Red-hot Hero set for lucrative Stakes shot
If Boylesports Hero can follow up his magnificent Kirby Memorial final victory by landing the BIF Produce Stakes at Clonmel, it will bring the dog's earnings in little over a month to a staggering €110,000.
Having gone off the 5/4 favourite for Saturday's Kirby decider at Limerick, Boylesports Hero proved himself to be an exceptional racer as he stormed to a three-and-a-half length winning margin over the gallant Crokers Champ.
Supporters had to hold their breath on the opening bend, where Crokers Champ gave him a very hefty bump, but Boylesports Hero had the physique to withstand the contact and quickly regained full momentum.
From here it was exhibition stuff as Boylesports Hero pulled clear and won in an excellent 28.31.
Vans Viking was two and a half lengths further back in third.
Trainer Brendan Matthews had bought the dog for leading SP bookmaker John Boyle after showing huge promise on his racing debut at Shelbourne late last year, and Boyle was on hand on Saturday to accept the trophy from sponsors JP and Noreen McManus.
Initial thoughts of launching a challenge for the English Derby had been dispelled early last week but the likelihood now is that he will be among the entries for the Produce Stakes at Clonmel which will start on Thursday week.
Speaking yesterday morning from the Newry kennels, trainer's son Damian Matthews said: "Clonmel appears to be the obvious place to go with him and if everything goes okay in the meantime we will probably give him a trial around Clonmel next weekend and then have a crack at the classic."
The action was also fast and furious at Shelbourne, where Jerry Melia's Greenwell Hulk produced a terrific performance in winning a first-round heat of the Gain 600 in a scorching 32.30.
With the favourite Tyrur Sugar Ray crowded all the way to the bend, Greenwell was in front before the opening bend and he then surged clear to win by eight lengths from Surley Bassi, with Sugar Ray a half-length third.
PJ Fahy's Tyrur Arthur took a heavy bump on the run up but still led around the bend and went on to win by a length from Garryvoe Jet in 32.77.
The other heats provided northern owner Adrian McPherson with a double courtesy of Lemon Pumba in 32.89 and Lemon Dolorus in 33.04.
The second round of the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks was also run at Shelbourne and for the second round in a row Thomas O'Donovan's Drive On Alice proved to be the star performer. She beat Jaytee India to the bend and went on to beat that rival by three and a half lengths in 28.46.
Pat Guilfoyle's Expert Chick produced a big finish when winning by five lengths from Droopys Muriel in 28.57, while the other heat winners were John Linehan's Droopys Sylvia in 28.98 and Michael O'Meara's Cnoc Holly in 28.83.