Gold Cup Saturday stroll for McKenna's Fiery Splendour
Talking late last year, trainer Owen McKenna wasn't all that optimistic about the future but it was a man with a totally different attitude who reflected on his great start to the 2015 season yesterday morning.
Having lost the services of his great ally Damian Lonergan, McKenna talked of trimming down his team for this season. Well, the re-formed New Inn team which comprises mainly of Owen and his wife Sian is doing very nicely thank you and they have already lifted the first two major competitions run at Shelbourne this year.
First up was Bearatipp two weeks back with that splendid early-paced performance in the final of the Joe Dunne Memorial and now we have Fiery Splendour being a runaway winner of the €20,000 Best Car Parks Gold Cup on Saturday night.
This race was virtually over as soon as it started with Fiery Splendour rocketing out of the six box and he had most of his rivals stone cold by the bend.
Elevenerife moved second at the corner but faced a five-length deficit at halfway.
By the line Fiery Splendour had extended the winning margin to eight lengths in a very fast time of 28.35 with Barefoot Agent staying on to be a three parts of a length third.
The winner is a son of Tubbertelly Dubh and Any Time Again and is owned by Eimear Coffey, sister to Davy Russell, and wife of Youghal's Diarmuid Coffey. This dog had previously broken the Wimbledon track record and that's where his next race is likely to be, the first round of the 2015 classic. If he can maintain this form he will have a mighty chance.
Whereas the favourite totally dominated the final of the Gold Cup at Shelbourne, it was the complete opposite down at Curraheen Park where Linda Bowen's 8/1 outsider of the field, Glenbowen Diamon, led home his rivals in the final of the Guinness Trophy.
The Carrignavar dog was a 5/1 semi-final winner and this time it was even bigger. It was, however, a well-deserved success as he took over from the fast-starting favourite Captain Karnage at the third bend and earned victory by a neck in 28.67.
It was good to see the Tyrur dogs back in action, following their few months' absence due to a kennel virus, at Shelbourne on Saturday and, no doubt, they will figure prominently in the forthcoming Dandelion Easter Cup.
Tyrur Super Mac clocked 28.43 while Tyrur Van Gaal did 28.72 and Tyrur Tommy 28.75. Best of the others was Highview Ranger in 28.71 while Millbank Steve did 28.74. Robert Gleeson's Droopys Nidge was trialled at Limerick and clocked 18.63 for the sprint and he will have a 525 at Shelbourne next Saturday.