Dog Chat: Kelly's ace Spearhawk tops class of young stars
With the Easter Cup now done and dusted for another year, the focus at Shelbourne moves to the Hegarty Bookmakers 600, which commences on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Red Mills Produce Stakes has now reached the semi-final stage and two potentially thrilling contests will be staged at Clonmel on Sunday.
The Produce Stakes holds a special place in the greyhound game as it is confined to the young stars as they prepare to be launched into the big world of open racing. It has been a tremendous grooming stage for many of the legends of the sport and this year's event has been no less informative than previous runnings.
The early star has been Spearhawk and Craig Kelly's youngster made it three from three in the competition when surviving his closest call in Sunday's quarter-final.
He dashed clear as ever but then was all out to contain the flying run of Seamus Whelan's Piercestown Sand by half a length in 28.66 secs. For the first time in the stake he didn't clock the fastest time as that honour went to Owen McKenna's 28.63 winner Coole West Bound.
There was an impressive run from Mick Delahunty's Colourful Bolt as he won in 28.67, while Jerry Griffin's St Louis Charlie came from last to first to win in 28.88. The second semi is a real 'heat from hell' with Spearhawk opposed by Coole West Bound, Piercestown Sand, Colourful Bolt, Whiteys Hawk and St Louis Charlie. Marie Gilbert's Short Grass looks the one to beat in the other qualifier.
The Hegarty 600 will close today and the racing office was yesterday confident that at least 36 entries will be received -- and possibly 48.
Dolores Ruth will be bidding for another major success with Kingo and Razldazl Broadway but there will be no lack of opposition with the likes of St Louis Spirit, Helmet Boy, Pool Hawk, Rockchase Zico, Croom Star, General Dogsbody, Ballymac Linda, St Mullins Pride, Elegant Rumble and Castlehill Eamon entered.
Mind you, a few big names will be added to that list by the time the draw is made tomorrow morning.
Another major event this week is the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks at Shelbourne on Thursday and the likelihood is that this will be run as a 48 event instead of 36.