This year’s Champion Open Unraced continues to really deliver.
Once again, for the third week running, there was a different pace-setter in Friday’s semi-finals with Carrick Fergie producing a stunning display to grab the headlines.
Not only was he the fastest winner on the night, and the entire competition, but his 28.58 return was the fifth fastest time ever recorded at Kilkenny with only Priceless Brandy, Boherduff Light (twice) and Bull Run Bolt going faster.
It wasn’t the only brilliant display as Droopys Doughnut displayed real pace and determination to deny Ballinakill Alf in a wonderful second heat.
Carrick Fergie faced a tricky draw in the opening heat and was 4-1 to come out on top.
Ballymac Copper got first run up the fence but Carrick Fergie was able to slip onto the fence with Glenview Star and Jacktavern Bolt missing the kick from traps two and three.
It was to prove decisive as Carrick Fergie flew up the fence, staying tight to the rail, to move past Ballymac Copper on the bend. In a matter of strides, he opened up a clear advantage. Showing massive back straight pace, the son of Dorotas Wildcat and Droopys Zero raced right away from his rivals into the third turn.
It was evident he was on his way to a massive run. Certainly, his handler Robert Gleeson and owner Thomas Glynn would have been happy with what they were seeing. Maintaining a massive gallop all the way to the line, Carrick Fergie ran out a brilliant six and a half length winner over Ballymac Copper. Stonepark Syd was another length adrift in third.
A WONDERFUL FINISH GOES TO DOUGHNUT
The second heat was far more competitive with Ballinakill Alf and Droopys Doughnut having a great battle in the latter stages.
Seven Beach actually went up fastest on the outside of the track but Ballinakill Alf also went up fast to challenge on the bend.
Forcing his way to the front at the bend, Ballinakill Alf seemed a very likely scorer as he entered the back straight with two and a half lengths in hand. Importantly, the Donut Worry Syndicate owned Droopy Doughnut was now in second after moving past the middle-racing Seven Beach.
It set up a thrilling finish. Ballakill Alf continued to set a strong pace into the home straight but Droopys Doughnut was also motoring. Staying on stronger than his rival, the Johnny Linehan trained Droopys Doughnut (Pestana/ Droopys Alice) continued to close to the line before pouncing late for a half-length verdict in 28.72. Clonroosk Sydney also caught the eye in third, finishing fast to sit three and a half lengths behind Ballinakill Alf.
Champion Open Unraced
1 BALLINAKILL ALF
2 CARRICK FERGIE
3 CLONROOSK SYDNEY
4 DROOPYS DOUGHNUT
5 STONEPARK SYD
6 BALLYMAC COPPER