Greyhounds: Cable Bay takes Kirby glory for Matthews
Brendan MATTHEWS is long established as a maestro in the greyhound game and over the years he has found the Limerick area a really rich hunting ground.
He has landed the Irish Cup eight times and on Saturday the won the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake, which concluded in front of a huge crowd.
This richest puppy stake in the world has been run three times in Limerick and the last two runnings have been won by a Matthews-trained runner.
Last year Matthews turned out the John Boyle-trained Boylesports Hero to win the €80,000 event and this time it was Cable Bay which raced to a hugely impressive victory in 28.11, one of the fastest times ever returned over the four bends.
The betting had been all about Rural Hawaii and Droopys Braedon and the latter duly got away fast and led up from Rural Hawaii on the outside, with Ivy Hill Bart next ahead of Cable Bay, which had got away better than in his previous races.
But the race really got under way off the second bend as Rural Hawaii challenged on the outside and Cable Bay went third and began to close.
The Newry runner really motored into the third bend and displayed courage as he went up the inside of Droopys Braedon.
On to the final turn and it was now neck and neck between Rural Hawaii and Cable Bay. Rural drifted wide and Cable Bay showed in front and then really cashed in on his superior finishing speed to win by two lengths from Rural Hawaii in a brilliant time of 28.11, easily the fastest of the competition.
It was another two lengths to Country Legend, which got up in the last stride to beat Droopys Braedon for third by a short head.
Cable Bay is a son of Foleys Folley and Toms Delight and was also bred by Matthews in Newry. Plans are still up in the air, with talk of Wimbledon.
However, one suspects that Shelbourne may be this dog's target and the Boylesports.com Irish Derby is firmly in the minds of the Matthews boys, Damian and Plunkett.
It was a remarkable night at the controversial Limerick Stadium with a massive crowd illustrating what top-class racing and proper marketing can achieve.
Let's hope this is only the start of what could prove to be a real renaissance for the sport in Limerick.
Chic on top
Elsewhere, Jackie Roche's impressive Rastafari Chic secured a superb runaway victory in the final of the Hennerty Sales Cork Oaks at Curraheen Park.
She showed superior early pace, led by a couple of lengths into the back and raced away to win by six and a half lengths from Sunrise Ice in a flying 28.29.
Rafas Wee Star finished fast to be a short head third.