Piercestown kennels grab more headlines
THE OLYMPICS is around the corner and the Irish Derby, our Olympics, is also due to get under way in two weeks. There is a great buzz of anticipation in the air with all the contenders getting into top order, with the Champion Stakes final and some topclass opens on Saturday night next at Shelbourne Park in the build-up to the most coveted prize in greyhound racing.
The Piercestown kennels of 'Shanks' Whelan and trainer Ronnie Shinkwin are hard to keep out of the news. Ronnie went to Dundalk on Thursday night last to contest the Open Sprint final of €800 and his wife's dog, 'Piercestown Con' ('Ace Hi Rumble-Tyford Blackie'), showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals and scored a very impressive win to make it four wins on the trot. On this form he will be a major player in the upcoming Irish Cup Sprint over the same course and distance.
The husband and wife team nearly made it a double of finals as 'Piercestown Liam' made a bold bid to lead all the way in the Horse and Hound Tridistance at Enniscorthy. However, the Padge Kehoe (Clonroche)-owned 'Flag Honour' ('Nobooth For Gary-Droopys Oaks') was staying on strongly and collared the leader inside the final 25 yards to score by a neck in a good 31.85 and win the stake unbeaten in all three distances - a dog clearly on the upgrade. 'Piercestown Buzz' was only a length away in third spot.
However, race seven, an A2, saw another win for Ronnie when 'Rally On Diva' scored a nice win, justifying the favourite's tag by scoring in 29.36, her fifth win for the Keep the Faith syndicate. This daughter of 'Archaton Pine-Winning Spirit' may well have a crack at the Puppy Oaks at Harold's Cross this Friday night.
As regards the John Spracklin-owned 'Morton Maraudor' ('Headbound-Tons Of Fun'), as I said a few weeks ago his turn would come. Well, it has come on the double as he followed up last week's win at Clonmel with a fine effort at Enniscorthy in the last race, an A1/2, when leading and running on well to beat 'Kanasef' by a head in a fast 28.93 - his sixth race win so far.
There was a good card on Saturday night last at Waterford with two finals featuring, and although there was no Wexford win there was success in the other races. Barntown owner Aidan Roche enjoyed a fine double, firstly in the A4 fourth race as his 'Kingsmill Silver' came from off the pace to score a nice 29.14 win - his second win from six starts for this son of ' CrashKingsmill Abu'.
Then in race six, the semi-final of the Purple And Gold A4/5, 'Kingsmill Ace' ('Top Honcho-Lunar Vacation') followed up last week's impressive win with another dominant display, scoring by two lengths in a fast 28.66. Aidan and John Roche share ownership of this fellow.
Third in that heat was 'Ballinclare Eze' and she will join her sister, 'Ballinclare Baby' ('Ace Hi Rumble-Elteen Nell') in this week's final as 'Baby' made it five wins from eight starts when getting to the front off the first bend to go on to score in a good 28.90 for the in-form kennel of Eilish McCann (Gorey).
The sires 'Nobooth For Gary' and 'Archaton Pine' are making good strides in the sire world as I mentioned a few weeks back and the winners are flowing well in a difficult business. They are starting to make inroads and the future looks bright as they are both good value for money.