Robbie makes early statement in Kirby heats
The fastest run in the second round of the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial came in the very first heat at Limerick Stadium on Saturday, when the Graham Holland trained Lughill Robbie ran out an all-the-way winner in 28.56.
The victory was very much down to early pace, as Lughill grabbed an advantage and won by a couple of lengths from the rapidly improving Borsalino.
Next best on the night was Johnny O'Sullivan's Native Chimes, as he got up late to beat Rathnasare Champ by a neck in 28.63. The fastest first round winner Vancouver Shea was led by Toocoolforschool for much of the journey, but asserted late to win by half a length in 28.75.
Apart from Vancouver Shea, the only other runners enjoying an unbeaten record in the competition are Cometwopass and Bentekes Bocko. Trained by Peter Cronin, Cometwopass made the most of his inside draw to lead all in Heat 2 for a length-and-a-half victory over the unlucky Coolavanny Pet in 28.68.
In Heat 5, the Pat Buckley trained Bentekes Bocko was one of the easier winners of the evening, as he led all the way for a four-and-a-half length margin over Clonbrien Hero in 28.75. The other heat winners were Native Chimes in 28.63, Magical Vinny in 28.97, Higher Level in 28.81 and Shewhodareswins in 28.83.
The Wallace & Murray Irish Cesarewitch got underway at Mullingar and we had to wait for the final heat for the best run. The Mike and Ella Buckley owned Velvet John Joe, a half brother to Oaks winner Velvet All Jam, returned from a lengthy absence to win the final heat in a swift 33.21.
He was just a spot faster than the Holland trained Clares Dream, which had four lengths to spare over Drumsna Star in 33.22.