Edel's 'Belle' flies home in Kirby Memorial
The Cork bitch Witches Belle stole the thunder from the male racers when producing a tremendous run to be the fastest qualifier from the quarter-finals of the Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake at Limerick on Saturday.
It wasn't the first time that she had achieved this feat as she had beaten the cream of the young trackers in the final of the Joe Dunne Memorial at Shelbourne in January. On the evidence of this latest performance, Edel Twomey's bitch is getting better all the time and her performance in winning the second heat on Saturday was right out of the top drawer.
Witches Belle broke fast from four and led up from Droopys Awesome and Eightythreelarch. A powerful stayer that could stay six bends in time, Witches Belle was home and hosed once she led around the bend and she raced on powerfully to enjoy a three-length margin over Droopys Awesome in 28.18 with Eightythreelarch a length and a half third.
Putting the run into perspective, the competition favourite Clares Rocket was next best on the clock when he posted a time of 28.32 in winning the third heat by seven lengths. He led from the first bend and was chased home by Ela Alecko and Riverside Oscar.
Pat Buckley's highly-rated Droopys Roddick made one of his better starts in the opening heat and displayed real stamina when holding the powerful finish of Double Oh Seven by a length and a half in 28.50.
Graham Holland completed a heat double when Riverside Chip was an all the way winner of the last qualifier. He had a length and a half in hand of Maytown Eclipse in 28.48.
Ian Reilly's Quietly claimed his second track record inside a month when posting a brilliant 18.38 in winning a semi-final of the Barrington's Hospital Treaty Cup 350 at Limerick. He led all to beat Toolmaker Scot by two lengths, while the other heat was won by Robert Gleeson's Ballymac Bigmike in 18.52.
There were three Irish winners in the Scottish Derby as Francie Murray's Fair Taxes in 28.97, Brendan Matthews' Leave At Dawn in 29.21 and Paul Hennessy's Mucho Macho Man in 29.29 were successful. Fastest heat winner was Eden The Kid in 28.96, while last year's BoyleSports Irish Derby winner Ballymac Matt overcame traffic problems when winning in 29.62.