Sunday 17 December 2017

Major upsets a feature of Night of Stars meeting

The defeat of Clares Rocket in the Boylesports 550 was the biggest shock. (Stock Photo)
The defeat of Clares Rocket in the Boylesports 550 was the biggest shock. (Stock Photo)
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

The Night of Stars meeting at Shelbourne on Saturday proved to be another hugely successful event, with a large crowd enjoying a host of high-class performances and a number of major upsets.

The defeat of Clares Rocket in the Boylesports 550 was the biggest shock. His failure to make a flying start saw him encounter some trouble on the bend and the Sheila Spillane and JJ Fennelly owned Burgess Popeye dashed clear in the red jacket. Clares did close to about a length-and-a-half between the final bends, but he could find no more and Burgess came home three lengths clear in 29.53.

Despite this reversal, trainer Graham Holland still enjoyed a double in the big races. His Skywalker Rossa caused the first major upset as she led on the first bend and then held the late run of Tradition by half a length in 47.59.

The other Holland winner was Riverside Oscar, as he led all to win the BIF 525 in 28.50. Kilgraney Ace would have gone very close here but for being hampered around the final bends and Curious came through to finish a length second.

Ballydoyle Honey finished her great career on a losing note as she was badly baulked in the early yards before running on to claim second place, some six lengths adrift of Liam Dowling's College Paradise in 32.32.

Dowling's Ballymac Matt ran a great race in the Rural Hawaii @ Stud 575, but had to give best to Pat Buckley's youngster Droopys Wilbury, which looked every inch a star as he led all the way for a two-length margin in 30.98.

Ger Kiely's Airmount Tess was one of the rare winning favourites as she held off the flying finish of Jaytee Patriot by a length in 41.60.

One of the most impressive winners of the night was Gerry Melia's Holycross Leah, as she took it up on the third bend of the Brinkley's Estate Bitch 525 and had two lengths to spare over Ballymac Belle in 28.24.

There was one British-trained winner as Hayley Keightley's Hiya Butt led early and won by three lengths from Create A Star in 18.59 in the Chelsea Glass 350.

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