Easter hero Jaytee eyes Wimbledon glory
Paul Hennessy fired a first shot in what could be a hugely significant year when he sent out Jaytee Jet to win the final of the €25,000 Ladbrokes Easter Cup at Shelbourne Park on Saturday.
Jaytee Jet went off a 6/4 favourite but the 79lb powerhouse was slowly into stride as St Leger winner Skywalker Rory raced to the bend in front of Slippery Fred and Peregrine Falcon.
The picture had changed dramatically by the second bend. Skywalker was still the leader but Jaytee Jet had produced a lovely touch of early pace to go second.
Jaytee quickly ranged alongside the leader and then headed Skywalker Rory down the back before shooting clear to win by two and a half lengths from Skywalker Rory in 29.45. Lenson Sanchez stayed on to finish a six and a half length third.
This was a seventh Easter Cup victory for Hennessy and he is already thinking of bigger things.
"He was brilliant tonight," he said. "He had the gears to take them on after missing the break and showed tremendous pace. He is a massive young dog and is still improving. It is now full steam ahead to Wimbledon for the English Derby."
Jaytee Jet is a serious contender for the English Derby and he has already shown in his puppy days that he handles the Wimbledon track well.
Meanwhile, Hennessy will be bringing Jet's brother Jaytee Dutch as well as Jaytee Valencia and Mucho Macho Man to Shawfield this week for the Scottish Derby, which starts on Saturday.
Other highlights at Shelbourne on Saturday were the four-timer in the first four races for trainer Graham Holland, a litter treble for owner Larry Dunne with his Slippery stars and a treble for Hennessy, who was also on the mark with Jaytee Valencia and Kilara Lexy.
Holland was the big man at Limerick where he supplied three winners in the second-round heats of the Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake. This trio included a special performance from Clares Rocket as he posted a brilliant 28.13 in winning Heat 6 from Lenson Rocky.
The other Holland winners were Riverside Oscar in 28.69 and Silverhill Pat in 28.48 but the most dramatic performance came from Pat Buckley's Droopys Roddick as he came from last to first with a dramatic first-heat swoop that saw him beat Ela Alecko by a neck in 28.89.
Other heat winners were Maytown Eclipse in 28.55, Eightythreelarch in 28.43, Coolavanny Wendy in 28.40 and Witches Belle in 28.56.
The quarter-finals will be run on Saturday and Droopys Roddick has been handed a tough draw in Heat 1.