But there was still a familiar look to the rest of the result sheet. Almost inevitably it included Damian Maginn winners.
John Downey continues to keep Louth to the fore at Dundalk Stadium in the face of stiff competition from Northern opposition. The Tullyallen trainer keeps a select team and is consistently among the winners.
He had Lemon Victor running in his wife, Rita’s name on Friday night’s card, and having been narrowly denied the previous week, this former Kilkenny tracker made no mistake on this outing over the 400, winning by three-and-a-half lengths in 21.65.
But there was still a familiar look to the rest of the result sheet. Almost inevitably it included Damian Maginn winners, and with the season drawing to a close, the Downpatrick man has the trainer title under lock and key. But not only that, he is certain to finish with the highest-ever yearly total for a licence-holder at the track.
Westway Hector, bringing up a hat-trick, was the first of the Maginn winners, scoring in a semi-final of the Christmas At The Races 525. The 11/10 jolly was followed on to the podium by kennelmate, Ciaras Swift, whose 28.82 run should guarantee her favouritism in the decider, for which the Dromiskin runner, Tammen Tucker, has also qualified.
Semi-finals of two other sweepstakes also featured on the nine-race card, the Christmas Party Nights 525 one of them. Fastest here was Tahina Matthew, the Fermanagh tracker recording 29.28. The other qualifier went to Fridays Elsie, running for another trainer who knows his way around the Dowdallshill winners’ enclosure, Lifford’s Paul Whyte.
The second of the Christmas Cracker 525 semi-finals went to Forest Charlie, trained by County Dublin’s Liam O’Rourke, who has made a good impression since returning to have a regular flow of runners at the track. Donegal runner, Colarhouse Buzz won the other semi, and could go off market-leader for the final.
The Stadium 400 final was down for decision on Saturday night, but because of a mechanical failure it and a number of other races were not run, and will instead figure on this Saturday night’s card.
There’s an additional meeting this Wednesday night – the horses are also listed for tomorrow – with the last two pre-Christmas meetings coming up on Friday and Saturday night.