Jamie & Darragh Meagher with parents Jackie and Suzanne following the victory of Hows Bobby in the Tipperary Reserve Derby Trial Stake held at Templetuohy.

TRAPRISE - Grangeview brace ignites new season at Galway

The first weekend fixtures of 2022 commenced the new season for only a handful of local kennels but getting off to a flying start at Galway on Saturday, the redoubtable Lorrha kennels of Michael Hogan claimed the highest graded events on the programme in a wonderful double to ignite the new campaign.

The leading lady in the West over past months, Saturday’s featured RCETS AA0 525 presented a tough task for Grangeview Mags (Droopys Jet-Blastoff Khalesi) but in sparkling form while seeking a third win from her latest four outings, the brilliant Hogan stalwart dismissed the challenge in dominant fashion having found her best break from an ideal trap 1 berth.

Blessed with brilliant early pace, the October 2018 whelp immediately took command on the run to the opening turn and tackling the opening bends with clear racing room, readily extended to reach her three and a half length winning margin on the approach to halfway. Pursued throughout by Lingrawn Junior, the latter ran on with credit, but Grangeview Mags was never seriously threatened when posting 28.92 (-20) on an evening which was not entirely conducive to fast times. Although now past her third birthday, the Hogan favourite remains a major force on the Open bitch scene and with her stunning career best of 28.34 at Shelbourne Park coming just last September, 2022 can prove another exciting campaign for a truly likeable racer.

A wonderful opening night of the season got even better on Saturday in the following A1 525 as younger kennelmate Grangeview Best (Ballymac Best-Portumna West) extended her impressive form figures with a near identical victory.

Securing a ninth win from 23 starts as a younger half-sister to the gifted Grangeview Ten and Grangeview West, the October 2019 youngster possesses all the early pace that her prolific breeding would suggest and from a level start in trap 3 on Saturday, it was that dash to the corner which ultimately secured victory.

Sweeping the turns at pace, Grangeview Best had already reached her two and a half length winning margin on the run to halfway and pursued by the much-respected Michael Rafferty bred Millrose Brandy throughout, the Hogan winner posted a slick 28.98 (-20). A new career best for the exciting prospect, it would come as little surprise to see her progress yet further over the coming weeks and months.

The backend of 2021 had proved largely frustrating for Patrick Conway’s Yanky Matt (Rio Quattro-Fair Spin) but ending a spell that had seen him without a win since an A3 score in July, the turn of the new year brought with it a turnaround in fortune as he galloped his way back to the winning enclosure at Limerick’s first meeting of 2022 on Thursday last.

Eased to a highly plausible A5 for his 525-yard contest, the Ballina charge tracked the early pacesetters while in mid-division following an adept break from trap 3. Always a strong stayer over the standard trip however, superior strength beyond halfway saw the June 2018 whelp readily settled the race close home, drawing clear to a three and a half length victory while posting 29.41. Still viably graded with just a small rise to A4 next time, Yanky Matt can hold every claim to continue the revival.

Bobby reaches Powerstown via Templetuohy

The qualification period for a brace of Derby & Oaks events at the National Coursing Meeting in Powerstown Park is all but completed and gaining a precious place on the festival card in his last opportunity of the season, young owners Jamie & Darragh Meagher’s Hows Bobby (Blades Of Hope-Deli Nelly) ensured another local participation at Clonmel when an impressive winner of the 2021-22 Tipperary Reserve Trial Stake which was held amidst a hugely successful three-day meeting in Templetuohy last weekend.

Renowned as an exacting test, the host grounds demand extreme fitness and ideally suited the strong running abilities of the Killowney Derby hopeful on a rain softened surfaced. A cosy winner of his opening round, the John Kelly charge remained dominant throughout his second course victory in the 16-runner event and overcoming a fancied rival at semi stage, his performances beyond halfway in each of his courses had him a warm order ahead of a final showdown with Abbeyfeale rival Pumpkin Pastimes.

The latter being a previous beaten finalist in the Limerick City equivalent added significant substance to the form of the qualifier but was no match for Hows Bobby in the final for despite tested in the initial strides, the Kelly winner drew readily clear to the opening turn, all the while hinting that the even more exacting nature of Powerstown Park will indeed be right up his street!

Officially on the programme as second reserve for the 2021-22 Boylesports Derby, Hows Bobby is all but guaranteed his participation and will set a stiff task for even the most fancied of classic contenders come the first weekend of February.