At this stage we are running out of superlatives to describe Susie Sapphire, and last Saturday night at her beloved Shelbourne Park she was once again flawless when she added the Easter Cup to her tally.
Flashing from box one, the brilliant daughter of Droopys Jet and Jetstream Lynx raced clear to the first turn leaving a classy field well behind in the early yards.
Romeo Magico and Priceless Jet gave chase as they approached the third bend. Magico was right on Susie’s tail at this point but was forced to ease off ever so slightly, resulting in Priceless Jet having nowhere to go when looking a real danger.
Jet clipped the hind legs of Magico, and this allowed Susie to re-establish a four-length lead. She stayed on well up the home straight with Beach Avenue filling the runner-up spot in the event for the second year running.
It is well worth taking the time to watch the video below and look at the early speed of the magnificent Susie Sapphire.
Shelbourne Open 600
The Shelbourne Open 600 is always one of the highlights of the year at Shelbourne, and this year will be no exception.
Won 12 months ago by Ballymac Wild in one of the races of the year, the entry for this year’s competition is as strong as ever with the likes of Beach Avenue, who was beaten favorite by short head in 2021 when finishing third. He faces Swords Maestro and Darbys Delight in the third heat.
Allforthebest, Auxerre and Hello Hammond are the star attractions in the final heat, while Fast Fit Paddy and Lynchy Boy will be popular in heats one and two, respectively.
Kirby Memorial kicks off at Limerick
The richest juvenile greyhound event in the Northern Hemisphere gets underway at Limerick this weekend when the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Stakes kicks off on Saturday night. Sponsored by JP and Noreen McManus the event is one of the biggest in the Irish Greyhound racing calendar and arguably the most prestigious held outside of Shelbourne Park.
The event is confined to greyhounds whelped in 2020 or later and consistently attracts the best youngsters in the land. Winning connections will walk away with over AU$120,000 and the title of Kirby Memorial Champion.
The event really captures the imagination of the local area with each of the 78 runners assigned to a GAA camogie (ladies hurling) or handball club. The winning greyhound’s assigned GAA club win a nominator prize of Au$15,000 and a free benefit night at Limerick Greyhound Stadium.
It is a brilliant concept and some of the scenes of support we saw last year during the height of the restrictions showed how popular the event has become. Thirteen heats will get the show on the road this Saturday, with three qualifiers from each heat plus the nine fastest fourth-place qualifiers.
Kilgraney Sydney will start favourite here with a plum draw in red, a fine winner when last seen in Shelbourne Park, the son of super sire Droopys Sydney will look to make all. The impeccably well-bred Postman Cat has a tricky draw in box five and will need to be on his toe early. Adam Dunford’s Romeo McQueen is another with a big chance, but Kilgraney Sydney has shown big early pace in his previous outings and beat a top-class field last time out. Selection: Kilgraney Sydney
A red hot second heat sees Swords Rex take on Dublin Cup winner Ballymore Border and Lenson Johnnyboy. Rex won the Rural Kennels unraced stake at Clonmel recently and will be fancied to improve on last weeks track debut when he was second behind the excellent Magical Mary. Ballymore Border and Lenson Johnnyboy are both more than capable, while Burnchurch Best and the unbeaten Disco Pants are not without a chance. It would no surprise to see one of the fastest runs of the round come from this heat. Selection: Ballymac Border
Two finalists from the Greyhound & Petworld Juvenile Classic will dominate the market here in the shape of Droopys Edison and Coolavanny Hoffa. Both seem to be well drawn with Edison in two and Hoffa in five. Slight preference in for Droopys Edison but you would expect both dogs to qualify. Selection: Droopys Edison
Recent Tralee track record breaker Bobsleigh Dream will be popular from a perfect draw in box one, but she faces plenty of competition for early supremacy in here. Newinn Homer and Glengar Scholar have shown big early pace in previous starts while Epic Boy has some flashy lines of form in his brief career to date. Bobsleigh Dream does have an experience edge over her rivals and that could prove decisive. Selection: Bobsleigh Dream
The unraced Cryptopunk catches the eye here for Simon Taylor and Graham Holland. He has qualified in style, and you can be sure he has been well prepared for this assignment. Ballymac Kurtis was a finalist in the red-hot Juvenile classic recently and along with Tommy Too Many could give Cryptopunk most to worry about. Selection: Cryptopunk
Magical Kuba put in a huge performance when runner up behind Balinabola Ed in a track record breaking at Tralee last week and he is obviously in top form and well housed in six. Carrauntoohil is a dog with a huge future and has plenty of experience against top opposition. Allovertheworld runs from box three and is a dog with massive early pace, he could easily set the pace while The Other Kobe won over the track and trip here last week and is perfectly drawn in box one. Selection: Carrauntoohil
Recent Juvenile Classic winner Wi Can Dream, and newly crowned Tralee track record holder Balinabola Ed face off in heat seven and what a contest this promises to be. Although Balinabola Ed has the upper hand on the clock, I still feel there is more to come from Wi Can Dream and I fancy him to make all from the red jacket. Selection: Wi Can Dream
Lenson On Ice and Deadly Showtime will be expected to dominate the early exchanges in heat eight and slight preference is for Lenson On Ice to have too much early zip for his rivals and make all. Deadly Showtime, Ballymac Leon and Toolmaker Beach can fight out the minor honours. Selection: Lenson On Ice
Possibly the best heat of the round. Magical Mary won around here last week and posted the fastest time of the year in doing so. Scooby Prince has clocked 28:28 for 480m around Shelbourne and should improve for last weeks run. Crafty Kokoro is a bitch with unbelievable pace and power while Priceless King and Fernandes are sure to run well. Selection: Crafty Kokoro
One of the more open heats. Blacklabel Walt has a good record around here and that should stand to him. Clampett Danny has some top-class form in the book but took a fall only last week and remains to be seen if that affects him. Australian-owned Vincenzo has won six of his 10 starts but will need to improve on last weeks run, while Serene Tiger represents last year’s winning trainer and won in good style last time. Selection: Serene Tiger
The outside trio hold the aces in heat eleven. Hannover Phantom is unbeaten to date winning both his starts by wide margins, while Gymcrack beat a useful sort in his latest trial at Shelbourne Park. However, preference is for Savana Hero in box five for Brendan Matthews. He has won two of his four starts and his latest trial around here was seriously impressive. Selection: Savana Hero
Da Bold Freddie will be a short price favourite to land heat twelve, perfectly drawn on the fence he has plenty in hand on some of his inexperienced rivals on the clock. Clona Blu has a nice win around Shelbourne in February and Flickofacoin won well on his only start. Selection: Da Bold Freddie
The final heat will once again see the favorite run from the inside box where Droops Nice One lines up in box one. He was runner up behind Swords Rex in the recent Rural Kennels unraced stake at Clonmel earlier this year and that form is the best on offer here. Hoodoo Brown has massive pace but will surely be better over further in the future. Burgess Rapid was a good winner on debut, while Irelands Own has a good card having won five of his ten starts. Selection: Droopys Nice One
UK: Northern Flat, St Leger finals coming up
The final of the Northern Flat will take place at Newcastle next Tuesday night, March 29th. Jaguar Macie is currently the $2.10 favorite and bids to add another title to her glittering career. Last year she won the 2021 Monmore Puppy Derby, The Northern Puppy Derby and The Angel of the North. She is perfectly housed in box one for Tuesday’s final, where Mickys Barrett looks to be her main danger.
The George Ing St Leger Final is up for decision at Yarmouth this Saturday night. Coolavanny Aunty heads the market alongside Bellmore Sally, who was the fastest in the semi finals when winning her heat in 40:84 for the 659m trip. Coolavanny Aunty is the most likely leader and does not have too much to find on her main rival on the clock. The early lead is crucial around Yarmouth, and I will side with Coolavanny Aunty to make all. Callmesteve can come through late to snatch a minor prize.
This weekend’s best bets
Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Stakes – Limerick, Saturday
*Odds correct at time of publication