Galway remains a happy hunting ground for Clare dogs and their Banner owners while Inagh’s Noel Hehir will be flying the county flag on Saturday in the English Derby semi-finals.
The concluding A1 graded 525 Yards contest was the top graded event on Friday nights card at Galway Greyhound Stadium and it was a dog from North Clare that claimed the spoils. As the traps rose the red jacketed Pinnacle Rio came away well in company with Drombeg Blake and Cloneyigan Blaze who raced between runners approaching the opening bend.
Rounding the bend Pinnacle Rio was limit like as usual as Cloneyogan Blaze moved up on the Michael Costello owned runner as they entered the back straight. Racing down the back Pinnacle Rio continued to hold the call as Cloneyogan Blaze raced within a length of the leader. Exiting the back straight Pinnacle Rio took a length out of his rival as Its My Puma tried to close but Pinnacle Rio would not be denied as he stayed on well two defeat Cloneyogan Blaze by two and three quarter lengths in 29.26.
Having finished runner up on three of his last four outings, Glasheen Davy owned by Kilkee’s Brendan Browne finally got off the mark in race two of an S8 graded contest as he made virtually all the running to defeat Merciful Debbie by a length and three parts in 19.87. Away smartly the inner matched strides with Willows Dream on the run towards the opening bend where with the benefit of the inside line Glasheen Davy kicked two lengths clear. Despite moving to the middle of the track around the home bend Glasheen Davy was always in control racing up the home straight.
Race four was an A6 graded contest which went in emphatic fashion to the No-Turbo-Syndicate owned Campclone Blaze who routed his rivals by upwards of nine and three quarter lengths in 29.58. Away well in company with Rathin Archie, the Stephen Murray of Sixmilebridge trained runner really lengthened his stride approaching the opening bend where despite moving outwards he extended his advantage to over three lengths. Racing down the back Campclone Blaze pulled further clear with every stride as Ardbula Ned and Merciful Grace gave vain chase with the latter grabbing second place close home.
In the early strides of race five, Beslow Norajames showed pace to lead from Badgerfort Benjy and as they rounded the opening two bends they were three lengths clear of Banner Chops in third place with Blaze Dubh in fourth as they passed halfway. Leaving the back straight the front three began to tighten up with Beslow Norajames still holding the call but off the home bend the Pat and Gerard McMahon of Newmarket-on-Fergus owned Banner Chops swept through to take command and hold off the late effort of Blaze Dubh to score by a length and a half for the Donie Duggan of Tulla kennels in 29.88.
In race two on Saturday nights nights card both Ballygrauige Sue and Confused Fitzy were smartly into stride for this Novice 350 Yards contest with Aulton Zero also showing pace along the rails as the field approached the opening bend. Rounding the bend Confused Fitzy kicked clear on the wide outside as Aulton Zero moved second along the inner but the Gerry Manley of Cratloe owned Confused Fitzy proved two and a quarter lengths too good at the line in 19.48.
Ireland continues to hold a tight grip on the Star Sports & ARC English Derby with five of the top six in the outright betting representing these shores ahead of Saturday’s semi-finals. The draw hasn’t been overly kind but it’s safe to assume Ireland will have a strong team in the decider. The five Irish runners have been split with Ballydoyle Valor, Knocknaboul Sy and Coolavanny Chick owned by Noel Hehir of Inagh in the opening heat, while Deerjet Sydney and Wolfe clash in the second semi.