The Fraser Black-trained Vancouver Shea produced a stunning first-round performance in the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial at Limerick on Saturday night.
Having his first race of the year, Vancouver Shea, owned by the Diamonds Are Forever Syndicate, raced to the front around the opening bend as he took over from Jaytee President and he then raced on to win in convincing fashion from Jaytee in a sizzling 28.35.
There were many other highlights on a memorable night when all 12 first round heats were run. It was a particularly successful occasion for Kerry breeder and trainer Liam Dowling as he turned out four heat winners while also getting a fifth runner through to the next round.
Pick of the Dowling winners was Coolavanny Pet which put herself to the fore of the chase for outright honours and also the €5,000 Special Bitch Bonus prize when storming to victory in Heat 7 where she beat Jaytee Barracuda by three-and-a-half lengths in 28.51, the second best time of the night.
Borsalino and Toocoolforschool were other winners for the man from Ballymacelligott but he derived great pleasure from the 28.76 success of the youngster Ballymac Laughil.
Pat Buckley had a double via Bentekes Bocko 28.61 and Droopys Pogba in 28.67, while Graham Holland also had two winners in Rackethall Jess 28.71 and Drive On Tipp in 28.64.
The other winners were Peter Cronin's Cometwopass in 28.71, Brendan O'Shea's Crossfield Kate in 28.53 and Paul Hennessy's Jaytee Samurai in 28.78.
It was a mixed night for the Irish in the Arc at Swindon with Holland's Garryvoe Bobby setting the fastest time, while Cronin's Ela Alecko qualified in second place in his heat.