****2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger



SATURDAY NOVEMBER 4th

A final contribution before the off in the big one, let's try pay for the night with a few banker bets. It's a quality card throughout at Limerick tonight but if your tipster in advising the likes of Jaytee Patriot just to bring up their win percentage, well you may have a chat with your financial adviser because at likely odds of 1/4, he is better watched as a likely cert in the Open 800 event rather going broke early if something did go wrong for the staying superstar.

I'm even questioning myself for putting up Slippery Thelma but she is advised only if Evs or better and I'm going to pass on a high quality SS0 350 also which will go to Rathnasnare Champ if he breaks. However he will be short and with the likes of Pennylane Lucky in the race, you'd want something approaching rewarding odds. Listen for the cheer by the way if this Limerick favourite and Kirby finalist turns in front!!

The A1 575 is more competitive than first glance and Buttsys Boy in particular will warrant support form his loyal supporters but Jaytee Dutch will be very short and on the face of it, 575 yards in A1 company should be a no-brainer!

It will be fascinating to see if Borna Gin can handle the bends here better than he did at Shelbourne when facing-off against Drive On Tipp in the Open 525 but Gin is such an unknown at present despite his Ferrari like engine and this is a no bet race for me while Droopys Smasher's latest trial makes the last race another to just watch where without her presence, Velvet John Joe would have been the choice.

Overall it's a classy night ahead at Limerick. I snapped-up the 6/1 about Jaytee Yankee before the semi's of the Leger and that is my only investment. There is plenty written below about his chances, which are realistic but a clear run for Sonic should take the title. Enjoy it, I will!!

NAP
RACE 2 TRAP 5 CHUBBYS CAVIAR A tough punting heat given that any of the six could improve greatly for last week's debut, especially Honthehill if he was to break more adeptly but in the faster semi-final, the selection would have to be deemed unlucky when twice significantly checked. A very eye-catching display, she would certainly build on that if given a clear run. Hopefully she can be working man odds but I certainly would not be backing against her if she got too short either.

Next Best
RACE 4 TRAP 6 MAGICAL DANCER I'm usually very wary of getting too carried away when impressed by dogs who come flying home from off the pace but the selection is young and open to progress with every outing. Making stealthy inroads in the fastest semi-final last week, she can almost be excused her ponderous start because if anything, it was her neighbour making plenty of noise and driving early at the trap door which put her off her break. She showed pace at all points once in full stride and although breaking is a concern, I'm willing to have go at getting back the few bob I lost on her last week.

RACE 9 TRAP 5 SLIPPERY THELMA This might end up just a watching brief, depending on how the bookies are faring by off time and she is a bit of an obvious selection. She wouldn't have to get much right from traps to contain what are a respected crop of top graders but being a quality AA0 star at her best, A1 should be a gift. If 1/1 flashes up just once, I'll devour it....but I have a fear that she may be too short.

RACE 12 TRAP 5 HOVEX MICK There is no doubting that a few of these, most notably Borna Account, deserve huge respect but the selection appeared as good as ever in the Leger until a slower break brought traffic last time. I'm willing to back him from a draw where many might not because I believe he can control the outside if back to his better Leger breaking form.



Friday Nov 3rd

 Trap Order
Opening 325
Closing 225

Black Eyed Peppa
                              Rd 2
                              Q/F
                            S/F


17.78 ckd

18.02 ckd

17.72


12.35

12.21

12.20
Clearly the numbers indicate that Peppa has been one of the most impressive stayers in the Leger. However, those early figures simply must come down if he is to retain any win claims but watch the videos, he does actually have early pace and is Trap 1 the keep to making him break?! Sneak a run with a bump or two among the early pacers…..possible!
Jaytee Yankee
                              Rd 2
                            Q/F
                              S/F


17.56

17.82 mvd-rails
17.50 hampd


12.45

12.39

12.50
The draw gives Yankee a chance to repeat last week’s win because he was clipped from behind in his latest 17.50 so can lower that. His best 12.39 coming home would make even Sonic work given that Yankee won’t give up the inner. He must lead and even then you’ll sweat if your on him but he is definitely a player in the final.
Clonbrien Hero
                              Rd 2
                            Q/F
                              S/F


17.38

17.42

17.60 ckd


12.34

12.57

12.68 ckd
Even a quick glance would have supporters worried because Hero’s numbers are receding each week. Granted he met traffic in the semi but his win claim now hinges on a fast break. If he could make the front and produce say a 17.45, he would have a right chance but the worry is that although checked in his latest 12.68 finish, it was only a slight check and wasn’t enough to have him so far back on his best 12.34.
Ballybough Dad
                              Rd 2
                              Q/F
                              S/F


17.75 ckd

17.50

17.58 bmp


12.43

12.52

12.49
Super consistent and if left alone, he would probably do 17.50 to the third turn every night. His latest 12.49 may have been even better because although not checked, he was nose to tail with Yankee for much of it so 12.43 would be about right. That all says 29.90 or so with a clear run and the only way that would win is if he turned in front (same for Yankee, Hero & Cabaye). He could though and 10/1 is very big for this consistency at a high level.
Sonic
                              Rd 2
                              Q/F
                              S/F


17.53 ckd

17.63

17.43


12.49

12.36 ckd

12.21
Posts his best figures in the semi. Timed to perfection? The numbers say yes! When he breaks he can reach the third bend with the best of the early pacers in the final and we know he will out-stay them. It all screams that Sonic wins if given a clear run. The only one that can match him coming home, probably can’t match him early. Three lengths off the lead at halfway….Job done?!
Droopys Cabaye
                              Rd 2
                              Q/F
                              S/F


17.60

17.44

17.46


12.36

12.51

12.39
Just simply couldn’t get far enough ahead of Sonic last week but the numbers are classy and last week’s 12.39 means that he is a big player with the most likely clear run. Nothing broke on Sonic’s inner last week but what if they do now?! If Sonic gets a bump, Cabaye could be scooting to lead and in 12.39 form coming home, he could possibly repel a late surge. Remember, he has a saucy 575 run at SPK, he stays plenty well enough. The numbers confirm it, he has a right chance!




Wednesday Nov 1st

BLACK EYED PEPPA 
No heat win but strong stayer is ideally drawn to sneak run for big late bid, live outsider.
12-1
JAYTEE YANKEE 
Smart semi winner can clock faster & real claims if command rails to turn first, chance!
10-3
CLONBRIEN HERO 
Held in semi but retains claims now if return to best break & win early battle to the bend.
9-4
BALLYBOUGH DAD 
Very consistent in Leger & early pacer is capable of leading. Must do for win, respected.
10-1
SONIC 
Brilliant in fastest semi win, strong runner is worthy fav who can convert if find clear run.
2-1
DROOPYS CABAYE 
Smart early pacer in fine form. Lead on the outside & realistic claims if lead off 2nd bend.
7-2



 BLACK EYED PEPPA: Michael O’Donovan’s strong stayer has made a hugely pleasing graduation to Open race company in this event and is arguably as well drawn as any in the final line-up. Without a heat win, his passage to the final has been more a plot than a stampede when coming from off the pace to fill qualifying positions. Not expected to match the early pacers to the first bend, he will make his challenge from halfway and attempt to mow down tiring leaders. He will need to sneak a rails run and keep close off the second bend and will need to stay in front of favourite Sonic to the back-straight. It will require a career best to deliver a shock victory at 12/1.

JAYTEE YANKEE: Seeking back to back St leger victories, trainer Paul Hennessy has charmed a game passage to the final from his 2017 Champion Stakes hero as the confirmed railer produced brilliant battling performances to progress from less than ideal draws in the early rounds. Rewarded with Trap 1 in the semi-finals, he duly converted from a more suitable draw when repelling fast early paced runners to the first bend and a repeat can bring plausible win claims now. Expected to outpace Black Eyed Peppa in the early strides, he can dictate the race to the back-straight with an adept break and in doing so, complicate matters for all in behind. Stubborn when on the bunny, he will prove difficult to pass if leading at 10/3.

CLONBRIEN HERO (m): Limerick owned and the first of three Graham Holland finalists, the 2017 Produce Stakes winner is capable of blistering runs as he produced when fastest of the event in his 29.49 opening night win. Suffering his first defeat in the semi-final he has form to reverse with Jaytee Yankee now but although appearing to tire as the event has progressed, he simply can not be overlooked as one of the most talented in the sport. It will require a return to his best breaking form and he will need to lead his fellow early pacers to the first bend but he remains a big player at 9/4.

BALLYBOUGH DAD (w): Also suffering his first defeat of the competition at the paws of Jaytee Yankee last week, Murt Leahy’s hugely consistent early pacer has been near paw perfect in his march to the final. Only beaten by one length then, his win chances are obvious and he is another of the early pacers who will prove difficult to pass if winning the crucial battle for early supremacy. Trap 4 will be little inconvenience to the wide seed who contests his second classic final of the season having also reached the Produce Stakes decider at Clonmel and none represent more value in the market at very generous odds of 10/1.

SONIC (w): Second of Graham Holland’s finalists, the twice Derby third needs little introduction as one of the most talented runners of his generation. Capable of blistering runs, he is a superbly strong runner at the 550 yard trip and an elusive classic victory would punctuate his wonderful career most appropriately. Tardy breaks saw him return just one heat win in a moderate opening to his campaign by his own very high standards but following his sublime semi-final win, his campaign appears to have been timed to perfection. Stalking kennel companion Droopys Cabaye before powering to a three length win in a fast 29.64, the timing of that improved effort appears ominous now. He will need a clear run but if securing that, it would be very difficult for any to contain this true racing star at 2/1.

DROOPYS CABAYE (w): Bursting onto the Open race scene in the summer at Shelbourne Park, this third finalist for Graham Holland was an extremely unlucky Derby quarter-final eliminee but he has now earned a shot at classic redemption following yet another string of quality performances. Developing a more consistent profile as he matures, the slick early pacer has led to the first bend in his last three St Leger heats and if doing so again, is capable of a bold bid for glory. As with his fellow early pacers now, he can put all to the sword if leading while likely to cause traffic problems in behind. He will need to get further clear of Sonic than he managed to halfway last week but his is a straight forward claim; break well and try to cling on. A proper contender at 7/2.

**All prices quoted are from Boylesports

The verdict!

From the outset, the 2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger has been hugely competitive and has only tightened on form with each passing round. Our final now houses four runners with early pace who will seek a lead in the opening exchanges to be seen to best effect while two who will produce their best running from halfway.

Falling into the latter category is favourite Sonic but a true superstar of the sport, he is also capable of a smart start which he produced in a brilliant semi-final victory and with these abilities combined he truly merits his place at the head of the market.

From Trap 5, he is again likely to cede early advantage to Droopys Cabaye on his outer but that could prove ideal if avoiding any bumps at the bend as that kennelmate would be a perfect target for Sonic with his inevitable back-straight charge. Possessing ever increasing track craft, he almost invariably finds a passage at the bends and on the back of a brilliant semi-final win, he is difficult to adamantly oppose.

However, there are plausible threats to Sonic and with so much early pace in the race the biggest problem could be a line of runners in his path at the bend where possible bumping among the pacesetters could see his path blocked at a crucial point.

For four of our finalists, the path to victory is complicated by it’s very simplicity because for Jaytee Yankee, Clonbrien Hero, Ballybough Dad and Droopys Cabaye, they all must turn first to conceivably claim the St Leger title. There is little to chose between them on the run to the first bend and in that scenario you would much prefer to be on the flanks.

From Trap 2 now, Jaytee Yankee is fancied to outpace Black Eyed Peppa on his inner and he has very strong claims to repeat what he did a week ago when containing both Clonbrien Hero and Ballybough Dad to the bend where his inside pitch proved a deciding factor. With Clonbrien Hero much more likely to move towards the middle than step to his left from Trap 3 now, Yankee is well drawn!

Equally well drawn is Droopys Cabaye and the hugely likeable early pacer can dictate on the outer as chief threat Ballybough Dad may have plenty on his plate being on the right hand side of Clonbrien Hero from traps. If as expected, he turns in contention for the lead with Jaytee Yankee, the pair would serve up a rare old tussle as there seems little to separate them from the second bend to home.

A tight affair early, it may require a smash break from either Clonbrien Hero or Ballybough Dad to secure a first bend lead that they would need for victory hopes and while both are capable, complications are more likely for these early pacers than for Yankee and Cabaye.

Outsider of the field, Black Eyed Peppa is arguably drawn best of all in the final and is not totally devoid of early pace despite his slower splits. He is the only finalist who can match Sonic from the second bend to home and with the possibility of bumping in front of him at the first bend, he could possibly turn close enough to pose a late threat. He is definitely not ruled out and is one for those seeking a longer priced alternative.

Attempting to describe the race before the off, Jaytee Yankee leads the charge to the bend on the inner while Droopys Cabaye matches him stride for stride out wide. Taking a step to the right Clonbrien Hero edges right towards Ballybough Dad which affords Sonic the opportunity to contest for third place approaching the bend. Yankee and Cabaye go paw to paw along the back-straight with the inside line giving Yankee the opportunity to hit the home-straight in front. Having established himself in a clear third place with a strong back-straight challenge however, Sonic now looms large in behind the leading duo before overhauling Yankee close home. One possible scenario! 5-1-6.



2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger…………………The story so far!!
Bestowed with the honour of drawing down the curtain on the classic season, Limerick Greyhound Stadium and the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger again welcomed the elite of the sport in 2017 as a supreme cast of talented greyhounds set off in pursuit of a prestigious crown that remains a most coveted accolade amidst what has been a sublime season on the Open race scene.

The defining event for generations of greyhound enthusiasts in County Limerick and it’s surrounds, our perrennial feature event was first held at Limerick in 1940 when claimed by Cherrygrove Cross in 31.82 and from it’s inauguration in 1932 at Celtic Park in Belfast, visited Shelbourne Park, Harolds Cross and Clonmel before finding a permanent home at the Markets Field venue in 1944 when claimed by No Relation, posting 31.48 for the 550 yard distance.

2017 brings the eight running of the St Leger at our new stadium on the Dock Road and in that time we have seen brilliant champions crowned but none more impressive than the mighty Priceless Brandy who wowed patrons with blistering displays on his way to victory twelve months ago. He was providing a fourth St Leger for trainer Paul Hennessy and a third here at the new track after What A Tornado in 2011 and the redoubtable bitch Locnamon Bridie who entered the history books when adding the St Leger to her Oaks title in an astounding 2013 victory.

All made possible by the generosity of our wonderful sponsors Kerry Agribusiness, this will be the sixteenth renewal under their banner and we can only thank them for their unwavering support of our greyhound racing endeavours at Limerick Greyhound Stadium which has brought yet another epic renewal in 2017.

Usual suspects to the fore in Round 1
With a host of runners who had contested the Irish Greyhound Derby including the twice Derby third Sonic along with Champion Stakes winner Jaytee Yankee and Produce Stakes champ Clonbrien Hero, anticipation was high ahead of an exciting opening round and it was the latter who went fastest while heading a treble for trainer Graham Holland. Claiming Heat 3, he was quick to stride from Trap 5 when leading throughout in a slick 29.49 defeat of Typical Ash.

Sonic too made a winning start to his campaign in a five runner Heat 6 following the unfortunate withdrawal of Native Chimes when despite a poor start, he negotiated his way to third place at the second bend before his brilliant back-straight speed saw him overhaul Jaytee Barracuda before the third turn for an ultimately comfortable success in what could have been a treacherous outing in 29.83. The Holland treble was completed when Hovex Mick ran down Jaytee Yankee late in Heat 4 with an impressive staying effort to score by a length in 29.72.

A brace of locally owned and trained runners fuelled fervent cheers from the stands on the opening night as Tim Gilbourne’s Gulleen Billy claimed Heat 8 in 29.76 before Stephen Murray’s Buttsys Boy produced a brilliant staying effort for a thrilling 30.16 success in Heat 9. Other notable performances on the night came from Ballybough Dad in the opener as the early pacer led throughout in 29.96, just as hugely promising Pat Buckley youngster Falcon Bay did in Heat 7 when posting 29.95 in defeat of Swithins Brae. Rounding off the action, Concrete Jungle also led throughout his three length defeat of Jaytee Dutch in 30.04 in an eventful opening exchange for Leger 2017.

Billy had locals dreaming after Round 2
Gulleen Billy
A legend of Limerick racing, Tim Gilbourne’s Gulleen Billy provided the highlight of Round Two for the vast majority of those in attendance when our Open race standard bearer broke best in a hot Heat 2. Leading to the first bend, Billy would come under pressure after a high quality pursuit by Sonic on the approach to the closing bends. Locked together upon turning, a protracted tussle would see the Holland favourite attempt his passing manoeuvre on the outside but a stout stayer at the 550 yard trip, Billy was not for passing and again asserted on the run to the line for a one and a half length verdict, posting 29.92 in a thriller!

Undeterred by this defeat, the Graham Holland kennels would return a double on the night as Droopys Cabaye ignited his campaign with a return to his best form, defeating Jaytee Denver in 29.96 before Clonbrien Hero confirmed his sparkling form with another trap to line success over Jaytee Dutch in 29.72. Joining Gulleen Billy and Clonbrien Hero in a trio of unbeaten runners at this point was Murt Leahy’s Ballybough Dad when the early pacer gamely found the resolve to come from behind leader Misty Supreme in the closing heat while posting 30.18.

The remaining heats saw some outright fancies begin to warm to their Leger task and Pat Buckley’s Coolavanny Mason looked ominously progressive when landing the opener in 29.89 before Owen McKenna’s Cahir Castle also improved for his first outing when using his suitable Trap 1 draw to good effect in Heat 3, defeating Garryvoe Bobby in 30.11. Claiming Heat 5 in what would prove a significant form pointer, Paul Hennessy’s Jaytee Yankee displayed superb early pace despite a slow break and completed a one and a half length win over the eye-catching Black Eyed Peppa in 30.01.

Mason makes his mark in quarter-finals
Just two lengths separated the winning times in hugely competitive quarter-finals but continuing to progress within the event was Pat Buckley’s Coolavanny Mason. In a high quality affair, he paced up well on the inside of pacesetter Droopys Cabaye and just a length would separate them at the top of the back-straight while Sonic negotiated his way to third after a poor start. Ranging alongside Droopys Cabaye between the closing bends, Mason would assert by a length on the run to the line in 29.88 with Sonic third.


Just two runners would enter the semi-finals unbeaten from this session as firstly, Ballybough Dad returned another impressive early paced display to lead home Black Eyed Peppa who again showed his strong staying ability with Arclight Bolt defying his outside odds in third to ensure the elimination of Chawke It Down and Drive On Tipp in 30.02. In the following Heat 3, Graham Holland’s Clonbrien Hero would maintain his perfect competition figures in much the same manner when also made to work hard to claim a first bend lead off a moderate exit from Trap 6 as he led home kennelmate Hovex Mick and Jaytee Yankee in 29.97.

John Houlihan’s Misty Supreme again showed pleasing progression to land the final heat in a minor shock at 10/1 when leading to the first bend where significant bumping would bring the elimination of heat favourite Gulleen Billy. Coming under pressure from Garryvoe Bobby at the closing bends, Misty Supreme would then repel a big late challenge from Jaytee Dutch close home when posting 30.02 in another quarter-final cracker.

Sonic booms in semi-finals
Returning just solid qualifying efforts by his own high standards since successful on night one, Sonic reaffirmed his place as one the most formidable classic contenders of his generation when producing a stunning semi-final display in defeat of kennelmate Droopys Cabaye who had made the best break from Trap 6. Leading to the bend Cabaye dictated by just half a length from Sonic who had crucially outpaced those to his inner which afforded him the opportunity to reach the back-straight with the leader in his sights. Staying powerfully he would complete a three length victory in 29.64 with Black Eyed Peppa filling third in another strong staying display.


Hennessy bids to go back-to-back
A very competitive tussle for early supremacy ultimately settled the the opposing semi-final when Jaytee Yankee used his inside draw to perfection while just managing to repel the attentions of fellow early pacers Misty Supreme and Ballybough Dad to his outer. Emerging worst from crowding at this point, Misty Supreme saw his chances thwarted when shuffled backwards as Clonbrien Hero
benefited with a run on the inside to track the leader to the back-straight. Up front, Jaytee still held the call as Ballybough Dad attempted a passing move on the outer at the closing bends but the Hennessy winner held firm in front and was full value for his one length verdict in 30.00 as Clonbrien Hero held on for third from the fast finishing Arclight Bolt. [PC]




Friday Oct 27th

Menacing Mason goes fastest as just two remain unbeaten

The hugely competitive 2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger remains a wide open event ahead of our semi-final clashes as evidenced by our action a week ago where just two lengths separated the winning times in four closely contested heats and leaves just two undefeated challengers amongst our twelve remaining aspiring champions.

First to keep his unbeaten record intact when claiming the second quarter-final was Murt Leahy’s wonderfully consistent Ballybough Dad whose early pace again proved decisive, despite just a moderate start by his own high standards. Sweeping across Drive On Tipp upon turning the first bend, he struck the front with intent and established his three length winning margin before even reaching the back-straight.


Stretching further clear by halfway, he had the result beyond doubt as his rivals scrambled for coveted qualifying places in behind. Emerging from a close tussle where most struggled for clear racing room, Black Eyed Peppa again showed his strong staying ability to reduce the leaders lead all the way to the line with Arclight Bolt defying his outside odds to ensure the elimination of Chawke It Down and Drive On Tipp in 30.02.

In the following Heat 3, Graham Holland’s Clonbrien Hero would maintain his perfect competition figures in much the same manner when also made to work hard to claim a first bend lead off a moderate exit from Trap 6. Just denying kennel companion Hovex Mick the opportunity to dictate, the latter did well to retain third place having switched wide as Jaytee Yankee claimed second with exceptional early pace after he fervently sought the rails through traffic from Trap 5.

Up front Clonbrien Hero had powered to a near six length lead by halfway with the result in no doubt and little would change until the eye-catching Hovex Mick claimed second from Jaytee Yankee at the closing bends before reducing the winner’s lead to just a length and a half at the line in 29.97. The big casualty here was ante-post fancy Swithins Brae.

Buckley; Timing it to a tee with Mason?
Fastest winner on the night was Pat Buckley’s Coolavanny Mason and posting back-to-back wins, he appeared to be warming ominously to his St Leger task when overhauling Droopys Cabaye off the final turn. The latter had just about led to the opening bend as Mason paced up well on the inside and just a length would separate them at the top of the back-straight while Sonic negotiated his way to third after a poor start. 


Ranging alongside Droopys Cabaye between the closing bends, Mason would assert by a length on the run to the line which is no mean feat over the strong running Holland charge and his 29.88 confirms him as a big contender for outright honours.

Quite inexperienced in Open class terms ahead of his St Leger campaign, John Houlihan’s Misty Supreme is maturing in this event and again showed pleasing progression to land the final heat in a minor shock at 10/1. Leading to the first bend for the second week in a row, he just overhauled both Jaytee Dutch and Garryvoe Bobby who had started faster and swept to the front upon turning.

These three would settle the trio before reaching the back-straight as the remainder all suffered bumping. Enjoying an almost three length lead at halfway, Misty Supreme would firstly come under pressure from Garryvoe Bobby but all out approaching the line, a bigger threat would emerge from Jaytee Dutch who powered up the home-straight in a thrilling effort between runners before failing by just a head verdict in 30.02.


Yankee may foil unbeaten duo

The opening semi-final sees 5/2 outright favourite Clonbrien Hero ideally housed in Trap 4 as the sole middle seed and if repelling two smart early pacers to his outer, he would be difficult to contain. However, this heat houses a wealth of early dash and the Holland charge will need to be sharp from traps if he is to secure a vital clear run. 

Yankee when last wearing RED!
His fellow unbeaten semi-finalist Ballybough Dad and the improving Misty Supreme are capable of matching the favourite on the run to the bend and all three have the ability to turn first. However, complicating this heat for the outside runners are the in-form Hovex Mick who is no slouch to the first bend when finding his best break but more particularly Jaytee Yankee who now finds himself on the rails which he has been craving throughout the event.


The Hennessy runner has shown exceptional early pace in all three heats thus far when overcoming what were treacherous draws for an ardent railer and is fancied to lead all with an adept break here which would seriously complicate qualification for all in behind. He stayed on well for an early paced runner last week and earns the vote for victory at what should be value odds while the trio permutations will be hard to predict as both Hovex Mick and Arclight Bolt can finish fast to scupper any of the early pacers who encounter traffic.


Mason can carve a path to final

The first three home in the fastest heat a week ago renew rivalry in the second semi and but for the presence of the improving Garryvoe Bobby in Trap 1, this would most likely be contested by the same trio. However as the Holland charge is currently breaking well, his rails pitch makes him the fly in the ointment now and should he defend his pitch to the bend, we can witness a huge scramble for places.

Pat Buckley’s Coolavanny Mason can be the master of his own fate with a smart break as he appears to be improving with each run but a break will be needed to again contest at the front end off the second bend for almost assured of a clear run on the outside is his victim from last week, the consistent Droopys Cabaye. He is taken to qualify at the very minimum by again leading kennelmate Sonic to the back-straight while clear of what looks highly likely traffic problems in behind.

The latter named remains a big threat and again showed powerful stamina in third last week but in punting terms, he must trap faster to back with confidence and there is plenty of possible trouble in running now when considered that Jaytee Dutch is breaking very well for a strong stayer while Black Eyed Peppa will too prove a late threat and difficult to pass if sneaking a run behind the inner trio. In his current vein of form, a tentative vote goes to Coolavanny Mason.


Betting: 5/2 Clonbrien Hero, 5/2 Sonic, 11/2 Coolavanny Mason, 6/1 Jaytee Yankee, Droopys Cabaye 12/1 Ballybough Dad, 14/1 Hovex Mick, 16/1 Garryvoe Bobby, 20/1 Misty Supreme, Black Eyed Peppa, Jaytee Dutch, 50/1 Arclight Bolt.




Thursday Oct 19th

Billy loves Limerick and Leger 2017 loves Billy!

Welcoming aspiring champions from all corners of the country, the Irish St Leger and Limerick Greyhound Stadium stand ready to fondly embrace any eventual winner as a worthy recipient of our classic crown following a long month of intense competition. However, when a possible outright champion emerges from local kennels the faithful regular patrons will begin to dream of a success to keep the coveted prize on home ground and as such, the victory of Gulleen Billy in Saturday’s second round heats was the highlight of another wonderful night’s action in the 2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger.

Gulleen Billy after Round Two victory
Tim Gilbourne’s game tracker has been a standard bearer in Open class at the Limerick venue throughout a brilliant career that has only seen him outside the first three places on five occasions from 46 race starts. Having now reached veteran status, he scored back to back wins to begin his St Leger campaign when claiming Heat 2 on Saturday to rapturous local approval when fending off the persistent challenge of twice Derby third Sonic in a thrilling encounter.


Breaking best, Billy led to the opening turn but would come under pressure after a high quality pursuit by Sonic on the approach to the closing bends. Locked together upon turning, a protracted tussle would see the Holland favourite attempt his passing manoeuvre on the outside but a stout stayer at the 550 yard trip, Billy was not for passing and again asserted on the run to the line for a one and a half length victory in 29.92 with Beara Gig staying well in third.

Hero fastest in a Holland double
This disappointment for the Holland kennels would be negated somewhat in subsequent heats when registering a second round double which began with Droopys Cabaye in Heat 4. He ignited his campaign when returning to his best breaking form to lead throughout a slick 29.96 defeat of strong staying Jaytee Denver who wrestled second place away from Swithins Brae in a high quality affair.
Completing the Holland brace when returning the fastest time for the second week in-a-row was Produce Stakes champion Clonbrien Hero as he again led throughout a hugely impressive victory which sees him top the outright betting market ahead of the quarter-finals. His early pace carried him to a lead which he never looked like surrendering ahead of Jaytee Dutch who flew from halfway to claim second from Arclight Bolt in a brilliant 29.72.

Dad one of only three to remain unbeaten
Joining Gulleen Billy and Clonbrien Hero in a trio of unbeaten runners after Round Two was Murt Leahy’s Ballybough Dad when the early pacer gamely found the resolve to come from behind pacesetter Misty Supreme in the closing heat. Led to the bend, he was checked and forced wide upon turning but a sustained challenge saw him reel in John Houlihan’s charge close home in 30.18 with Away Jet back in third.


The remaining heats saw some outright fancies begin to warm to their Leger task and Pat Buckley’s Coolavanny Mason looked ominously progressive when landing the opener in strong running fashion once overhauling Chawke It Down beyond halfway and he will command much respect going forward while Priceless Rum’s powerful finish for second must not be overlooked when studying this week’s form. Also improving for his first round outing was Owen McKenna’s Cahir Castle as he used his suitable Trap 1 draw to good effect in Heat 3. Ranging alongside Garryvoe Bobby entering the closing bends, the strong stayer impressively asserted in the home-straight for a two and half length verdict in 30.11 with Hovex Mick filling third.


Claiming Heat 5, the Leger’s most prolific trainer of the modern era also registered a winner on the night when Paul Hennessy’s Jaytee Yankee displayed superb early pace despite a slow break and he would overhaul faster trapping pup Falcon Bay around the opening bends before completing a one and a half length verdict over the eye-catching Black Eyed Peppa in 30.01 while Heat 7 also saw significant progress from the opening night when Dan Brassill’s Knocknacree Sky got off the mark after his improved break saw him contest the early lead before striking the front at the third bend for his 30.12 success over Drive On Tipp who stayed very strongly in behind after some early bumping.

Fascinating draw promises competitive quarter-final clashes
There was never going to be an easy draw at this stage of the competition when considering the class of runner still remaining in the 2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger and what awaits us on Saturday is a compelling session of quarter-final heats where from the off, Heat 1 houses some big names as all six runners hail from just three kennels!
Buckley duo are drawn together

A brace of runners from the kennels of Paul Hennessy, Graham Holland and Pat Buckley make up the field and the latter in particular can feel a touch unlucky with both his remaining representatives being housed alongside each other. Second favourite and eased to 11/2 following defeat last week, Sonic might just get back to winning ways here with a Trap 6 draw that should offer a clear run on the outside of kennelmate Droopys Cabaye who is fancied to cut out the running off the second bend.

The hugely respected Coolavanny Mason has found a tricky draw in Trap 3 and his fast starting younger kennelmate may in fact complicate his passage on the run to the bend which would be far from ideal given that there are two strong runners to his inside and a clear run will be crucial for any to fend off Jaytee Denver in a scramble for a qualification place.

Dad can rule the roost
Slow to stride by his own high standards last week, Ballybough Dad is in superb form at present and gets the vote to remain unbeaten in Heat 2. Expected to lead the runners to his immediate inside, he can take control of the race on the back-straight and extricate himself from a likely scramble for places in behind. All runners will sweat for a clear run here and with the possibility of bumping, strongest finishers Drive on Tipp and Black Eyed Peppa are taken to fill the qualifying berths.

Hero may get first early examination
Peter Cronin with Swithins Brae
Heat 3 may contain the unbeaten 3/1 outright favourite Clonbrien Hero but this high class encounter can prove more competitive than first glance suggests. With a pleasing draw in Trap 6, there are plausible claims for the fastest runner to again find clear passage but should Jaytee Yankee find a better break than last week, the slick early pacer may ensure that Clonbrien Hero sights a rival for the first time in the event. That said, the duo should have the early exchanges to themselves on the outer and Hero retains the vote for victory given his impressive finishing figures last week. Hugely competitive, qualifying places will be at a premium here and a case can be made for all but Swithins Brae will be tough to eliminate if finding an adept break and is taken to follow the afore mentioned duo home.


Believe in Billy
All draws seem to come alike to Gulleen Billy, especially when in his current form and he earns the vote in Heat 4 when likely to have his legion of supporters in full voice once more. From Trap 2, he is far enough removed from Misty Supreme who showed exceptional early dash last week and occupies Trap 5 here. Expected to at least match or even lead Garryvoe Bobby to his inner, Billy can secure safe passage to the back-straight where he can take hold of the race even if in pursuit of Misty Supreme at that point as he is a stout stayer at the 550 yard distance. Some strong finishers will roll the dice for a clear run at the bend here and all can retain hopes of a semi-final place but Cahir Castle and Jaytee Dutch in particular will fly from halfway.

Betting: 3/1 Clonbrien Hero, 11/2 Sonic, 7/1 Jaytee Yankee, 8/1 Droopys Cabaye, 12/1 Swithins Brae, Falcon Bay, Drive On Tipp, 14/1 Hovex Mick, Gulleen Billy, Coolavanny Mason, 20/1 Ballybough Dad, Cahir Castle, Garryvoe Bobby 25/1 Bar

Surviving trainers with multiple entries; Paul Hennessy 6 (from an original 9), Graham Holland 6 (7), Pat Buckley 2 (2), Owen McKenna 1 (2), Margaret Bolton 1 (2).


Gulleen Billy in Round Two action!






Monday October 16th

With the split clock being a bit temperamental on the opening night, the few figures we had to hand from last week could not be applied with confidence so we had to wait until Saturday's second round heats go all nerdy on the Leger!

I would estimate the track to have been on the slow side by about 30 spots so some of the split times are quite impressive. Clearly the figures would make Clonbrien Hero a worthy favourite at this point as the fastest runner to the third bend and his finishing split too compares very well, especially as he is likely to be in front most of the time!

The likes of Priceless Rum and Jaytee Dutch are going to be difficult to eliminate with impressive finishing times that you may expect to see at 525 but which are superb for the Leger trip, however, clearly both will have to turn closer to put these finishing kicks to winning effect.

Heat 4 on Saturday was a high class affair where all were staying on well and with Cabaye and Brae in particular being capable of a sharp run to the third bend, they must remain of interest for outright contention. Jaytee Denver clearly stays very strongly but he must show more in the opening half of his races going forward.

Anyway, use the figures in conjunction with the race card when studying up for the quarter-finals and we will try to establish some trends after this week's action.

ST LEGER RD 2
Opening 325 Yards
Closing 225
HEAT 1 – 29.89


COOLAVANNY MASON
17.50
12.39
PRICELESS RUM
18.06 ckd
12.18
CHAWKE IT DOWN
17.50
12.79
HEAT 2 – 29.92


GULLEEN BILLY
17.48
12.44
SONIC
17.53 ckd
12.49
BEARA GIG
17.90 ckd
12.44 ckd
HEAT 3 – 30.11


CAHIR CASTLE
17.80
12.31
GARRYVOE BOBBY
17.81
12.47 ckd
HOVEX MICK
17.85 bmp
12.31
HEAT 4 – 29.96


DROOPYS CABAYE
17.60
12.36
JAYTEE DENVER
17.91
12.26
SWITHINS BRAE
17.76 ckd
12.33
HEAT 5 – 30.01


JAYTEE YANKEE
17.56
12.45
BLACK EYED PEPPA
17.78 ckd
12.35
FALCON BAY
17.70
12.48
HEAT 6 – 29.72


CLONBRIEN HERO
17.38
12.34
JAYTEE DUTCH
17.94 ran wide
12.16
ARCLIGHT BOLT
17.70
12.46
HEAT 7 – 30.16


KNOCKNACREE SKY
17.70 ckd
12.46
DRIVE ON TIPP
17.79 crd/bmp
12.36
HEWHODARESWINS
17.69
12.85 ckd
HEAT 8 – 30.18


BALLYBOUGH DAD
17.75 ckd
12.43
MISTY SUPREME
17.65
12.56
AWAY JET
17.86
12.60








Thursday Oct 12th

2017 Leger turns the screw in competitive Round Two

While the opening round of the 2017 Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger appeared to offer a comfortable outing for our leading fancies with just eleven runners losing out on qualification from the fifty-nine challengers who took to the track on Saturday last, an eventful opening exchange brought plenty of shocks on the night with strong outright fancies among those eliminated.

Even before commencement the competition suffered a major loss with the withdrawal of Native Chimes as one of the most popular racers at Limerick Greyhound Stadium and his absence from Heat 6 appeared to leave a clear path to victory for event favourite Sonic. The Graham Holland trained powerhouse would oblige but giving supporters a scare when missing his break, he was made to work harder than envisaged.

Forming part of a Holland treble on the night, the twice Derby third negotiated his way to third place at the second bend before his brilliant back-straight pace saw him overhaul Jaytee Barracuda before the third turn for an ultimately comfortable success in what could have been a treacherous outing while posting 29.83.

Graham Holland had set-up this treble bid earlier on the night when firstly Clonbrien Hero claimed Heat 3 in the fastest time of the round. Quick to stride from Trap 5, he led throughout in 29.49 with Gerry Holian’s Typical Ash displaying powerful pace in behind, only going down by three lengths having been double that distance adrift early in the back-straight.

The following heat then saw the talented, if frustratingly inconsistent, Hovex Mick produce a brilliant winning effort when chasing down smart Paul Hennessy challenger Jaytee Yankee in the home-straight. Both had made good starts with the latter making his way across towards the inside from Trap 6 and his superior early pace saw him turn in front. Four lengths to the good off the second bend, Yankee appeared set for victory before a powerful challenge beyond halfway saw the Holland charge claim victory in 29.72 which confirms him as an outright contender if finding a consistent run of form.

Battling bitches bag a brace

It is always fascinating to see the elite bitches of the sport take up the challenge of competing against the very best dogs in the classic Open events but as the Irish Oaks this year runs concurrently with the St Leger, we had just five bitches in our first round. However, our plucky if small brigade of ladies managed to deliver a brilliant and game double on the night.

Breaking well from Trap 3 in Heat 2, Faithful Linda appeared to have a tough task on her paws but her slick early pace was enough to fend off the attentions of the talented Vardy who suffered significant bumping as a consequence. Now challenged by Lybes Destiny who ranged up on her outside early in the back-straight, Linda proved a tough obstacle to overhaul and gamely defended her lead all the way to the line for Hall Of Fame recipient Patsy Richardson in 30.58 with Helen Coffey’s Ogarney Brandy filling a local forecast at a length deficit.

Graduating to Open class following her brilliant march through the Guys & Dolls A3 Stake at Clonmel, Paradise Summer would start just 6/4 in Heat 5 and the suspicion that she could be yet another classic contender from the prolific breeding lines of Sean Meade were emphatically confirmed from her suitable Trap 1 berth. Tracking smart early pacer Lolas Frampton to the opening bend, she would cede a two length advantage before producing her telling challenge on the back-straight. Ranging alongside the leader on the inside at the closing bends, Paradise Summer struck the front before staying strongly to the line for a two length verdict in in 29.99.

Brilliant Billy the boss once more

Now reaching veteran status, Tim Gilbourne’s Gulleen Billy has been a perennial Open race standard bearer at Limerick Greyhound Stadium and the big local favourite showed no relent in his form when returning a brilliant four and half length defeat of Away Jet in Heat 8. Tracking that rival on the run to the bend, Billy used his inside pitch to good effect when striking the front upon turning. Immediately stamping his authority on the race, he began to put daylight between himself and the formidable Hennessy challenger before dominating to the the line in a very smart 29.76 and is again a leading hope for home success in the 2017 St Leger.

On a successful night for regular track patrons, the following Heat 9 was claimed by a runner making his classic debut and the hugely consistent Buttsys Boy proved up to the task in a very eye-catching success. A strong runner at the 550 yard trip, he paced up well on the run to the bend before bumped upon turning while on the outside of a three-way battle for the lead. Shuffled back to a share of third place along the back-straight, the Stephen Murray charge would produce his winning challenge on the outside of the field at the closing bends before staying powerfully to the line for a five and three quarter length verdict in 30.16.

Other notable performances on the night came from Ballybough Dad in the opener as the early pacer led throughout in 29.96, just as hugely promising Pat Buckley youngster Falcon Bay did in Heat 7 when posting 29.95 in defeat of Swithins Brae. Rounding off the action, Concrete Jungle also led throughout his three length defeat of Jaytee Dutch in 30.04 on an eventful opening night to #Leger17.


Holland trio head the market

Ahead of our second round heats, Derby sponsors Boylesports have installed three Graham Holland runners at the top of the outright betting market with Sonic and Clonbrien Hero disputing favouritism at 5/1 and both will be expected to compound those quotes with victory. Drawn in Trap 5 for Heat 2, the former can be expected to break better than he did last week for any mishaps on the run to the bend now could give crucial advantage to strong running local favourite Gulleen Billy who merits plenty of respect in the race.

Heat 6 then offers highly realistic claims for Clonbrien Hero to remain unbeaten from his wide draw where likely freedom on the outside can see him dominate the early exchanges at the likely expense of Jaytee Dutch. Next in the market at 8/1, Drive On Tipp will seek to ignite his campaign in the following Heat 7 but faces a much more complicated task from Trap 3 where he will need to trap well for clear passage. A plausible threat can emerge from Trap 1 where early pacer Concrete Jungle is expected to control matters on the run to the bend while there may yet be a big run to come from Knocknacree Sky, if he can find his trapping boots.

Without a Round One winner to boast, our opening heat remains a high quality affair where some strong outright fancies will seek to spark their campaigns to life and a chance is taken that Coolavanny Mason can trap faster than last week and complete victory at the main expense of Jaytee Barracuda. Equally as competitive, Heat 3 bears a treacherous complexion for some runners with sights on a deep run but fancied to get off the mark here at rewarding odds is Typical Ash. He will need to trap better than last time but he possesses deceptively slick early pace and if with the leaders on the outside at the first bend can settle the heat on the back-straight as those to his inner will roll the dice for a clear run in a tight affair.

Other fascinating clashes throughout the card may see Swithins Brae atone for his latest defeat now drawn in Trap 1 again for Heat 4 in a tricky contest where the rails pitch can prove crucial. Jaytee Yankee earns the nod to contain Falcon Bay in Heat 5 where it will be fascinating to see how bitch Paradise Summer can impact their classic aspirations while Ballybough Dad just earns the vote in the concluding heat as a most consistent performer but possible improvement from Away Jet would make him tough to contain.
Hennessy has seven remaining


Trainers with multiple entries: Paul Hennessy 7 (from an original 9), Graham Holland 7 (7), Liam Dowling 2 (3), Pat Buckley 2 (2), Margaret Bolton 2 (2), Owen McKenna (2).

We have 9 wides seeds remaining from a starting 13 and all three middle seeds survived last week while 3 of our original 5 bitches have reached Round Two.

Betting: 5/1 Clonbrien Hero, Sonic 8/1 Drive On Tipp 10/1 Jaytee Yankee Swithins Brae 12/1 Droopys Cabaye, Falcon Bay 14/1 Hovex Mick, Coolavanny Mason 16/1 Concrete Jungle 20/1 Ballybough Dad, Gulleen Billy, Jaytee Barracuda, Cahir Castle, Typical Ash, Garryvoe Bobby, Jaytee Dutch 25/1 Bar.

**With the stadium clock flashing up some clearly inaccurate split times throughout the opening night, it has proved impossible to provide accurate information from the few (possibly) correct ones that are to hand. Here's hoping we get correct splits for all eight heats this week and we can go all nerdy ahead of the quarter-finals.








FRIDAY Oct 6th


The 2017 Kerry Agri Business Irish St Leger has suffered a huge blow as an adopted favourite son of the Limerick circuit Native Chimes has been withdrawn due to injury. All involved with the event will wish him a speedy recovery while we lament his absence and a chance lost to again see him scorching around a track that brought him runner-up placings in both the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial and the St Leger itself.






THURSDAY Oct 5th

Stage is set for sizzling month of 2017 St Leger action

A greatly affected Open race schedule in an eventful 2017 season for Irish greyhound racing has left the autumn period saturated with top grade events around the country with the commencement of this year’s Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger ensuring that three classics will run concurrently over the coming weeks.

However, and although having entry numbers affected, the perennial feature event at Limerick Greyhound Stadium will again bring down the curtain on what has been a magnificently high class search for classic champions throughout 2017 with some of Ireland’s very best racers among our sixty strong field.

First held in 1932, Castle Eve claimed the inaugural event at Celtic Park in Belfast as the event visited Shelbourne park, Harolds Cross and Clonmel before the first Limerick staging in 1940 as Cherrygrove Cross prevailed in 31.82. The defining event for generations of greyhound enthusiasts in County Limerick and it’s surrounds then found a permanent home at the Markets Field venue in 1944 when claimed by No Relation, posting 31.48 for the 550 yard distance.

Priceless Brandy
2017 brings the eight running of the St Leger at our new stadium on the Dock Road and in that time we have seen brilliant champions crowned but none more impressive than the mighty Priceless Brandy who wowed patrons with blistering displays on his way to victory twelve months ago. Unable to return in defence of his title this year, he was providing a fourth St Leger for trainer Paul Hennessy and a third here at the new track after What A Tornado in 2011 and the redoubtable bitch Locnamon Bridie who entered the history books when adding the St Leger to her Oaks title in an astounding 2013 victory.

All made possible by the generosity of our wonderful sponsors Kerry Agribusiness, this will be the sixteenth renewal under their banner and we can only thank them for their unwavering support of our greyhound racing endeavours at Limerick Greyhound Stadium as we prepare for an intense month of fiery competition for the final classic of the season.

Sizzling Six will turn up the Heat

Throughout the first round draw there are many runners who performed with great credit in the recently ended Irish Greyhound Derby but no more evident than in a stacked Heat 6 with two runners who exited the premier classic at semi-final stage joining the twice Derby third place finisher Sonic.

Native Chimes
The latter forms part of a seven strong team for Graham Holland as a superstar of his generation and is the likely outright favourite ahead of the event. If transferring the form that he displayed at Shelbourne Park on his Limerick racing debut, he will prove tough to repel but he faces a stiff challenge from the outset as the exploits of Johnny O’Sullivan’s Native Chimes at a venue where he is adored makes him a serious challenger for Leger honours having chased Priceless Brandy home in second place twelve months ago before filling the same position in this year’s Con & Annie Kirby Memorial.

Earning the vote tonight, the latter appears ideally drawn in Trap 2 where an adept break can see him hold a prominent position to the bend on the inside of interesting runner Knocknacree Sky for the canny Dan Brassil. From Trap 4, Sonic will need to be sharp at trap rise to ensure safe passage at the bend, especially with Derby semi-finalist Jaytee Barracuda on the outside but what a treat it would be if these were locked together at the top of the back-straight in a sizzling opening night teaser!

Cabaye can skip Away on Jet?

Another heat to jump off the page as a likely pointer to future form when the draw was made was Heat 8. The St Leger’s most prolific trainer of the modern era, Paul Hennessy, heads the entry list with nine challengers and arguably spearheading the charge is strong runner Away Jet who has formidable classic form having crossed the line in second place at Cork in the Irish Laurels.

Staying strongly in that event, he appeared to be crying out for 550 yards but suffered significant crowding in the first round of the Derby and is on a recovery mission now at a track that can ideally suit his racing style. More of a competition dog who can progress round on round than an adamant fancy for heat victory every night, he might just be made to settle for a place to start with however as he faces viable opposition now.

Scorching through the opening round heats in the Derby was Droopys Cabaye and ideally drawn to secure a clear run from Trap 6, he earns the vote in a tight contest where the evergreen Gulleen Billy merits huge respect from Trap 2 if the strong runner can find a good break.

Swithins Brae
Also bringing St Leger final form from 2016 is Peter Cronin’s sole entry, the superbly talented Swithins Brae. Ideally housed in Trap 1 for Heat 7, he can make a winning return to Limerick after his fourth place finish twelve months ago but an interesting heat should be examined closely with promising Pat Buckley youngster Falcon Bay along with the Liam Dowling duo of Ballymac Sarahjo and Killeacle Wayne adding real substance.

Other outright fancies to watch for can be Coolavanny Mason, also for Buckley, in the opening heat along Graham Holland’s Clonbrien Hero in Heat 3 and Drive On Tipp in Heat 10. Heat 4 should also provide plenty of form clues going forward with former Derby semi-finalist Cahir Castle facing off against Laurels finalist Chawke It Down and talented Hennessy runner Jaytee Yankee.

These are just some of the likely highlights ahead of our opening round heats but expect fiery action throughout the night as some of Ireland’s very best racers enter battle in chase of classic glory for the 74th Irish St Leger.


No comments:

Post a Comment