Monday 20 February 2017

Skywalker gives Holland a third Laurels

Published 18/07/2016 | 02:30

Irish Independent marketing and promotions manager Arlene Regan (second left) pictured with trainer Gerry Holland and owner Anne O’Connor after Skywalker Manner’s victory in the Laurels
Irish Independent marketing and promotions manager Arlene Regan (second left) pictured with trainer Gerry Holland and owner Anne O’Connor after Skywalker Manner’s victory in the Laurels

The trend of shocks in the Irish Independent Irish Laurels continued right through to the final on Saturday night when 5/1 chance Skywalker Manner became Graham Holland's third winner of the 525-yard classic.

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Farloe Rumble closed the 2/1 favourite ahead of the two Peter Cronin runners, Must Be Jack and Ela Alecko, who were available at 5-2. But when the traps opened, the main fancies were not to the fore and the favourite was actually last to the bend.

Skywalker Manner made a slick start and led up the inside where Ela Alecko was shut off into the bend and had little option but to check wide where crowding became the order.

Suddenly, Skywalker Manner led into the back by two-and-a-half lengths from Farloe Rumble, who had got a dream run around the corner.

Supporters of the favourite were in happy mood but the typical surge from Farloe never materialised and Skywalker raced home a length-and-a-half in front of Farloe Rumble in 28.29, with Ela Alecko a similar distance third.

Skywalker Manner is jointly owned by Anne O'Connor from Ballyheigue and Ray Patterson from England, and is trained by Holland.

The youngest finalist, he is now likely to go for the Irish Derby which commences on August 11.

"The Laurels has been very good to me," said Holland. "That's our third win in the event and Manner's sire Leeview Jet was favourite for the final one year." This victory made up for that defeat.

The Consolation final was won by Civility Counts which led from the opening turn and held off Gyp Rosetti by three parts of a length in 28.37.

At Shelbourne there was a major upset as the 10/1 chance Coolavanny Mason won the final of the ECC Timber Open 550 in 29.53.

The Noel Browne dog flew from traps while the two favourites, Priceless Brandy and Sober Call, missed the kick.

The race developed into a match between Coolavanny and Keplar Nine, and the latter challenged hard up the straight but Coolavanny held on for a head margin.

Irish Independent

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