The heavy going was no deterrent to favourites in the first part of Saturday night’s card, at Dundalk Stadium.
The heavy going was no deterrent to favourites in the first part of Saturday night’s card, at Dundalk Stadium. The first six market-leaders on the 12-race card trotted up, two of them in the semi-finals of the Novice 525 competition.
The odds-on Diegos Sofia came from well off the pace to snatch victory in the opening qualifier, but it was much easier for Bellmore Warrior in the other one.
Owned by a syndicate headed by County Meath horse trainer, Tom McCourt, the Martin Lanney-trained Bellmore was an expensive failure in the opening round, going down in a close finish. This time, however, he took charge of proceedings from the get-go, and hard as the others tried they couldn’t make up the ground conceded at the start.
The former Kilkenny triallist came in ahead of Bandicoot Pakie and Colarhouse Katie, registering 28.94, which was a decent clock given the conditions. It was several lengths faster than the run of Diegos Sofia in the earlier race.
Damien Maginn, whose been getting most of the headlines in recent weeks, had yet another winner, sending out Westway Hector to score for his London owner. Victory brought the Downpatrick handler’s Dundalk total for the year so far to an outstanding 68, and if there was betting on the outcome of the track’s 2019 public trainer title race, he’d be unbackable.
Former champion, Martin Lanney, is lying in second with a more than respectable 37 winners, while Laurence Jones holds third place on 29. The Dromiskin-based Ambrose Quinn, who won with Tammen Tameka on Friday night, is on 22, taking fifth place.
Paul Whyte heads two tables, owner and private trainer. In his bid to win the latter title, the Donegal man faces opposition from three locally based licence-holders, Michael Kelly (Clogherhead), John Downey (Tullyallen) and Catherine Kerr (Castleblayney), whose Marquis Jet was a most convincing winner, also on Friday night, when rain and a strong wind facing the runners in the home straight had a significant effect on times.
Ardee trainer, John Durrigan, who is having his best ever season, added to his tally of Dundalk winners on Saturday night, Lady Panda taking a 525 in convincing fashion. The Dublin-owned trainer went off at 5/1, providing another Ardee man, layer Michael Rooney, with some relief after the barrage of favs.
However, favs were back to their winning ways later, and when Santro Ollie scored in the concluding race he brought up a heavily supported treble for Banbridge trainer, Gary Silcock, and his chief patron, Michael Fitzpatrick.