STICKMAN SETS THE STANDARD IN OPENING ROUND OF THE JOHN FITZGERALD MEMORIA

Barry Drake

The John Fitzgerald Memorial A1 Stake looks like a really good event and the opening round got underway in Kilcohan Park on Saturday night.

Stickman was quickest on the clock as he took heat two by a long way for Susan James. A very consistent sort, the 5-2 shot broke well and he was on terms at the opening corner. Hitting the front soon after the second bend and with a little bit of crowding in behind, Stickman quickly shot clear. All one-way traffic up front, the impressive winner came home with ten lengths to spare over Minor Droopy, in 30.23. Six lengths back to Slaneyside Foe in third place.

BOUNCED OUT IN FRONT

In the fourth and final heat, Ardera Edge bounced out in front and the 5-2 winner went on to win, in 30.35. In the ownership of Willie Brennan, there was a lot to like about the winning performance as he finished off strongly to score. A four and a half-length success over Ballydorgan Duke with a length back to Mister Audacity in third. Only four went to traps.

ALL THE RUNNING

In the opening heat, Triangle Hugo made all the running for Brendan Murphy. A narrow lead for most of the journey, the 5-2 winner showed great finishing speed to pull away in the closing stages and record a 30.36 winning run. Granard Thunder made late ground to finish second, two and a half lengths behind the winner with three quarters of a length back to Slaneyside Roo in third place.

FIVE FROM FIVE

In heat three, Captain Garfio made it five straight wins when the November puppy won for owner Ken Busteed. The 4-6 market leader broke well to lead and in truth the outcome never looked in any doubt. Another smart performance as the unbeaten youngster came home with three lengths to spare over Lough Mistoki, in 30.43. Three quarters of a length back to Honey Power in third place.