Vimmerby sets the standard

Darragh Morrissey, Paul Hennessy and Graham Holland all recorded doubles in the first round of the 2014 Connolly’s Red Mills Irish Laurels on Saturday night at Curraheen Park, but it was the John Kavanagh-trained Vimmerby who set the bar highest with his terrific display in the second of the 13 heats.

Vimmerby sets the standard

Despite moving middle on the run-up, the John Somers, New Ross, owned 5-4 favourite had the pace to lead Indigojack around the opening bends, and, with stamina assured, he pulled clear to record an impressive five-length victory over that rival, in 28.11.

Tyrur Dicky was the first of three bitches to prevail in the heats, the Tom O’Neill-trained litter sister to Tyrur Supermac and Tyrur Nathan doing so with an authoritative display in the opener. A 5-1 chance, on her seventh career start, she broke better than ever, and made all for a five-length victory over Lemon Pumba, in 28.27.

In heat three, the Owen McKenna-trained Farloe Calvin led out of the second bend before holding on well to deny the strong challenge of the fast-finishing General Wolf by half a length, in 28.21.

There was an upset in heat four as Michael Maguire’s 9-2 chance Torpeys Ace denied a number of challenges from favourite and Produce Stakes runner-up Midtown Raffa before stretching three and a half lengths clear in 28.44.

The experienced Lemon Miley posted a really smart effort in heat five. Murt Leahy’s dog had the pace to get up inside Business Scholar at the opening bend and, after forging ahead early in the backstraight, the 4-1 chance pulled four clear in 28.18.

The clash of the round came in heat six, where one of the outright favourites, Irish Sprint Cup winner Crokers Champ, and Jaytee Valencia produced a thriller, which went the way of the latter, giving Paul Hennessy the first leg of his double.

Crokers Champ was sent off the 4-6 favourite and all looked to be going to plan when he popped out and led to the bend. However, he moved middle on the turn, allowing Jaytee Valencia close up along the inner. The latter moved to the front at halfway, and took more than a length out of the favourite as they negotiated the final turns.

Crokers Champ rallied in the homestraight, but Jaytee Valencia held on by three parts of a length, in 28.34. Both looks big players for the ultimate prize.

In taking heat seven, Champagne Jackie became the second winning bitch of the round, and also the first leg of the Morrissey double. The 8-1 chance was in command from an early stage, and remained comfortably clear as the slow-starting favourite, Vans Viking, made rapid late gains to take second place behind the 28.27 winner.

Burgess Rumble fended off the challenge of Best Option to take heat eight, in 28.52, for Sheila Spillane and JJ Fennelly, Killeagh, before the early pace of John and Alan Troy’s Ridgemount Bart (28.25) proved too much for his rivals in heat nine.

Kilara Hey Mac employed similar tactics when completing the Hennessy double in heat 10. The 2-1 favourite moved clear early and maintained a two-length advantage over Burgess Oscar, in 28.21.

Sidarian Blaze shared long-odds favouritism with Crokers Champ prior to the round, and he justified odds of 1-3 when leading from the first turn for a 28.14 victory in heat 11. In doing so, he became the first leg of a double for Graham Holland.

The Morrissey brace was complete when Graigues Kaino won heat 12, which was the most eventful and slowest of the 13.

The 3-1 chance squeezed through along the inside of his tangling rivals around the opening bends, before racing three and a half lengths clear of Whatasetup in 29.05.

The first round came to a close with Munster Oaks winner Newinn Expert (Evens — 4-6) justifying heavy support, while completing the Holland double. The third lady to win a heat, she was very quickly into stride and raced away to a four-length victory, from reserve Gortkelly Bolt, in 28.40.

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