2021 National Produce Stakes winner Explosive Boy with trainer Patrick Guilfoyle.

TRAPRISE - Brilliant Boy Produces Classic final performance at Clonmel

Harbouring a wealth of prestige amongst the grass roots of greyhound racing as an original classic of the sport, the National Produce Stakes at Clonmel is a perennial showcase for the best of Irish breeding and young racing talent.

A sporting jewel within the Premier County, it remains a coveted accolade for all and having claimed his first title in 2019, Moneygall trainer Pat Guilfoyle doubled his tally in the classic on Saturday as kennel star Explosive Boy (Good News-Delightful Girl) secured the major crown that his brilliant puppy career has so richly deserved.

A beaten finalist in the National Puppy Stake at the commencement of his career, astounding performances in the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial catapulted Peter Sutcliffe’s Explosive Boy to superstar status despite another final defeat from a treacherous draw at Limerick.

Bidding to atone with victory in the Larry O’Rourke sponsored Produce Stakes, his passage to the final at Clonmel was more understated when forced to display an array of admirable battling qualities in addition to his prodigious raw speed.

More fortunate in the draw this time however, a Trap 1 berth offered every claim in Saturday’s final showdown and with the pressure on at trap rise, Explosive Boy duly stepped out smartly for immediate command of the inside rail. Good Cody has been the revelation of the Produce Stakes in 2021 and could well have the racing world at his paws following sizzling heat wins at Clonmel. The first task for Explosive Boy in the final was to prevent that new kid on the block from leading at the first bend.

Shaping the race with the best early pace, the pair reached the corner as one where precious control of the rails saw Explosive Boy prevent Good Cody from sweeping the bend and it was the Guilfoyle champion elect who led to the backstraight. Extending to near four lengths at halfway, victory was almost secured but one more task remained as the sole rival who could entertain thoughts of catching Explosive Boy from such arrears was now second, and Valegro duly began to close with his inevitable fast finish. The gap steadily reduced to the home-straight thereafter but retaining ample resolve out front, Explosive Boy was full value for his half-length verdict while posting a fast 28.28 for the 525-yard classic trip.

This victory supplements the 2019 success of Grangeview Ten for trainer Pat Guilfoyle who extends his wonderful start to the season having claimed the Irish Cesarewitch with Amazing Alice, just last month. All the major events will remain on the radar for Explosive Boy this season with the Irish Laurels at Cork an obvious likely target, but the 550-yard Irish Derby was not ruled out by his trainer who also hinted that we may well see Explosive Boy debut over that extended trip as soon as the Race Of Champions at Tralee this weekend!

Meduza lands blow on Jasper ahead of Golden Muzzle showdown

Local challengers have been to the very fore in the 2021 A1 550-yard Greyhound And Petworld Golden Muzzle at Limerick throughout the qualification heats and now set for battle in this Saturday’s final, Sean Ryan & John Meelam’s Meduza and Alice Guilfoyle’s Magical Jasper served up a cracker in a wonderful semi-final clash.

The John Byrne trained Meduza (Good News-Jaytee Osprey) had opened the event with a brilliant brace of heat victories that will see the February 2019 whelp return to Open class upon completion of the stake and she kept her unbeaten record intact on Saturday when repelling another eye-catching staying effort from Magical Jasper (Head Bound-Laughil Louise).

Striking the front at the opening bend when using her rails pitch to ideal effect on the inside of a line of three leaders, Meduza skipped clear to the backstraight. In behind, Magical Jasper occupied fifth at that point when five lengths adrift but his now customary prowess to the closing bends saw the Pat Guilfoyle stalwart advance to second before setting sights on Meduza in the home stretch. Steadily closing with every stride, Magical Jasper loomed large on the approach to the line but not for catching, Meduza registered her hattrick in the event with three parts of a length to spare in a fast 29.83.

Ahead of the final, Meduza will again have the early pace of Priceless Henry to contain in the early stages but ideally suited to Trap 3, another bold show is expected from the John Byrne star. Her main danger, however, can again come from Magical Jasper as close friends renew rivalry with the latter ideally housed in Trap 1. Much will depend on just how close Magical Jasper can turn off the second bend, but a repeat of their semi clash is highly likely while hoping for another local forecast!

It was a hugely successful weekend overall for the Knockalton kennels of John Byrne with winners at three venues, including a very smart A2 525 win for John Meelam’s Courty Girl (Laughil Blake-Kilaheen Queen) at Thurles when posting 29.40 (-20) in a second career win for the promising October pup.

That victory followed a brilliant Friday career best by Dominic O’Brien & John Byrne’s Knockalton King (Good News-Newlawn Minnie) at Shelbourne Park when relishing his step up to 600 yards in A3 company.

Lightly raced as an October 2018 whelp, the previous winner in the grade will rise to A1 having posted a smart 32.81 in a performance of real merit where his latent stamina saw him readily settle the race in the closing stages having contested the lead throughout. With the manner of victory leaving plenty of scope in terms of trip, Knockalton King appears primed for a very interesting summer campaign.

That same Shelbourne meeting brought the return to action of Eoin Troy’s Mystical Gino (Good News-Mystical Moll) having been off the track since February and despite signs of ring-rust, the May 2019 whelp secured a second win from his three career starts in most thrilling fashion.

Possessing obvious raw pace as evidence by his 28.85 debut score at Clonmel, the monstrous 91lbs youngster may be a work in progress for some time yet and slow to stride from Trap 5 on Friday, he remained at the rear of the field in his A2 525 contest until straightening along the backstraight. Up to full stride at halfway, the Troy charge quickly began to pass rivals and stalking the leaders to the home stretch, struck the front close home for an ultimately cosy one-length verdict in 29.27. Open to infinite improvement, Mystical Gino remains thoroughly unexposed and without a rise for this win, will be difficult to contain in the same A2 grade next time.

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