BARROW Saunders (Droopys Saunders/Barrow Magic) claimed the biggest prize of his career when taking the spoils for his Ardfert owners, Jonathon Best and Mike Collins, in the North Cork Cup held at Millstreet last weekend.
The 5/1 shot by the quarter final stage he showed terrific pace to come from behind Master McHugh to progress to the penultimate round by a margin of 2 lengths. He easily accounted for Carrowkeal Benji (3l) to book his place in the final against the highly rated Uptown Abu. Indeed, the Kerry raider was freely available at evens for the final course, which was somewhat surprising as the Uptown dog endured a couple of hefty falls following the opening turn of his semi-final defeat of Coolavanny Call. In a pulsating deciding course, Barrow was led from slips by his challenger, however he showed a fine turn of foot to be on level terms by halfway, and from there he powered ahead to take the opening score by 2 1/2 lengths.
In a keenly contested Derby Trial Stake, the John Kiely trained Cracking Lord (Central City/Lakyle Vacume) emerged with the elusive ticket, and at odds of 25/1 for the classic he looks good value as a bold showing is well within his capabilities. The 5/4 favourite as 8 remained, he was always in front in his quarter final win over Game Miller, even though the latter closed the deficit considerably in the closing stages, the favourite progressed by a length. That quarter final win proved to be the tightest course the winner endured on the final day as he defeated Gurteen Aghadown by 2 lengths to progress to the final
and the deciding buckle against the Listowel owned Nickies Matt was a very one sided affair with the winner always in control as he cruised to victory by a five length winning margin. The winner will without doubt face stiffer challenges in the classic, however his weekend showing will fill connections with optimism with the National meeting just over 3 weeks away.
Come on Belle (Adios Alonso/Tupele) was a popular local winner of the Oaks equivalent for Teddy Collins. She was a short priced 1/3 favourite in the final against Kildroum Betty, and she duly obliged with a resounding 6 length success. She ran well throughout the Stake and was a deserving winner. Owned by Miss Chloe Collins, the winner has been installed at odds of 40/1 for Oaks honours, and although an outsider the May puppy deserves her place on merit and was a very worthy winner of the Oaks ticket.
The Working Members Stake was won by the impressive Bower Carol (Droopys Saunders/Bower Sign) from the Barraduff kennels of John Saunders. In what was the closest final of the day, she edged out Millridge Bolt in a just-up decision.
Finally, the Game Protection Cup went the way of the Pat Norris owned Dreamers Fantasy (Ballymac Maeve/Foxes lady) who beat Eanascnocramhar by two lengths having lead from slips.