There’s good prizemoney on offer for the Friends of Dundalk Stadium 525, currently in progress at the Dowdallshill venue.
Winner of the graded event receives €2,200, and after Friday night’s opening round, Buttersbridge Zip holds a slight advantage on the clock.
The Newry-owned black is trained by Gerard Martin, whose late grandfather, John Martin, turned out quite a few smart performers from his Crossmaglen kennel in days gone by.
A very fast winner over the 400 on his most recent outing, Buttersbridge looked to have all the advantages, and accordingly was made an odds-on chance. He didn’t give his backers any reason for concern, bolting from the trap three slot and after that always showing well ahead. It finished with the son of Droopys Cain five lengths clear of Skills Mix in 28.91.
The Knockbridge runner, Mystic Ann Marie, didn’t go as fast, but was just as comfortable on her way to a 29.11 success, Conor Hoey’s dog showing just over four lengths ahead of his nearest rival at the line.
The Laurence Jones-trained Tontos Choice was another to make it a winning switch from sprinting to the middle distance, taking his heat in 29.36. A very consistent sort, this Clones-owned fawn was on to a hat-trick, and he has now won a dozen of his 48 races, earning prizemoney in 20 of the others.
Strabane runner, This One Time, was second-best on the clock, coming in with a 28.98 run in the concluding heat and relegating Dennis Farrelly’s Deja Drama to the runner-up spot.
The second round of the Friends of Dundalk Stadium goes ahead this Saturday night.
Listed for Saturday night is the final of the Clive Richardson Limited Dual-Distance, which will have three local runners in the line-up. Boru Sixty goes for the youthful Rion McDonnell, from Darver, while Local Abbey represents Dundalk’s Danny Kerr. Another mid-Louth runner, Inslips Taz, is in the ownership of Michael Doyle and Thomas Butterly.
All will have their work cut out to match strides with Rockcliffe Alfie, who, having won his 525 semi-final in 28.86, won’t be inconvenienced by the move up to the 550. Seán Browne’s Balbriggan runner was fast from traps last Saturday night and was always in charge, winning with plenty in hand.
The other semi-final went to the Armagh City runner, Homeless Darkie, in 29.24.
The trap draw for the €750-to-the-winner event is: 1. Boru Sixty, 2. Rockcliffe Alfie, 3. Local Abbey, 4. Homeless Darkie, 5. Wrens Street, 6. Inslips Taz.