Everything goes to plan for Ardfert Thunder

Published 02/04/2014 | 05:36

Sponsor Tommy Clifford and his daughter Katie present the winning trophy to Seamus Stack and his father Michael from Listowel after Highway Jedi won the Ardfert Potatoes Sweepstake Final all part of the Newmarket GAA Benefit night at the Kingdom Greyhound Stadium on Saturday. Included, from left, are members of the Newmarket GAA Committee Dan O'Riordan, chairman, Eileen Lane, Eilis Hourigan, PRO, Liz O'Sullivan, secretary, John Murphy, PRO, Noreen Sheahan, organiser, and, in front left, Willie O'Keeffe, and Barry O'Leary, asst secretary. Photo by www.deniswalshphotography.com

EVERY week, there is irrefutable evidence to show that greyhound racing is the most unpredictable of sports.

We saw a lot of upsets in the Easter Cup at Shelbourne Park last Saturday night, though, thankfully, everything went right in the event for our own Ardfert Thunder, and Tralee Track provided its own upset on the same night through the victory of Highway Jedi in the final of the Ardfert Potatoes A6 525 Sweepstake (winner, €650).

Highway Jedi had been beaten into fourth place at the semi-final stage, seven lengths behind Coolavanny Wood, but he was called in as a reserve following the withdrawal of Fivestar Premier. And what happens? He runs away with the final, upstaging both Coolavanny Wood and the 6/4 favourite, Homestead Rain.

He did it by taking a flier from trap 1 and he could be called the winner quite a distance from home. Homestead Rain, which was held up rounding the first bend, ran on powerfully behind him, but there was two and-a-half lengths between the pair at the line in 29.21, with the same distance back to Coolavanny Wood, which badly missed his break from trap 5 and was never a factor in the race. The winner is owned by Seamus Stack, of Listowel.

A huge crowd was present to watch the final, the night being a fund-raiser for Newmarket (Co Cork) GAA, and once again it was brought home in a big way that benefit meetings supply great oxygen to the Oakview venue at all levels, as well as being a great source of income for those organising them.

The night opened with three heats of a 325yds sweepstake for coursing greyhounds, carrying the name of Hopes And Dreams, and very much the most impressive winner was the Moyvane-owned Tommy Hopscotch.

He might have been led out of traps by Madam Magoo, but he soon established superiority and he beat the Listowel bitch by two and-a-half lengths in 17.91, justifying 4/6 favouritism in the process.

The other heat winners were On The Line (18.23) and Rock The Boat (18.32) and, while four qualifiers in each heat means two more runs, Tommy Hopscotch looks to have this €570-to-the-winner event at his mercy.

Mrs Maria O'Shea, of Tralee, enjoyed a terrific double with Bayside Dusty (31.79, 570yds) and litter sister, Bayside Sparky (29.15), while the other winners were: Gary Cu, 29.38; Droumeragh Sam, 28.97; Ballinorig Maiden and Fantastic Spirit, dead-heat, 29.59; Fermoyle Bale, 28.98; Unknown Glory, 27.41 (500yds).

* AT Shelbourne Park, also on Saturday night, Ardfert Thunder recorded a magnificent victory at the quarter-final stage of the Easter Cup (winner, €25,000), while the Gneeveguilla-owned Halftime Show sprang a wonderful 5/1 upset by winning the final of the Kudos Supersprint Sweepstake (winner, €3,500) at Curraheen Park.


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