Monday 27 March 2017

Rampant Raffa in Laurels romp

Irish Independent Marketing & Promotions Manager Arlene Regan presents the trophy after Midtown Raffa's victory in the Irish Independent Laurels (Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision)
Irish Independent Marketing & Promotions Manager Arlene Regan presents the trophy after Midtown Raffa's victory in the Irish Independent Laurels (Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision)
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Kerry greyhound Midtown Raffa was a popular winner of Cork’s biggest prize, the Irish Independent Irish Laurels at Curraheen Park on Saturday night. Amongst the favourites for outright glory since the start of the classic, the talented brindle was sent to traps the 2/1 market leader and his supporters never had a moment’s worry.

It seemed that much of the population of Castleisland were present to witness Midtown Raffa produce a career defining performance,which was followed by joyful scenes at the presentation. In truth, the race itself was over as a contest in the opening yards.

Once Midtown Raffa matched his rivals at trap rise, his superior early speed carried him to the front before the turn and he was never threatened thereafter. Burgess Rumble moved second entering the back and Mimis Ace stayed on well, but they had no answer to Midtown Raffa. At the line Raffa had five and a half lengths in hand on Burgess Rumble in 28.31 with Mimis Ace just a short head away in third.

The Laurels champion is owned by a syndicate consisting of Dave Prendiville, John Sullivan, Sean Cody, plus brothers, Tony and Billy Colbert, both publicans in New York. Tony, who runs Tir Na Nog, a bar near Madison Square Garden, was buoyant after the win.

“I was insistently told I just had to come ‘home’ for this; what an experience and reception. An amazing night,” he said. Winning trainer, Mossie O’Connor was understandably delighted too. “Raffa was runner-up in Clonmel’s Produce Stakes - beaten by Boylesports Hero, certainly no disgrace. And when he ran so well in his semi last weekend you had to be hopeful. “When he came away tonight, it was really race over. Trap two, in the end, proved perfect,” he said. He ruled out the upcoming English Derby for his star attraction.

“You need to prepare for that, and we haven’t. But we will now look at the Boylesports Derby.” And why wouldn’t they look at the Boylesports Derby? If he goes on to capture Ireland’s blue riband and the Kerry AgriBusiness Irish Leger at Limerick he will land the Boylesports €250,000 triple crown bonus.

Pearl shines Skywalker Pearl set the standard in the Healthcare and Transport Services Puppy Oaks at Shelbourne on Saturday night when blitzing clear in the second semi final to beat Urban Gossip by a length and a half in a sensational 28.22. But that run was almost overshadowed by a tremendous opening semi-final where Droopys Streak and Ballydoyle Honey served up one of the great buckles of 2015.

The pair gave everything, but Droopys Streak was to make an early advantage count as he repeatedly denied Ballydoyle Honey a run before holding on by the minimum margin in 28.33

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