Greyhounds action from Dundalk Stadium.
Cronody Tadhg went fastest in the second round of the Bar One Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk Stadium, clocking 21.10 in his demolition of Heat One rivals; but the performance that caught most racegoers’ attention was Ballyanne Sim’s defeat of the holder, Ardnasool Jet.
Here we had last year’s Irish Derby winner attempting to lower the colours of one of the finest winners of the short-distance Classic. And making it a field worthy of a final, also included was the 2018 winner of the Juvenile Derby, Balline Kyle.
A swift exit had the blue-sheeted Ardnasool Jet two lengths ahead of Ballyanne going down. Both cornered well, and turning in the title-holder was still over a length clear. Ballyanne closed on the run-in and they were soon going head to head in an epic encounter.
They crossed the line together and a photo was called for. It showed that the Derby champion had prevailed by the minimum margin in a time of 21.28. Balline Kyle, going from the unfavourable trap one, ran well to get to within a little under three lengths of the two principals, while Ardnasool Jet lost absolutely nothing in defeat.
Cronody Tadhg was superb in his five-length win from Brynoffa Joe, getting proceedings off to an explosive start. Generously priced at 2/1 – due perhaps to him being seen tying up slightly nearing the line in the opening round – the Kevin Losty-trained dog charged from traps and was soon clear of his rivals. He was on an even keel the whole way to the line, winning as he pleased.
Cabra Hurricane, a leading fancy for last year’s Derby before exiting at the semi-final stage, was another to add to a first round win. Patrick Guilfoyle’s charge went to the bend in 6.99, his second successive sub seven-second split, and after that was always holding the challenge of Eastside Flyer.
Blame The Game, an odds-on failure when only finishing fourth the previous week having endured a troubled passage, bounced back to top form is a hugely competitive Heat Four. The Martin Lanney-trained dog, best suited to a trap six draw, was in five this time, and after being first to show got to the turn with a clear lead, bounded up the home straight to win by three lengths from Lemon Shane in 21.24.
Tullyallen’s John Downey has a lively contender in Leeview Paddy. A dog that in the past has shown a liking for the now-closed Drumbo Park, having recorded some big wins and fast times at the Lisburn track, the son of Sir Paddy showed lots of pace throughout to scupper the odds laid on second-placed Wall Garden, registering 21.37.
Lugs Branno was slightly faster on the clock (21.31), and Donna Buck’s win in 21.50 keeps Galway trainer, Gerry Holian’s hopes alive of adding to the success he had in this competition with Mabels Dilemma. Drumcro Rio (21.5) was another winner Harold Ruddy’s in-form Dungannon kennel.
The quarter-finals of this €20,000-to-the-winner competition take place this Friday night, and as can be seen from the accompanying draw, four very competitive races are in prospect.
SPRINT CUP QFs DRAW
First: 1. Cabra Hurricane, 2. Cashen Kuba, 3. Ballyanne Sim, 4. Baytown Bubba, 5. Lugs Branno, 6. Drumcrow Rio.
Second: 1. Balline Kyle, 2. Ranchers Angel, 3. Ardnasool Jet, 4. Burgess Eddie, 5. Ballymac Conte, 6. Ace Camolin.
Third: 1. Donna Buck, 2. Cronody Tadhg, 3. Eastside Flyer, 4. Leeview Paddy, 5. Rossbirr Ranger, 6. Boley Fella.
Fourth: 1. Lemon Shane, 2. Drumcro Trump, 3. Ravenswood Hugo, 4. Brynoffa Joe, 5. Wall Garden, 6. Blame The Game.