Formbook shredded in Gold Cup semi-finals
The formbook was torn to pieces in the semi-finals of the €20,000 Best Car Parks Gold Cup at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night and betting will be very open on next weekend's final.
Slippery Fred was the strong evens favourite for the first semi-final, his prospects apparently helped by the empty box on his outside vacated by View The Moon. However, Fred proved his own undoing as he dived inwards on leaving traps, bumped into Kilara Hey Mac and after this he was always fighting a losing battle to qualify for the finals.
The early pace was on the inside as Elevenerife led from Stone Boy King but the latter checked wide on the bend and the Owen McKenna-trained Fiery Splendour slipped into second spot.
It still looked as though Elevenerife would win the heat but he drifted wide off the final bend. The challenging Fiery Splendour had to move wider but still edged it in the final yards to win by a head from Elevenerife in 28.60 with the persistent Stone Boy King a half-length third.
Clares Wonder was the ante-post favourite for the competition but he left himself with a mountain to climb when very slowly into stride in the second heat. Meanwhile, the Paul Hennessy-trained Barefoot Agent had flown out of the inside box and this noted stayer was obviously going to take beating from here.
Barefoot led narrowly down the back from Highview Triumph with Honour And Glory in third and that, basically, is how it remained. Barefoot galloped strongly up the straight for owners Bryan and Kathleen Murphy and he crossed the line with a length and a half in hand of Highview Triumph in 28.60 with Honour And Glory a similar distance third.
Capitalising fully on the absence of his semi-final conqueror Droopys Braedon, the Michael O'Grady-owned and trained Boderan Duke was an emphatic winner of the Vetsearch Recharge final at Limerick on Saturday.
Crossbarry Champ flew out but Boderan Duke had the superior pace to lead by the bend and he had the race sewn up when four lengths clear at halfway. Crossbarry Champ then rallied strongly but Boderan Duke lasted it home to win by two-and-a-half lengths from Crossbarry in 28.56.
At Curraheen Park, the semi-finals of the Guinness Trophy were run and both Captain Karnage and Sunrise Ice qualified for the final with unbeaten records.
The Kieran Lynch-trained Captain Karnage got up late to beat Carrowkeal Spike by a neck in 28.67, while in the other heat Leanne Rooney's Sunrise Ice led from the first bend for a hard-earned half-length success over Comeout Russell in 28.91.