Crowding proved costly for the two local runners in last Saturday night’s final of the North-East Greyhound Owners’ & Breeders’ stake at Dundalk Stadium.
Laurence and Brian Jones’ Speed Dial was 6/4 to make in three on-the-trot, while Stephen Thornton’s Blackrock runner, Highview Ash, got a 3/1 quote on the strength of a sound first round performance. Both, however, had their chance of landing the €1,200 prize for connections spoiled when they got held up early on.
Unaffected was Messan Motion, running for Lisburn couple, Gordon and Florence Haslett. This lad, who’d been caught close home by Speed Dial in the semi-finals, went clear at the opening turn and was never troubled after that.
He was eleven lengths clear at the finish, and recorded a competition-fastest 30.15. Speed Dial recovered to take second, and in third was Coulda.
Derek Murtagh, Drogheda-born but living in Dundalk where he has his kennel, scored a double at the track on Friday night and went close to making it a hat-trick. McGiolla, which he trains for well-known coursing personality, Joe Dolan, from Bellewstown, was his first scorer and he added to his tally when Belmur Nobby, a litter-comrade of McGiolla, trotted up.
Both won over the 525, recording sub-29 second times.
A win for Cian Tigernal would have made it a dream night for Murtagh, not that it was too bad. It looked for a long time as if the son of Kinloch Brae and Ball Of Twine would do it. Fasy away, he showed three lengths ahead at the last bend, but then his stride began to shorten, and it was inside the final fifty yards that he surrendered the lead to Ballyregan Brett, one length dividing them at the line.
The ETS Irish Derby is at the semi-final stage, and still pitching for the €125,000 first prize are two Larry Dunne-owned runners. The Jenkinstown-based trainer has charge of Slippery Sooty himself, while Slippery Robert is in the care of midlands licence-holder, Robert Gleeson.
‘Sooty’ ran a blinder to finish second to Hawaii Kinsale in the second of last Saturday night’s quarter-finals, leading for a good part of the journey, and in the race won the favourite for outright honours, Kereight King, battled hard to take third a little over two lengths back.
The two semi-finals take place this Saturday night.