*The 2023 WillWeGo.com Irish St. Leger champion in Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night was Clonbrien Treaty owned and trained by Jim and Muireann Murphy and family and breeder Jerry Murphy, trainer Graham Holland and the Riverside team. Photograph: James Treacy

All eyes were on Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night as the final of the WillWeGo.com Irish St. Leger concluded.

By Michael Maher

In terms of the betting market, it fluctuated greatly on the lead up to the €30,000 decider but one thing for certain was the fact that Clonbrien Treaty would go off favourite. Installed at odds of 5/4, Swords Rex was next best at 10/3 despite drifting, while Sober Glory was available at odds of 4/1. The general reason for the market drift of Swords Rex was down to how effortlessly Clonbrien Treaty breezed past the 2022 Kirby winner seven days prior, both are trained by Graham Holland.

However Swords Rex had a beautiful draw in trap three and he made full use of this with a bullet-like break to quickly open a one length lead over Beepers Lariat in second, with Mr Chelm and Ballinabola Una battling it out for fourth. Meanwhile, Clonbrien Treaty, despite making his usual moderate start, was pacing up in incredible fashion and he was to turn a scarily close second behind the brilliant Swords Rex. Suddenly, it was a rerun of last week’s thrilling semi-final with Clonbrien Treaty getting up on line for owners James and Muireann Murphy of Co. Limerick.

On last Thursday night at the same venue, three Clare owned greyhounds graced the winner’s enclosure, April Rain recorded an eight-career success for Ennistymon’s Tom Flanagan and young Robert Shanahan with a smart 28.99 performance which was the quickest spin of the evening, Rain is a homebred daughter of Romeo recruit and Trembling Juliet.

The journey home for O’Callaghan Mills stalwarts of Donal, Ciaran and Gary Cooney was a sweet one when they recorded a quickfire double in the final two races of the evening with litter siblings Killuran Babe and Killuran Johnny. remarkably these offsprings of Pestana and Broder Electric won their respective races in the same time which was 29.79.

The final of the €7,500 to the winner Fonez Galway Oaks was the feature of Friday night tremendous card at Galway Greyhound Stadium with the Stephen Molloy Memorial A2 525 a superb supporting event drew a tremendous attendance for possibly one of the best quality cards ran at the track in some time and on the track the canine participants certainly did their bit.

As six contenders for the feature contest went to traps the red jacketed Droopys Mandolin trained by Robert Gleeson and owned by successful flat jockey currently plying his trade in Dubai Pat Dobbs and his brother Alan was the warm order favourite. As the traps rose Droopys Mandolin had read the script and came away in great style in company with Role Model towards the outer with Glengar Jasmine in third place and as the bend loomed Droopys Mandolin seized control of proceedings along the rails as she took two lengths out of her rivals entering the back straight. Early in the back straight though the daughter of Laughill Blake and Droopys Curio really stamped her authority on the contest as she shot four lengths clear before the halfway mark as Glengar Jasmine challenged for second place but the bird had now flown out front as Droopys Mandolin powered clear all the way to the line for an emphatic four and three quarter lengths success over Granger Jasmine in 28.49.

As the traps rose for the Stephen Molloy Memorial A2 525 Final the well fancied Fortune Sydney was first to emerge from traps but he was immediately joined by the Jamie Hogan owned Grangeview Dude on the run towards the opening bend. As the leading pair approached the opening bend Grangeview Dude took a definite advantage and quickly grabbed the rails berth as Colossal Venture and Da Ultimate tracked the leading pair around the opening two bends. Racing down the back Grangeview Dude engaged the turbo and took two lengths out of his rivals and approaching the penultimate corner the lead was three lengths. At this point Colossal Venture began her usual late challenge and although she did close rounding the home bend Grangeview Dude (Good News and Grangeview West) stayed on strongly to land the spoils by a length and three parts in 28.94.

The opening contest of the night was an A4 graded contest over 525 yards in which Joey’s Girl and Hit The Diss were both smartly into their strides and the pair matched strides to the opening bend where Joeys Girl led by a length along the rails as Drombeg Rio made ground to race into third place as they entered the back straight. Approaching the third bend Hit The Diss went up on the leaders outside again and this time the Shane Counihan and John Quinn of Gort owned daughter of Pestana and Port West Pop kicked clear but she was all out late on to see off the challenge of the staying on Cillowen Missile by a diminishing neck in 29.67.

In the early strides of the A3 graded affair Aulton Lucy, Larchill Pepsi and Tunnercurry Sid were lined across the track with the Pat Hogan of Ennis owned Aulton Lucy railing well around the opening bend to lead Larchill Pepsi by a length into the back straight. Racing along the back Aulton Lucy continued to show the way but the daughter of Pat C Sabbath and Portumna West was briefly joined by Larchill Pepsi as they exited the back straight but the Vincent McKenna trained lady again tracked well and kicking off the home bend won going away again at the line by a length and three parts in 29.10.

Slightly unlucky on his most recent outing the Eoin Clancy owned Bayview Fred made amends in superb style in the A2 graded 550 yards contest leading approaching halfway before drawing clear on the run home to defeat Kilbrennan Clan by six and three parts of a length in 30.16. On the long run towards the opening bend Crokers For Life led on the wide outside from Bayview Fred and Killbrennan Clan. Rounding the opening bend Bayview Fred railed well and joined issue with Crokers For Life before taking command nearing halfway and once in front the Stephen Murray of Sixmilebridge trained son of Premier Fantasy and Bayview Flyer gradually began to turn the screw as he powered clear for a convincing victory.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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