Abigail Morrissey with her impressive ON2 525 winner on debut at Galway on Saturday, Abigails Hope.

TRAPRISE - Abigail has high Hope for bright prospect at Galway

It was another very busy week on the greyhound racing scene within a hectic period both home and abroad but one of the highlights of competitive participation from local kennels across many venues was a debut winning performance at Galway on Saturday as Abigail Morrisey introduced another bright prospect from a talented litter when Abigails Hope (Premier Fantasy-Geelo Lu Lu) claimed victory in her first race outing.

An eye-catching 29.51 qualification trial at Kilkenny in readiness for her career had hinted at race winning ability which had already been shown at Thurles by some talented litter comrades and presenting in sharp form for her ON2 525 on Saturday, the November 2020 whelp delivered a highly accomplished debut display.

Breaking on level terms from trap 3, she matched strides with an early paced rival to her outside while securing command of the rails on the approach to the first bend. Turning in a tie for the lead, the Morrissey pup negotiated the turns with much aplomb despite not galloping the Galway circuit previously and taking command of the race on the run to the backstraight, reached her two-length winning margin by halfway. Ably fending off a strong running rival thereafter, Abigails Hope posted a smart 29.20 (-20) which represents a laudable A2 mark on debut.

A special winner for her fanatical young owner who enjoyed her first parading experience in this Saturday win, an opportunity to contest in A3 next time will offer plausible claims for a repeat!

Staying with that Saturday fixture out west, a steady climb to the upper echelons of the sport was completed by Alice Guilfoyle’s Magical Benji (Confident Rankin-Magical Zeta) as the Moneygall charge claimed a third win from his latest five outings while advancing to the top AA0 grade in a wonderful success over 550-yards.

Officially an A1 runner with a 30.09 victory over the same trip last month, the Pat Guilfoyle charge made light of contesting above that grading in Saturday’s A0 event and despite finding only a moderate start from trap 4, it was his smart early dash while relishing the long run to the bend which ultimately proved crucial. Bravely battling between runners, the September 2019 whelp forcefully galloped his way to a one length first bend lead and extended that margin when easing clear to his two and three-quarter length winning distance on the run to halfway. Further impressing around the closing bends, Magical Benji ably repelled a strong staying rival thereafter while posting a classy 30.02 (-20)!

It had been hoped to report on Race of Champions success for Pat Guilfoyle this week, but Good Cody and Explosive Boy were made to settle for second and third respectively as Bockos Budsit produced an early paced success to claim the Tralee major, posting 29.43 for the 550-yards in a four-length score.

However, the local winning action for the week had already commenced on Thursday at Limerick and though Aoife Loughnane’s Ready For Aoife (Kinloch Brae-Mt Heaton Daisy) had struggled to get grips with a rise to A3 following her latest victory, an ease to A4 proved just the ticket this time as the Roscrea charge prevailed in a thriller!

Last successful in A5 back in early May, moderate breaks had curtailed progression but exiting trap 4 on level terms in what was her ninth career start, the May 2020 youngster reached the first bend in a challenging position on the shoulder of an early paced leader. With two lengths to recover off the second bend, the Loughnane winner battled her way to the front entering the third bend but with a strong staying rival tracking her every move, Ready For Aoife was forced to pull out all the stops for a most brave head verdict. Posting 29.34 in a second race win, she can hold every claim in the same grade next time with clear scope to improve on this gutsy victory.

Rapid Raha the Oaks heroine

A wonderful renewal of the Sporting Press Online Edition Irish Oaks proved a thrilling event over the past month at Shelbourne Park and concluding on Saturday last, found a most deserving winner for 2022 in the shape of Marissa Molloy’s Raha Mofo (Droopys Sydney-Clares Queen).

A popular success for Kilkenny trainer Murt Leahy, Raha Mofo backed-up her brilliant 28.16 semi victory over the 525 yards as the September 2020 pup reeled back the pacesetting final favourite Scooby Duchess in the dying strides of a strong running half-length verdict, posting a sizzling 28.14.

The fastest final performance ever in the Oaks, the victory was made even more remarkable by the fact that Raha Mofo was winning an A5 final at Shelbourne, just two weeks in advance of the Oaks commencement, reaching Open class for the first time in her tenth career outing. Stealthily emerging as a racing superstar in her subsequent Oaks campaign, the victory was a poignant and special win for her owner, as the last greyhound purchased by Marissa’s late dad Stephen who passed away at this time last year.

English Derby

The final of the 2022 Star Sports/TRC 550-Yard English Greyhound Derby will take place this Saturday evening at Towcester and a perennial pilgrimage for many on these shores, the £175,000 showdown sees four Irish challengers amongst the six finalists.

A previous winner of the event with Jaytee Jet, trainer Paul Hennessy is double handed with quarter-final track record breaker Priceless Jet and powerful stayer Hello Hammond. That duo were, however, forced to cede semi victory to Peter Cronin’s Kildare in 29.16 as that improving youngster bids to deliver a first Derby for his handler, who has come very close in past events with most notably Crokers Champ and Tynwald Bish.

Ahead of Monday’s lunchtime draw, Kildare disputed favouritism with fellow semi-final winner Romeo Magico for trainer Graham Holland, who led home the surviving home-based duo of Mickys Barrett and Savannah Beau in a brilliant 29.06.

With the Irish runners occupying the top four places in the market, it will come as a shock if the title is not making its way across the pond come Sunday morning and it may come down to the early paced tussle between Kildare and Romeo Magico, with the vote going to the Peter Cronin youngster.

The late Tim Heenan

It was with immense sadness that the local greyhound fraternity bid farewell to one of our greatest and most adored friends at this time last week as Timmy Heenan of Ringroe, Ardcroney was laid to rest on Thursday.

As staunch a member, and as hard a worker as Nenagh Coursing Club has ever known, there was no more popular greyhound figure than Timmy for generations of the greyhound community in North Tipperary and beyond. Embraced with fondness by every coursing club and every track he competed at with runners under his Ringroe prefix, Timmy made friends at every turn with his unflappable, endearing nature.

Certain to charm the heavens with his endless bag of sweets, we offer our sincerest condolences to his brother Dinny and all the extended Heenan family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.