Greyhounds action from Dundalk Stadium.
All the fancied runners, with the exception of Ballyanne Sim, are still standing going into this Friday night’s semi-finals of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup semi-finals at Dundalk Stadium. Last year’s Irish Derby winner came a cropper in the opening quarter-final, failing to get a blow in after making a tardy start.
But the others, Cabra Hurricane, Blame The Game, Cronody Tadhg and the holder, Ardnasool Jet, are standing their ground, and a couple of really exciting semis are in prospect.
Each of the above quartet was successful, the first-named turning in a particularly fine performance. Trained by Patrick Guilfoyle, who has a very good record at Dundalk, having turned out Definate Opinion to win back-to-back Internationals, Cabra Hurricane ran from the inside and in a matter of strides had daylight between himself and the rest. He lengthened the dividing margin as the race progressed and at the line was five lengths in advance of smart second-round winner, Lugs Branno.
There was more to the Thurles-owned dog’s win than the manner of his success – his time of 20.89 was a little over a length off the track record set by Droopys Steel last year.
Ardnasool Jet got back to winning ways after sustaining a narrow defeat in round two. The champion wasn’t first to show, but an injection of pace soon had him in control. He ran on well to win by two lengths in 21.18.
Cronody Tadhg had another easy success, keeping his unbeaten record in the competition intact, while Blame The Game was supreme from the wide outside, coming away in second but quickly asserting.
Running for the Lanney kennel, which, like Gerry Holien’s, has turned out a Sprint Cup winner in the past, Blame The Game finished with the widest margin of victory, almost six lengths in advance of Lemon Shane, who is one of two Holien representatives through to the last 12.
Going off at odds-on, the Belfast-owned Blame The Game completed a quarter-final four-timer for favourite-backers.
The draw for the semi-finals hasn’t been particularly kind to either Cronody Tadhg or Ardnasool Jet. Both are confirmed inside runners, but have been landed with five and six, respectively, in the opener qualifier for which all six are seeded inside runners.
They haven’t, however, the other big two to contend with, and along with Balline Kyle can make it through to the decider.
Cabra Hurricane is better positioned than Blame The Game in the second semi, running from trap two; but Lanney’s charge has run – and won – from five in the past, most notably in the second round when he recorded his best in the competition to date, 21.26. In a cleanly-run race both should go through with Lugs Branno in with a clear chance of accompanying them.
The six taken to reach the final: Ardnasool Jet, Cronody Tadhg, Balline Kyle, Blame The Game, Cabra Hurricane, Lugs Branno.
First semi-final: 1. Doona Buck, 2. Drumcrow Trump, 3. Balline Kyle, 4. Lemon Shane, 5. Cronody Tadhg, 6. Ardnasool Jet.
Second semi-final: 1. Baytown Bubba, 2. Cabra Hurricane, 3. Ballymac Conte, 4. Lugs Branno, 5. Blame The Game, 6. Boleys Fella.