THE only open race at Tralee Track last Friday night saw Lassa Expedition click in outstanding fashion for local joint owners, Frank O'Donnell and Michael Costello, and for trainer, James O'Donnell, who is Frank's twin brother.
The two O'Donnells, it should be added, are sons of a former Kerry football great, Broddy O'Donnell, and they share a passionate love of the longtails.
Lassa Expedition had competed with much distinction in a very hot sweepstake at Shelbourne Park before Christmas and, although beaten a length by Black Warrior at Tralee six nights previously, he was not to be denied on a very quick return to the Oakview venue last Friday night and he beat a pretty strong field in 28.73 (.20 fast).
Lassa Expedition (Crash - Lassa Experience) was running from trap 6 and he was a strong 5/4 favourite in the betting market. Noted for his brilliant starting ability, he led into the first bend from Sashas Betenoir and Newlawn Tock and he was never going to be beaten after that.
He finished two lengths in front of Maum Quenn, which ran on really well from off the pace to claim the runner-up spot by a length from Newlawn Tock.
Lassa Expedition was gaining his sixth victory from fifteen starts and, reflecting admirable consistency, he has been out of the first three just twice.
Many other good nights are surely in store for him.
Interestingly, Tralee Track is now rated .20 fast for the 525yds trip and, as luck would have it, this new rating was introduced on a night when the sand surface was rather sticky.
Just one other winner on the night got inside 29.00 seconds, though not officially because of the fast going. That was Brush Dancer ( Head Bound - Moroccan Dancer), owned by John O'Connell, of Listowel. This wide seed clocked 28.99 in shading the verdict by a short head from the fast-starting Dramatic Missile and he did so after coming out at the tail of the field and finding himself in fifth place into the first bend.
He is much better than the statistics of three wins from thirteen starts indicate.
Batt O'Shea, the 1975 AllIreland Kerry footballer and a really passionate doggy man, won the fifth race with Labana Zig (Cashen Zig - Spa Rebel), which was easy in the betting market at 3/1 but which enjoyed a splendid trap-to-line victory in 29.23.
The last race saw Skellig Man (Yeah Man - Droumeragh Mist) strike a blow for the older brigade. This fellow will be six years old next July, but he certainly retains plenty of dash and he, too, achieved a terrific trap-to-line victory over 570yds in 31.76.
Fair play to joint owners, Flor O'Shea and Kevin Hannafin, for keeping him so fresh.
There were two sprints on the programme and in the second of them a straight line could be drawn between five runners into the first bend, with Spirit Sea Queen the only one off the pace.
It was inevitable that there would be trouble at that first bend and, as so often happens in these situations, the greyhound on the rails came off best. That was Boher Express (Crash - Boher Lass), owned by Mary Moriarty, of Gortatlea. This fellow went right away from his field to score by five lengths from Willhe-comeback in 18.14.
Other winners on the night: Broadmill Jane, 29.49; Taspy Lady, 18.19; Ballybane Niamh, 29.58; Jeffs Class, 29.34; Oak Free, 29.47.