Racing at Dundalk Stadium on Saturday night provided Shane Grimes with a much-needed boost after the local lad sustained a nasty injury while playing in the United Park derby tie, 24-hours earlier.
One of Drogheda United’s most valued defenders, Grimes shipped a hand injury as he and his colleagues tried to pull over Dundalk in the Malone Cup tie.
The tie went the home side’s way after a penalty shoot-out, but it finished with the 26-year-old having to retire, and his worry is that he won’t be ready for the rematch coming up on the day the league gets underway.
The dogs were better, the one Grimes owns in partnership with Peter McArdle triumphing in a heat of the Racecourse Road 400. Fiftyildoya, the subject of a few tasty wagers, ran from trap two, and although led early on, the June pup had the pace to get to the first bend in front.
The daughter of Tubbertelly Dubh lost nothing at the bends, and she was well clear in the home straight. Another local runner, Dine Chick, jointly-owned by Ned Lawrence and Colm Farrelly, ran on well to be second, but was still four lengths behind the impressive 22.11 winner.
Third place went to Paddy Kerr’s Banshee Tom, and he, along with the fourth-placed Lip Bound advance to this Saturday night’s semi-finals.
Monleek Empire, owned by Rita Downey, took the opening semi-final, and in the process recorded the fastest time, 22.08. The Tullyallen runner made it difficult on herself, checking at the opening bend, but she recovered well to edge out Clonrooske Bound in a photo-finish.
Thats The Story was the other heat-winner, and as luck would have it, the Belfast-owned dog has been drawn along with each of the other two Saturday night scorers in the first of the semi-finals.
The line-up is: first semi-final – 1. Fiftyildoya, 2. Masters Hill, 3. Monleek Empire, 4. Quarterland Boss, 5. Rampart Razzle, 6. Thats The Shot. Second semi-final – 1. Banshee Tom, 2. Clonrooske Bound, 3. Whoop Whoop, 4. Big Hughie, 5. Dine Chick, 6 Lip Bound.
There were three graded race winners on Saturday night’s card, one of them, Tolka Bob, running a blinder to record the night’s fastest time for the 525.
Owned by Togher men, Thomas Butterly and Michael Doyle, and trained by the latter, Toka Bob never saw another runner as he sped his way over the sand, and in winning by five lengths clocked a best-ever 28.74.
Racing opened with Mr Furious, the only previous winner in the race, scoring for Channonrock’s Seamus Casey – and then in the concluding event, Belmur Nobby scored a last-ditch win for Drogheda-born Marian Park resident Derek Murtagh.
Friday night’s eight-race card featured a win for Sexy Woman, owned by Dunleer’s John Durrigan.
Friday February 7
Race 1: Unsociable Lad win in 19.35 for Conor Campbell & Stephen Quinn (Coalisland); Race 2: Quarterland Mary won in 30.46 for Michael J. Hynes and trainer James Hynes from (Crumlin, N Ireland); Race 3: Paradise Garcia won in 33.92 on 7th attempt for Sean Meade and trainer David Buckley (Enniskerry, Co Wicklow); Race 4: Millview See won in 19.22 for Jim Hughes (Dungannon); Race 5: Quarterland Jude won in 29.22 for Michael J. Hynes and trainer James Hynes (Crumlin, N Ireland); Race 6: Sexy Woman won in 22.12 for John Durrigan(Dunleer); Race 7: Valeries Duke won in 28.95 on 5th attempt for Anthony Naughton(Mornington); Race 8: Drumcrow John won in 21.91 on 1st attempt for Harold Ruddy and John F McCann (Dungannon).
Saturday February 8
Race 1: Mr Furious won in 22.08 for Seamus Casey (Dundalk); Race 2: Monleek Empire won in 22.08 on 1st attempt for Rita Downey (Tullyallen); Race 3: Fiftyildoya won in 22.11 on 2nd attempt for Peter McArdle and Shane Grimes (Dundalk); Race 4: Shaunanne Racer won in 29.77 on 4th attempt for Terence and Stephen Gollogly (Newtownhamilton); Race 5: Balscadden Molly won in 29.45 on 4th attempt for Patrick Pyne (Balbriggan); Race 6: Thats The Shot won in 22.13 on 3rd attempt for Stephen Townsley and Rathkenny trainer Martin Lanney; Race 7: Rocking Brae won in 29.16 for Joe Kelly (Drogheda); Race 8: Tolka Bob won in 28.74 for Michael Doyle & Thomas Butterly (Drogheda); Race 9: Limekiln Phoenix won in 21.73 for Brendan O’Callaghan (Shercock); Race 10: Kathleens Holly won in 30.31 for Bobby Scullion (Craigavon); Race 11: Neon Flash won in 29.11 for Gary Smyth and Northern Ireland trainer James McCorry; Race 12: Belmur Nobby won in 29.17 for Derek Murtagh (Dundalk).