There was certainly plenty to report in the semi finals of the Islandbridge Open Sprint at Shelbourne Park on Friday evening.
Neither heat went entirely to plan although Gallant Knight and Radical Hero were both impressive as they came home in front.
KNIGHT WINS AN EPIC BATTLE TO THE TURN
Gallant Knight may have been having just his fourth career start in the opening heat but he produced a truly mature display of sprinting to beat some of the best in the business.
As you expect, Gizmo Cash and Flashing Willow were dominant in the betting but neither could get around Gallant Knight who made full use of his inside line to emerge a deserving winner.
There was a very level start to this contest with all five runners coming away well. It was soon evident that Gizmo Cash was going to need a little luck as he had runners on his flanks in the early yards, while Flashing Willow seemed to be building up a head of steam into the turn.
Gallant Knight was up to the test, however. Making a fast start, Ollie Bray’s promising son of Droopys Sydney and Silver Penny charged into the turn to hold a narrow advantage and he never have an inch at this point.
After losing their position into the bend, Gizmo cash and Narrie Flyer were in behind the front three. Flashing Willow attempted to drive the bend but he had Bogger Hunter in his way and the pair clashed. It meant that Gallant Knight was left three lengths clear and he maintained a powerful gallop to the line to see off Bogger Hunter by the same margin in 18.64. Gizmo Cash recovered from his traffic problems to qualify in third, some two lengths further adrift.
HERO REELS IN ZULU
Echo Zulu seemed to have matters in hand in the second heat when making a flying start from trap three but Radical Hero had other ideas, storming up the home straight to lead late.
Radical Hero also came away well but was over two lengths behind Echo Zulu into the turn but, staying tight to the fence, he drew closer as they turned for home.
Trained by Tommy O’Donovan for Ger Hutton, a combination that has tasted classic glory in the past, Radical Hero finished with a real flourish to claim a narrow success by a half length in 18.67. Corbrack Prince recovered after a slow start to grab third another two lengths away.