a massive crowd turned out for the final of the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake in Limerick to witness the Owen McKenna-trained Roxholme Bully justify favouritism with a powerful display that proved too much for the gallant Oran Maestro.
These two great prospects went at it hammer and tongs from trap rise.
From a level break, Roxholme Bully and Oran Maestro quickly sorted themselves out from the others. The second favourite Kisses For Cloda was squeezed early and this proved costly.
The leaders hit the bend together but a combination of Roxholme moving a little off the inner rail and Oran moving inwards resulted in them bumping.
Roxholme Bully was two lengths to the good out of the second bend from Oran. The latter desperately tried to close the gap but Roxholme held an advantage of a length at the third bend before going on to win by a length and a half from Oran Maestro in 28.35. It was another two lengths to Droopys Banner in third.
The winner is jointly owned by Hayley Keightley and Paul Cardosi and the €80,000 prize will more than cover the costs of a possible challenge for the English Derby.
At Shelbourne, the shocks continued in the second round of the Easter Cup with the elimination of Tyrur Sugar Ray, Kereight King, Money Talks and the withdrawal of Paradise Madison.
Liam Dowling's Ballymac Vic was the star as he produced his sizzling acceleration around the opening bends, racing home an eight-length winner from Camas Crash in 29.89.
Cabra Buck initiated a heat double for trainer Graham Holland when flying to the bend and winning by eight and a half lengths from Laughil George in 29.92.
The double was completed by Murralli Junior as he held off the challenge of Katies Quadrigo by half a length in 30.18.
The other heat saw Paddy Corrigan's Hillcroft Champ beat Droopys Adler by three parts of a length in 29.91.
Gizmo catches the eye
John McGee's Gizmo Classic was fastest in the semi-finals of the Gain Feeds Irish Cesarewitch at Mullingar when leading for most of the journey in 33.09.
The other heat saw Paul Hennessy's Ringtown Snowy hold kennel companion Priceless Pilot off by a short head in 33.53.