of graded company.
Another Lordship-based Finnegan kennel, the one presided over by Kenneth, was on the mark on Saturday night with Bradley Star, the Quaill Hollow bitch grabbing the spoils right on the line.
No need for the camera to decide the second race on the card. Paddy and Philip Kerr’s Quay Flyer was prominent from early on, and after his closest challenger Union St Maid slipped up in the back straight, the local runner was left to come home on his own.
The BoyleSports Irish derby has reached the quarter-final stage at Shelbourne Park, and on Saturday night the field will be whittled down to a dozen. The two Dundalk International runners, Whoops Jack and Jumeirah Charm, are still standing, both having filled a place in the third round.
The competition, however, is mostly all about runners from the Graham Holland kennel in Co. Tipperary. The former England-based trainer has six of the 24 still standing, among them the third round joint-fastest qualifier, Lenson Blinder.