Traditionally the opening day of the Summer Calendar, the racing at the Central Track in
Leap Co Cork was well supported by trainers from the North in addition to the Dublin
area on May 4th where the weather was a mixture of sunshine and showers, with no real
allowance on the times for the conditions.
The opening event for maidens ended in a bloodless victory for the McEntee’s owned
newcomer Lyons Stephen driven by Patrick Kane. Springhill Partner (who went on to
win at Tregaron a week later) did all the donkey work in this event with Kane keeping his
gunpowder dry till they entered the stretch. They both kicked away from the remainder
of the field hitting the wire in a very respectable 2.06.
A second race for maidens was then held and this was a much more standard affair with
He Could Be That Chap (no prizes for guessing the sire) winning in 2.06. Leading from
the outset, the John McSweeney driven youngster showed guts to fend off the later
challenge of Ringo Kid and Dublin raider Top Security.
The third contest on the card was a Maiden/Novice class pace and the ex Mick Lord
inmate Dragomatic was all the rage in the betting market beforehand. The import is now
owned by Joe Caffrey and Joe’s better known Uncle John Richardson partnered the
favourite while Joe himself drove Talavary Dream for the Behan Bros in the race. As is
often the case with best laid plans, Dragomatic broke badly at the start and although he
got back into contention on the second circuit, Talavary Dream had too much in hand on
the run-in to land the spoils in 2 mins 06. The one to take from the race was obviously
Dragomatic and if the break he made at the start could be ironed-out, he will make a
smart recruit to the game this season.
The all conquering Meadowbranch team unleashed what they believed to be a deadly
new debutante in the form of Really Spring (ex John Wright) in the next the
Novice/Improver/Intermediate and again the betting beforehand suggested this mission
would be a formality for the John Richardson driven entire. Capping off a day of woes
for Richardson the ex-Meadowbranch trained Jonos Bianca came from the clouds to
swoop past a hapless Really Spring putting one over on her former guvnor in 2.06 with
Wilbur McKittricks Marion Hall filling the frame back in third spot.
The Loughran Family made the long journey down from the Cooley Peninsula pay when
their latest acquisition Officer Broline made his Irish debut a winning won when taking
the Square Trot in 2m mins 45 secs for the extended 1 ¼ mile trip. Out-staying the
luckless Rubin Launcher coming home, the favourite Ebony Jane made a good recovery
from an earlier break to claim a distant third. Officer Broline will win his fair share of
trots in 2009 as he seems rock solid in his gait but he could be susceptible to a speedier
Spankos Boy has been a revelation since being cast-off by old owner Adam Russell at the
start of the 2007 season when he badly lost his form, and he showed again he is still
improving when sprinting from last to first to win the class 000/005 in 2.08.
Bonkerstotallynuts looked to be finally getting off the mark for new owner John Donovan
in this before being collared late home by the Johnny McSweeney driven winner.
Glenarn Harrier took third place while the favourite Lyons General blew up on the
second circuit and will strip fitter for the outing.
Patrick Kane got his second winner of the day aboard his father’s Hopping Rook when
the combination justified favouritism in the class 009/017 handicap from the long time
leader Damotas Warrior and Ayr Strike in 2.05. Hopping Rook was a class act here and
he is sure to be involved in all of the big grass handicaps across the water this year,
provided he gets the firm going he seems to perform better on.
The penultimate race on the card was the preferred Free-For-All and this was won in fine
style by Earned Income who is now in the ownership of Sean O Reilly and Tommy
Doyle. The ex-Smart Stable inmate Shotgun Willy led them away in this tracked by
fellow debutante Stoneriggs Warrior but both were blown away by Earned Income at the
half who then proceeded to turn the screw. Impressively striding further and further clear
only Swingman emerged from the pack to try and peg back the favourite but Sean
O’Reilly won quite cosily in the end in 2.02 Stoneriggs Wizard came from off the pace to
snatch third ahead of Shotgun Willy who performed very creditably when considering he
would be getting 60 yards of a start on these if it were a handicap.
The final race on the card was the annual “Laddie From Leap” Saddle Classic and this
ended in an easy victory for the Kelleher Family’s Flashdance who is arguably the best
horse down in Cork at the moment over all terrains and any distance be it either saddle or
sulky. Ridden by young Lucy Kelleher, it was always a matter of “how far by?” as the
race got under way and despite Bon Camotion trying to put it up to Flashdance with
circuit to run, the Kelleher’s stable start just swept the challenge aside with the minimum
of fuss. Cam Louis was a big money acquisition over the Winter for Tadhg O Reilly and
Finbarr Hurley and he ran his race to take third without ever troubling the first two, while
Kouros Boy recovered well enough from a bad break to get fourth and will improve for
the run. The winner’s time was 2.35.