Dowling runners win both Juvenile Classic semi-finals
Ballymac trainer reaches 1,000 wins at Tralee track
It was a marvellous prelude to the big one at Tralee track this Friday night. Three Kerry winners at the Irish Cup meeting, Silent Wonder, Souldern Street and Mouse is Magic, were honoured, a huge landmark of 1,000 track winners was reached by the maestro himself, Liam Dowling, when Mc Razl won the eighth race for him in 28.86...and then, to cap it all, Dowling came along and won both semi-finals of the track's premier event, the GMHD Juvenile Classic (winner €14,000), with Cuore Di Ferro and Ballymac Syd, as well as also qualifying Ballymac Devon, a litter brother to Ballymac Syd, for this Friday night's final.
Yes, it was a Friday night at the Oakview venue which made for pretty captivating entertainment and it goes without saying that the juvenile classic will come to a great conclusion this Friday night, as it always does.
Liam Dowling won't have the favourite, because that sharpest of bookmakers, Berkie Browne, has the Pat Buckley-trained Burgess Bucks heading the market at 2/1 despite the fact that this fellow was only third behind Ballymac Syd in the second semi-final last Friday.
Berkie Browne quotes Ballymac Syd and Cuore Di Ferro at 3/1 and the odds about the other finalists are: 5/1, Ballymac Devon and Toolmaker Daddy; 10/1, Droopys Danny.
Last year's final was, of course, won by Liam Dowling's Ballymac Bolger, which prevailed by a short head from the Graham Holland-trained Slippy Cian in 28.53, and trailing the field home was Pat Buckley's Droopys Davy.
This time, Buckley is entitled to hope for much better things because he has Droppys Danny running for him as well as Burgess Bucks and, although a 10/1 outsider, Droopys Danny is not without a decent shout based on the way he finished behind Cuore Di Ferro in the first semi-final.
Buckley, too, is on a bit of a run at the moment, having pulled off a very good treble at the Oakview venue last Friday night with Tullig Irish, Glengar Mac and Paganini Show.
The man taking on Liam Dowling and Pat Buckley is Derby winning trainer, Robert G Gleeson, from Kildare, who has Toolmaker Daddy running for him. This fellow actually looked like winning the second semi-final off the last bend, but he couldn't match Ballymac Syd on the run to the line and lost out to him by three-quarters of a length in 28.87 (.10 slow), with a neck back to Burgess Bucks.
Should Toolmaster Daddy manage to get himself into a better winning position this time when it matters most, who knows.
In winning the first semi-final for Liam Dowling, Cuore Di Ferro (7/4 fav) clocked 28.57. The even-money favourite here was the Jim Morrissey-trained Tiger Jack, but trap 6 was all wrong for him and he ran into big trouble at the first bend behind Cuore Di Ferro, being thrown right back to last place.
Cuore Di Ferro flew the back straight to be six lengths in front rounding the third bend and, although Droopys Danny closed to a length and a half at the line, the time of 28.57 said it all for Liam Dowling's charge, with Dowling's other semi-finalist, Ballymac Devon, four lengths back in third place.
So, just one more challenge for the six finalists before the destination of the winner's purse of €14,000 is known and, really, it's a final which can be won by any one of those six. Absolutely no question about that.
It really would be something if Liam Dowling was to win the event again, to follow up that 1,000 winner landmark (he has 1004 winners at this stage) as well as his great Coursing Oaks victory, but the betting by Berkie Browne could prove to be the best guide and Burgess Bucks is given the vote to win from trap 5.
The draw is (trap order): Ballymac Devon, Toolmaker Daddy, Cuore Di Ferro, Droopys Danny, Burgess Bucks, Ballymac Syd.
In relation to Liam Dowling's 1,000 winner landmark, the man had no absolutely idea that Mc Razl was accomplishing that feat for him until this correspondent made him aware of it, so, one thing for sure, you'll never hear Dowling crowing about any of his many achievements.
The going last Friday night was .10 slow for all 525yds races and .05 slow for 325yds and the other winners, the majority of them very strongly fancied, were: Gneeves Brady, 29.44; All Bar One, 29.90; Blue Collar, 29.78; Thismagicmoment, 29.56; Take A Chance, 29.22; Tullig Irish, 17.67; Glengar Mac, 28.66; Paganini Show, 28.75; Pennylane Azza, 29.36.
• Last Friday night's programme at the Oakview venue was meant to include a qualifier for the €80,000-to-the-winner Kirby Sweepstake at Limerick, but, surprisingly enough, sufficient entries weren't received.
Novice sweep semi-final was just a two-dog race
In the long history of Tralee Track one can safely say that there has never been a sweepstake semi-final with just two runners in it.
It was with a sense of amazement, therefore, that patrons at the Oakview venue last Saturday night saw just Melodys Polly and Pennylane Knight go to traps in the first semi-final of a novice 525yds sweepstake (winner, €1,750), with Melodys Molly emerging as a decisive winner in 29.38 (.30 slow).
The problem lies with the new rule on novice sweepstakes, which allows all unraced greyhounds to take on each other irrespective of qualifying times. The other two semi-finals in this particular sweepstake saw four more withdrawals, making for two four-greyhound semi-finals, and, in all on the night, there were twelve absentees.
History of the wrong kind there for sure and the new rule on unraced sweepstakes will surely come under serious review.
The four-greyhound semi-finals, by the way, were won by Safe Crash (29.09) and Restless Night (29.38) and the final takes place at the Oakview venue this Saturday night.
On the evidence of the semi-finals, Safe Crash looks the one to be on, especially from trap 1. The draw is (trap order): Safe Crash, Pennylane Knight, Scart Jim, Lauragh Meghan , Melodys Molly, Restless Night .
Two other sweepstakes were brought to the final stage on the night and these will be part of the supporting programme for the GMHD Juvenile Classic this Friday night.
In one of those sweepstakes, for A7 class, Grimlock was beaten into second place, but this fellow represents banker material in Friday night's final.
Fastest over 525yds on the night was Toast Of Tara, on a brilliant 29.03 in a race for A5 class, while other winners aside from the unraced sweepstake were: Ramona Gaisce, 18.37; Millroad Robin, 29.86; Foildarrigh Lady, 29.82; Mileheight Matt, 17.99; Droumeragh, 43.35; Areyouuppaddy, 29.40; Send It Clouds, 29.69; Knocknaboul Aero, 29.77.i
• The going for all 525yds races was .30 slow and it was .15 and .60 slow, respectively, for 325yds and 750yds.