Monday 19 February 2018

Flying Blitz breaks hock in Limerick Trial

The Gain Select Stakes commenced at Waterford on Saturday (stock photo)
The Gain Select Stakes commenced at Waterford on Saturday (stock photo)
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

The ups and downs of the sport were vividly illustrated at Limerick Stadium on Saturday night where dual Derby finalist Farloe Blitz sadly broke a hock in a pre-racing trial and then trainer Owen McKenna saw his St Leger dream continue as Offshore Bound qualified for next Saturday's final.

Farloe Blitz, which McKenna trains for Derry owner Paul Ellis, had been favourite for both the William Hill English Derby and the BoyleSports Irish Derby finals this year but failed to win both, being narrowly denied in the Irish decider by Ballymac Matt.

He was having his sprint trial in preparation for the Night of Stars 525 at Shelbourne but the injury occurred as he came off the second bend and he hobbled home. Given his age and the nature of the injury, it is doubtful if the great early-paced greyhound will ever race again but he should be a huge attraction at stud.

The semi-finals of the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger were won in all-the-way fashion by Pat O'Brien's Peregrine Falcon in 29.70 and the Pat Guilfoyle-trained Skywalker Rory in 29.63. Derby finalist Peregrine Falcon was challenged by Sidarian Vega down the back straight but he eased clear in the straight to win by three lengths in 28.70 with Jaytee Valencia and Sidarian Vega following him through.

Owned by Ray Patterson, Skywalker Rory had to battle to take the first bend in the second semi and resisted Tyrur Tommy's challenge to the third bend before racing clear to win by five lengths. Offshore Bound, which was very slowly away, kept on for third and will bid to give McKenna his third St Leger triumph and a 16th for the McKenna family as his late father Ger won the classic no fewer than 13 times.

Master Dex

The Gain Select Stakes commenced at Waterford on Saturday and the heat winners were Brendan O'Shea's Crossfield Max in 28.73, Phil Gough's Go Dex Go in 28.33 and Paradise Silva in 28.37.

The nine qualifiers from the heats will be joined by three exempted runners.

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