Shea Still Leads The Way
C&A Kirby Memorial
With only twelve names remaining in the mix for the €80,000 prize money on offer things are really starting to hot up in Limerick.
Shea All The Way
Vancouver Shea is unbeaten in the competition so far after a foot perfect performance in his quarter-final last Saturday night. He disappointed somewhat even though he won in the second round so he was really out to prove a point last week. And boy did he prove his critics wrong!
This blue son of Tullymurry Act and Steely Passion got off to a level start but motored to the front at the first corner.
Trap 5 in this heat (Ivy Hill Blitz) turned violently left out of the boxes which left Shea in a lovely position being the only wide seed. Once hitting the front at the corner it was good night Irene. This dog sees out the trip very strong so drew clear down the far side.
Native Chimes ran exceptionally well to qualify in second. After getting sandwiched between trap one and three on the way to the bend he did well to hold his ground and battle his way into second. Ivy Hill Blitz kept on for third after the early trouble. The winning time was 28.40.
The Pat Buckley trained Bentekes Bocko also kept his unbeaten tag in the stake after a professional performance in the second heat. Going through the gears quickly he just led to the corner from Nitro Notorious on his outside.
Bocko hugged the rail throughout which proved a race winning move for him. Jaytee Barracuda just about showed in second place on the outside as they straightened up down the back straight, showing massive boot Jaytee appeared on the tail of the leader between the last two corners but checked slightly in behind.
This gave Bocko a vital two length lead up the home staright, Barracuda didn’t give up the ghost after the trouble, he gave his all up the home straight but the line came just in time for Bentekes Bocko as he stopped the clock in 28.65. Borsalino claimed the third qualifying position.
Coolavanny Pet ran a cracker in defeat in the second round in behind Cometoopass so we made her banker material last week. She did make you sweat for your money though if you did get stuck in at 4/5. Rathnasare Champ showed his customary early pace in the heat for his trainer Francie Murray to lead a long way down the far side.
Coolavanny shot inside between bends one and two and found herself in second place. From here I was full sure she would run out a very comfortable winner but she was made work extremely hard.
Off the last I thought she would have won comfortably but she only got up in the shadows of the post to win by a short head from the game Rathnasare Champ in second and the running on Shewhodareswins in third. 28.68 was the winning time.
One Better For Cronin
Cometoopass made it three wins from four career starts in the final heat. This fellow is the least experienced runner in the line-up having only started his career in the unraced in Tralee. His trainer Peter Cronin went extremely close to winning this competition in 2014 with Crokers Champ (runner-up to BoyleSports Hero) so will be out to go one step better.
Cometoopass seems to have a lot of Crokers attributes as he loves to set the pace.
He has hit the lids every night in Limerick so far and looks to like the inside. Higher Level was the one who did the chasing down the back straight.
In fairness to her she did pull a length or two out of the leader but the line came in plenty of time in a slick 28.75. The favourite in the heat Drive On Tipp kept on for third after a slow start. The winner has an awful draw in next week’s semi-final where he will wear the orange jacket.
Jaytee Barracuda and Vancouver Shea look the picks in the semi-final this weekend. There will hardly be much value in Vancouver but Jaytee could go off at a bit of a price. He’s an improving sort who could lead on the outside as Cometoopass on his inside could make plenty of room for him.
Vivaro Fairly Swift In Mullingar
The Ken Busteed-owned Vivaro Swift set the standard in the second round of the Irish Cesarewitch in Mullingar last Saturday night with an all-the-way success in a calculated 32.61. Swift reached the semi-final of this competition last year but was eliminated at the semi-final stage when going off 6/4 favourite for his heat. His performance so far in the stake this year puts him bang in the mix.
He is one of two wide seeds left in the competition (Joyful Dribbler being the other one) but he looks to have the superior early foot. Looking at the draw for next week’s semi-finals the second semi is worthy of a final with the big four involved. Droopys Smasher in one is yet to win a heat but is the classiest runner left in it, she has a beautiful draw. Velvet John Joe recorded the fastest time in the opening round and remains unbeaten, he’s drawn in three.
Clares Dream flew the first night but failed to sparkle in the second round, she will be out to redeem herself. Vivaro Swift is drawn in the stripes. It will be a thrilling contest without doubt.
Smasher in one could be the value.
The opening semi-final looks to be wide open, Jackeen Flyer is the strongest stayer remaining in the competition. She wants about 100 yards further but her class can pull her through. She is the choice to lead them home.
With the way things are here in Ireland at the moment we should expect the traveling party across the Irish Sea to be as big as ever. A few dogs have recently had workouts around Shawfield for the Scottish Derby Jaytee Denver (late Droopys Punk) going the best railing tightly in 29.06 and Coolavanny Mason looked to run the circuit very well in 29.10.