It was a beautiful spring evening at Enniscorthy on Monday for the final of the Future Champion & Michael Fortune Memorial Unraced 525 and, while the temperatures plummeted as the sun set behind the Blackstairs Mountains, those in action on the track certainly added some heat to proceedings.
In the build-up to the €5,250 decider, much of the focus was centered on Jaytee Wexford and Stefans Rocket but neither greyhound carried any luck on the night as Sons Of Sons again proved that early speed is the most potent weapon in a big final.
Joe Devlin’s son of Dorotas Wildcat and Hey Delilah is blessed with real acceleration and he took full advantage as the track opened up for him in the opening exchanges. In contrast, Stefans Rocket missed the start from the inside box, while Jaytee Wexford seemed to come away well in three before momentarily taking a dip, losing all momentum in the process.
Piercestown Park and Piercestown Fly were fifth and sixth into the turn. Cooladerry Wings broke smartly from four, edging slightly inwards, which left room for Sons Of Sons to race into. Showing fine early pace, Sons Of Sons quickly cleared Cooladerry Wings to lead into the turn and this was to prove decisive.
Stefans Rocket, after his tardy exit, flew up the rail and forced his way into second on the bend, while Jaytee Wexford found himself in further trouble. It was now a two-dog race. Sons Of Sons led the field into the back straight, three lengths clear of Stefans Rocket but the outcome was still in the balance.
Both greyhounds flew down the back straight but, as they neared the third turn, Stefans Rocket began to close the gap. Getting to within a length of the leader, Stefans Rocket attempted to make his move on the fence.
It was at this point that Sons Of Sons put the race beyond the reach of his rival, shutting the door and forcing Stefans Rocket to check. Sons Of Sons was clipped from behind as this was all happening but he recovered quickly. The February 2019 whelp, who was one of the stars of the competition, coasted home a superb two length winner over Stefans Rocket in 29.24 (rated .20 slow). Piercestown Fly was a further three and a half lengths adrift in third.
Joe Devlin was delighted with his charge, “He’s always been a lovely dog. I sold his brother in the opening round and this fella has always been as good. He was actually the smallest in the litter but he races at 78lbs so it goes to show how big the rest were.
“He has a lovely temperament and just knows what it’s all about. He has a great turn of early as you saw tonight, a bit like his sire [Dorotas Wildcat]. I suppose that’s where the name came from, sons of sons is something we all say and he reminds me a bit of his father. He was a great dog.
“The dam has been great for me, throwing some very good ones. Shes Ordinary was third in the Puppy Oaks and I’ve a plenty more to come in. If the right offer were to come for this fella [Sons Of Sons] I’d have to sell him because I’ve got some nice dogs coming up behind him.”
PRAYER IMPRESSES AGAIN IN PLATE
There was also a tremendous winner of the Future Champion & Michael Donohoe Plate final with Indian Prayer recovering from a very slow start to come home clear.
It was a remarkable run from the rapidly progressive daughter of Confident Rankin and Airdown Rena.
In contrast, her litter sisters Cactus Parker and Cactus Sniper went up fast to dispute the lead at the opening turn. By this point Indian Prayer had improving her position, showing fine early speed to move fourth.
Staying close to the fence, Patrick Whelan and Laura Earl’s Indian Prayer forced her way into second by the second bend. Cactus Sniper was now a length and a half to the good at the head of affairs but Indian Prayer was moving with real menace.
Showing fine pace and determination, Indian Prayer moved to the front at the third turn and she quickly raced into a three length lead. She was never going to surrender her advantage once taking control and she stayed on to secure a three length victory over her sister, Cactus Sniper, in 29.34.
Given the circumstances, it really was a fine effort by the winner and she is clearly making giant strides. She is certainly one to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Elsewhere on the card George Roche recorded a fine double with both Strictly Blugirl and Strictly Flow taking charge at the turn in their respective contests before going on to score.
Strictly Blugirl built a clear lead down the back straight in the Gymstar and Misterin Kennels 525 and while he did cramp on the run in, he held on to score by a length and a half in 29.34.
The brace was completed in the final race with Strictly Flow winning in very similar fashion. He forced his way to the front on the bend from an inside draw before going clear. Kiltrea Pudgie stayed on well but Strictly Flow held on by three lengths in 32.31.
SUPERB DISPLAY FROM CONFIDENT
The fastest run of the night came in the Ballybreen Kennels & Michael O’Rourke 525 with Rains Confident running out a fine winner for Noel and Ben Freeman.
The son of Confident Rankin and Rathmore Destiny led from the start with Hes A Devil giving chase throughout.
Just a length clear for much of the way, Rains Confident powered up the straight to eventually score by three lengths in 28.91 (28.71 calc.). He was having just his third career start and is one with a bright future.