Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake 2014

Hot round two heats set up mouthwatering Q/finals
                                                                                                                                                                by Paul Cooney

A high class depth of talent was clearly evident following a string of impressive performances in the opening round heats but on Saturday night last the 2014 Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake turned the heat to boiling point as Ireland`s best young racers posted some phenomenal performances. With the luxury of an extra qualifying place now gone it was time for those with serious title aspirations to lay down a marker and so they did in quick succession on a night to remember in round 2 of the “richest puppy event in the world”.

Vulturi the fastest but we don`t do slow!

Benefiting for his first round outing, the Liam Dowling trained Vulturi turned in the most impressive performance of the heats when reversing the form of his round 1 defeat to Boylesports Hero in emphatic style. A strong stayer at the 525 yard trip he used his rails pitch from trap 1 for a clear run around the opening bends and proceeded to overturn a three length deficit on the back-straight when drawing alongside the Brendan Matthews runner before the final turn. The manner in which he stretched to a four length victory from this point was simply superb and almost incredulous that he could stop the clock at 28.25, the fastest of the competition thus far.

The opening heat on the night went to the Graham Holland trained Sidarian Blitz who had been eye-catching in the previous round and duly confirmed that promise when overhauling El Salvador approaching the third bend before going on to record 28.68 in a two length victory. This was the slowest time of the second round heats, testament to the depth of quality in the competition and it was matched in the concluding heat when Declan Byrne`s Bubbly Gold, last on the run to the first bend, stayed the trip very strongly to pass the pacesetting Jetson on the run to the line for a one and a half length verdict.

Big kennels lurking as five remain unbeaten
Vans Viking remains undefeated
The first to register back to back wins in the competition was Green Prince who made it a double for Liam Dowling on the night, producing an almost carbon copy of his opening round win when dominant throughout heat 2 in 28.54 from trap 1. The following heat saw the impressive Vans Viking score his sixth career win in as many starts when leading on the inside at the first bend before clocking 28.49 in a three and a half length win over Runaway Rover before Bubbly Gold brought up the double for Graham Holland. Heats 5 & 6 then both went to the Paul Hennessy team when firstly Barefoot Agent got up to deny Deanridge Pennys off the final turn for a three quarter length victory in 28.47 before the powerful Jaytee Seville again looked imperious when flying on the back-straight for a two and a half length verdict over Jacks Ace also in 28.47.

A most interesting contender to record a second heat win last week was Emers Superstar for coursing sage Gerry Holian when he appreciated his trap 1 berth for a dominant early paced success in heat 4, clocking a slick 28.33. He was adding to a game opening round heat win when having to come from behind in 28.85 and appears a big challenger for his prolific coursing winning trainer.

Spicy draw makes quarter-finals unpredictable

Deanridge Pennys earns the vote in heat 1
Heat 1: The undefeated Vans Viking will most likely start favourite and although an impressive young talent he faces the stiffest test of his short career tonight. He has looked a confirmed railer in the opening rounds and should he seek to move inwards from trap 5, trouble may loom as Crokers Champ in trap 4 can break smartly with early pace. The set-up of the race offers a likely chance for sole wide seed Jacks Ace to gain a clear run on the outer and he must enter trio calculations but best drawn of them all may be Deanridge Pennys in trap 2, 5/1 second choice in the outright betting market he gets the vote to finally get off the mark at Limerick as he should be able to lead on the rails at the opening bend. Just 7/2 in the outright market it would be a massive shock if Vans Viking was eliminated at this stage but back his talent to get him out of a potentially sticky situation and gain a semi-final place. Verdict 2-6-5

Jaytee Seville faces stiff task in Trap 5
Heat 2: A truly vicious draw for some potential champions here where the 100% competition records of Jaytee Seville and Emers Superstar will be on the line against the fastest runner in the event thus far, Vulturi and something must give! So impressive form trap 1 last week, Emers Superstar faces a different task now but he has won from trap 6 and has, for the most part, kept a straight line until clear racing room became apparent when in stripes, auguring well for his chances especially as Jaytee Seville has looked ill at ease on the two occasions that he occupied trap 5 in the past. The Hennessy runner may struggle to match Ivy Hill Prince at trap rise and a clear run early looks unlikely for this powerhouse who may have to rely on racing room at the home bends to grab a qualifying place. The draw seems a little more straight forward for Liam Dowling`s Vulturi who runs well close to the fence and although he may get squeezed for room at the bend, a handy pitch behind the pace on the back-straight can see him use his phenomenal speed from halfway and safely progress to the next round in a heat where a plausible case can be made for all runners. Verdict 6-2-5

Heat 3: This heat looks the most straightforward on paper and it will be a major shock if the business end of the race sees anything other than a battle between the unbeaten Green Prince and impressive round 2 winner Barefoot Agent with the latter attempting to claw back the early pacer on the home-straight as both appear to have very suitable draws. A scramble for the third qualifying place may just go the way of trap 6 runner Laughil Blake who will need a clear run but he is likely to lead the other wide seed, Inslips Dino, on the run to the opening bend which should ensure a trouble free passage but that last trio spot is wide open with a case to be made for all of the remaining runners. Verdict 2-1-6

Jetson can lead up in Heat 4
Heat 4: Another complicated affair to conclude the quarter-finals but the unbeaten Bubbly Gold, now just 11/2 in the outright market, looks ideally housed in trap 1 and the Declan Byrne trained powerhouse gets a confident vote to continue his winning ways. The destination of the other qualifying places however is much harder to predict with three previous heat winners and the Joe Dunne Memorial runner-up contesting a mouthwatering heat. Brendan Matthew`s Boylesports Hero will rightly have his followers and he possesses blistering early pace. However, that pace often disguises a lack of breaking prowess and the make-up of this race on the outside suggests he is in for an early scare tonight. A repeat of last week`s 1.40 split would see him denied the racing room afforded to him in the opening heats as Sidarian Blitz in trap 4 will certainly not move inwards and Jackal Frampton in the stripes is producing splits fast enough to make this a scary proposition for the 8/1 fourth choice in John Boyle`s own outright market and with risk of wearing egg on on my big red face he is tipped to lose out on the places. On the inside Jetson in trap 3 gets the vote to turn first and hang on for a place with Sidarian Blitz`s raw speed on the back-straight taken to gain him a semi-final berth. Verdict 1-3-4

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