The number of locally-based owners may be thinning, but there are still enough of them around to make an impression on a Dundalk Stadium card. Like Friday night last, for instance.
The first four races went to runners from around these parts with the Castleblayney husband and wife team of Joe and Catherine Kerr taking pride of place with a double. Martina McCann and Ambrose Quinn were next on the mark, sending out the home-bred Tammen Tucker to win for their Dromiskin kennel, and then it was the turn of Togher’s Michael Doyle, whose win came in the May Novice Consolation final.
Later on, Monleek Wichita turned in a battling performance to score for Tullyallen’s John and Rita Downey.
Bred on the renowned Dunphey lines, being by Droopys Sydney ex Droopys Twirl, Monleek was aiming for a third win on her fifth outing in a contest reserved for bitch puppies, and she had to be resolute to hold off Peads Diamond in a photo-finish.
The Kerr operation caters for breeding as well as training, and the two that obliged were from the October ’17 Tyrur Big Mike-Steely Passion litter. After Steely May had dashed to an unchallenged 21.69 win in the opening 400, her litter-sister, Steely Suspect had to work harder to secure her winning bracket.
The 65-pounder broke in front, but was joined at the opening bend. She reasserted, taking the lead into the home straight, and then stayed on to score by a half-length in 21.89.
Tammen Tucker wasn’t inconvenienced by an inside draw in the third 400 on the 10-race card, making a good start and leading all the way for a three-and-a-half length win in 21.66.
A comfortable semi-final success had Bob Hund quoted at odds-on for the consolation final. The son of Paradise Madison, owned in partnership by Michael Doyle and Mikeal Lundberg, duly obliged, but he didn’t have it easy, having to battle all the way to hold the challenge of Seamus Casey’s Channon Storm.
The semi-finals of the May Novice Open were the night’s feature, and both were won in hugely impressive fashion, each of the first home coming in with very smart clocks.
Rocket Ranger looked readymade for the final when he ran right away from the opposition to win by almost 10 lengths in 28.49, one of the fastest times at the track this year for the 525; but then Came Cricket Field. In belying his double-figure quote, winning by six-and-a-half lengths, the Coalisland runner registered 28.56, which translates into a one-length slower time than Rocket Ranger’s run.
There’s a hugely exciting tussle in prospect in this Friday night’s final.
Rocket Ranger, who’ll be attempting to keep his unbeaten run intact on his fourth outing, is taken to prevail.