While no major competitions were part of Saturday’s card at Shelbourne Park, there was some serious racing.
Swords Rex was simply brilliant on his return from a layoff but the feature race was the final of the Text Your Entries to 085 8004891 525 and Millroad Bolger produced a superb power-packed effort to deny Swords Rex the headline.
Millroad Bolger, representing Noel Moore and Michael Donnelly, was only fourth into the turn behind the fast starting Hello Mom, but things got tight on the inside of the track as Capitan Garfio attempted to squeeze through on the fence.
This allowed Millroad Bolger to turn second into the back straight. Hello Mom remained in front despite taking a bump on the turn but her position at the head of affairs was in jeopardy as Millroad Bolger flew into the third turn to take over.
Once going to the front, the powerful son of Ballymac Bolger and Goldmine Larky eased on to emerge a comfortable and most impressive five length scorer over Hello Mom in a fast 28.47.
REX SENDS OUT A WARNING TO RIVALS
No greyhound could get close to the clock of Swords Rex.
The 2022 Kirby Memorial champion was last seen when finishing third in the Laurels decider but the layoff clearly didn’t concern him as he shot from traps and dominated to see off a top class field with consummate ease.
Oaks winner Raha Mofo was second into the turn but was bumped as Another Holiday made up ground on her inner, leaving Swords Rex even further clear. It scarcely mattered, however, as Barbara Lowndes’ sensational son of Droopys Sydney and Starry Display was relentless out front.
While his stride did seem to shorten on the run in, the clock suggested otherwise. The Graham Holland trained superstar stopped the clock in 27.99, some seven lengths clear of Another Holiday. On the strength of this form, he is clearly one of the major fancies for the Bresbet Easter Cup, which will commence in a fortnight.
CALLAWAY HITS THE SWEET SPOT
Derby finalist Callaway Pro Am was clearly buoyed by the display of his brother Bogger Hunter in the Gold Cup decider a week earlier as he returned to action with a tremendous trap to line victory in the finale over the Derby trip.
The Owen Mckenna trained son of Skywalker Farloe and Bottle Of Banter is already among the favourites for 2023 Derby glory and he did little to quell that talk. Breaking smartly and showing dash into the turn, Denis Murphy’s star turned with plenty in hand.
English Derby champion Romeo Magico mistimed the start but flew down the back straight to head Well Met for second into the third turn. Callaway Pro Am was not going to be picked up, however. Staying right to the line, the September ’20 whelp emerged a facile winner by four lengths in 29.56.
IN-FORM WILLOW OBLIGES
Forest Willow continued her superb run of form, leading early over the 550yd trip to win the sixth race on the card.
Trained by Peter Cronin for Richard Browne, the daughter of Dorotas Wildcat and Droopys Elite set sail for home a long way out.
Here Comes Syd did close to the third turn but could never get close enough to put pressure on the leader and she stayed on win by a length and a half in 29.87.
Foggy Botom set a strong pace in the ninth race but Droopys Loveable was too strong at the business end, coming through late to score by a half length for Murt Leahy and the Mclean Avenue Syndicate.
Droopys Loveable turned third and remained there until the third turn where she began to make her move. Moving through the gears, the daughter of Pestana and Droopys Pizazz set her sights on the leader. Finishing with a flourish, Droopys Loveable came though to score by a half length in 28.63.
CARRAUNTOOHIL REACHES THE SUMMIT
Carrauntoohil was close to his best in the seventh race as he finally won the battle with Fire Time to emerge on top for Gavin Johns and Karol Ramsbottom.
The son of Bull Run Bolt and Ranchers Queen was always up with the pace, although he had to work hard to get the better of Fire Time in the second half of the contest.
It was at the third turn he finally made a decisive move, shooting to the front before staying on well to land the spoils by a length and a half from Fire Time in 28.57.
GAFFER IN CHARGE
Walk On Gaffer has developed into a very useful tracker, although it was somewhat surprising to notice that his success in the A1 fifth race over 550yds was just the second of his career.
It certainly won’t be his last, however.
Pinging from trap three, Walk On Gaffer just got the better of Rural Bocko into the turn before moving clear by the second bend. Thereafter, he never had a concern. Innfield Billy came through for second but Walk On Gaffer was never going to be picked up.
The Village Crew Syndicate owned son of Ballymac Best and Annual Tears ran out a ready three length scorer over Innfield Billy in 29.93.
MAGS OPENS HER ACCOUNT
Highview Mags was seeking a first win of her career when lining out in the stripes in the A1 fourth race and she duly put that right, proving too strong for Coolavanny Ally.
The duo set the pace into the turn with Coolavanny Ally just a length to the good into the back straight.
By halfway, the lead was down to a length and she soon moved beyond Coolavanny Ally into the third turn. From that point, Gerry and Dolores Merriman’s daughter of Pat C Sabbath and Highview Jayne eased on to win by a length and a half in 28.57.
MAXI GETS LOOSE
Danny Kehoe’s Maximilian made it two on the bounce at Shelbourne when making all to win the A1 third race.
The brindle son of Pestana and Ballycowen Lucy was challenged by Mr Big John into the third turn but cut him off before going on to see off his rival by a length and a half in 28.84.
Crows Road produced a career best display to run out a mighty impressive winner of the second race in 28.54.
The son of Ardnasool Jet and Lady Likewise broke fastest and led early although was joined into the turn by Horseleap Nelly and Coolavanny Nanni.
With the inside line in his favour, however, Crows Road moved to the front before entering the back straight. Both Horseleap Nelly and Coolavanny Nanni challenged in the second half of the contest but Crows Road kicked on again off the final turn to emerge a deserving three and a half length winner for owners Ignatius Hampsey and Daire O’Donnell. Coolavanny Nanni was second.
JET LIVES UP TO HIS NAME
Innfield Jet was always to the fore in the opener after a fast start from trap three but he seemed to be under severe pressure when Killinure King joined him into the third turn.
Barry Clancy’s Innfield Jet wasn’t going to be denied, however. The son of Droopys Jet and Love Honey rallied on the run in to score by a length in 29.05.