Dowling dogs win three of seven Kingdom Derby heats
GET a good sponsor, put up a decent pot for the winner, and you’ll always score on the entry front, especially in an open sweepstake.
The Tilemaster Kingdom Derby (winner, €7,500) has certainly proved that at Tralee Track. A marvellous field of 42 went to traps in the opening round last Friday night, with top kennels from all over the country represented, and some marvellous racing was provided.
At this early stage, none other than Liam Dowling holds the strongest hand, for the very good reason that he won three of the seven first-round heats (with Ballymac Anton, Akelawre and Chespirito). Everybody knows that there are no boundaries to contain this man, at home or anywhere else, and he could actually have pulled off a four-timer, with another of his charges, Ballymac Tabor, losing out by just a short head in the last of the seven first-round heats.
Mind you, two of Liam’s winners, Ballymac Anton and Chespirito, had that short head to their advantage in their respective heats, to show the very small margins that can come into play in the track racing game.
Ballymac Anton actually won the first heat of the night and in clocking 28.47 (.10 slow) he short-headed the Graham Holland-trained Rural Vic. Akelawre immediately followed up by winning heat 2 in a fastest of the night 28.39 and the treble was completed in heat 5 by Chespirito, which short-headed the Kieran Lynchtrained Glynnscross Jake in 28.54.
It’s a strong likelihood that Liam Dowling will go on to win the sweepstake, but that’s probably assuming a lot considering all the big hitters lined up against him. Furthermore, 28 spots, or just four lengths, covered the winning times of all seven winners (28.39 to 28.67) and the only conclusion to be drawn from that is that it is an extremely open sweepstake as well as being a most competitive one.
Maybe things will become more clearcut when the four quarter-finals are run off this Friday night. Maybe.
Anyway, Akelawre was the pick of the bunch last Friday night because of his run of 28.39 and it is proper to highlight that. He was a 7/4 shot running from trap 5 in heat 2 and, after heading the front-running Churchfield Der (trap 1) rounding the third bend, he went on to master him by two and a half lengths, with a neck back to Floury Spuds.
The even-money favourite, Pat Buckley’s Droopys Neymar, which ran from trap 4, was beaten into fifth place after clocking 28.26 at the Oakview venue the previous Saturday night, showing how hard it is to follow up one great run with another.
Aside from the three Dowling winners, the other first-round winners were Glanmire Dylan (28.51), Braveheart Bobby (28.42), Misty Supreme (28.66) and Droopys Tone (28.67).
Misty Supreme, which is owned by John Houlihan, of Ballyduff, kept the Kerry flag flying well in heat 6 by beating 1/2 favourite, Skywalker Rafa, by a length and a half in 28.66.
The first three qualified in each of the seven heats plus the three fastest fourths and the draw for the quarter-finals this Friday night resulted as follows (trap order):
First quarter-final: Akelawre, Churchfield Der, Glanmire Dylan, Floury Spuds, Holycross Lad, Lemon Shane. Second quarter-final: Droopys Tone, God Of Fire, Boynepark King, Rural Vic, Ballymac Tabor, Glymmcross Jake (M). Third quarter-final: Loher Grove, Ballydaniel Benz, Skywalker Rafa, Ballymac Anton, Cash Is King (W), Misty Supreme (W). Fourth quarter-final: Braveheart Bobby, Sawdust Club, Millridge Blitz, Chespirito, Cosard Jet (W), Newinn Lester (W).
Other winners on Friday night: Conors Pick, 18.26; Yorkville Rosie, 17.97; Fivestar Topper, 17.63; Killahan Azza, 29.44. The going was .10 slow for all 525yds races and .05 slow for the three 325yds races.
SUNDAY SIS SESSION
WIDE seed, Hillview Paddy (5/2), was very much the star of the show at Sunday evening’s SIS session at the Oakview venue, clocking a quite magnificent 28.52 on going rated .10 slow in the seventh race (A1 525). Other winners: Spa Angel, 29.27; Rigil Kentaurus, 29.41; Mohane Rio, 28.99; Denville Gypsy, 29.20; Boomtown Getz, 29.44; Hadtobe Rory, 28.91; Anascaul Blackie, 29.51.
• A €1.00 quick pick won the €1,000 Tote Pick Six.