Trained by Pat Kiely for the Golden Spoon Syndicate, Kilworth, he proved popular at 4-6 and justified those odds in great fashion.
Impressively fluent over every hurdle — he never had to break stride at any of the obstacles — the son of Westmead Hawk and Lady Deise led Whittymadmohally by a couple of lengths racing to the first turn, and doubled his advantage down the back.
With high-class form over further on the flat, he galloped on powerfully to win by six lengths from Whittymadmohally, who ran his heart out to take second spot behind the 28.59 winner.
Ballyboy Rover, a member of the smart Cashen Legend — Kilbarry Lady litter, made all the running to take the opener for Christy Roche and Jerry O’Brien, Dunmanway.
An early dash was the key here as he proved too sharp for his rivals, and held his position comfortably thereafter to beat the running-on Curraleigh Swift by a length and a half, in 29.04.
Sunshine Cathy had to overcome early trouble to take the second race for Donncadh Collins, Bandon. From that classy Head Bound — Liss May litter, she was fourth early, but showed backstraight pace before taking over around the third bend, and running on to beat Scala May by a length, in 29.14.
There was some support for Lavan Lad (Westmead Hawk — Partners Seta) in the third race, and the youngster, trained by Christy Corcoran for Ned and Denis Fitzgerald, Fermoy, duly obliged. The November pup was away quite well, but had the pace to lead at the first turn, and then raced clear to beat Dynamo Supreme by three lengths, in 18.07.
Race four was the first semi-final of the A4 525, and Archaton Sophie (Archaton Pine — Last Spice) justified heavy support with victory for John Buckley, Midleton. Getting Animated led at the first turn, where he was badly baulked. The knock-on effect had three others in trouble, but Archaton Sophie slipped through along the inside to take control, and raced to a two-and-a-half-length victory over Getting Animated, in 29.05.
There was some shrewd money for lightly raced maiden Old Gold (Taylors Sky – Shades Of Soul) in the second semi-final, and the youngster justified the support in impressive fashion. Although not first into stride, he quickened sharply to turn second behind Mums Misty, and then galloped to the front at the third turn. From there, he pulled three and a half clear of Knockraha Jet, in 28.67.
The Burgess A1/A2 Puppy Stake proved a hot competition in 2014, and Saturday’s two semi-finals lived up to that standard. Sponsors JJ Fennelly and Sheila Spillane, Killeagh, were on the mark with Burgess Tadhg (Ace Hi Rumble — Dower Twilight) in the first of them.
In front early, he was bumped at the bend but shared pacemaking duties with Knockboy Kathy as they raced down the back. He edged ahead once more racing the final bends, but had to keep up to his work to deny his rival by a length, in 28.47.
Trainer Michael O’Donovan had been out of luck with odds-on favourite Lone Scolari in the first heat, but his exciting bitch Ardrahan Zindi (Head Bound — Ardrahan Espreso) took the second semi-final in great style.
Returning after a lay-off, she was fifth early, and then bumped as she tried to make progress around the opening bends. An eye-catching turn of pace carried her into second place just after halfway, and she maintained a strong gallop to lead off the last bend, before stretching two and a half clear, in 28.36.
Charlesfield Tom (Head Bound — Liss May) has really developed with racing, and he ran away with the ninth race for trainer Johnny Linehan and owners Veronica and Tim McAuliffe. A litter brother to earlier winner Sunshine Cathy, he showed terrific early pace to go clear into the first turn, and raced unchallenged to a three-length win over Freds Choice, in 28.64.
The fastest time of the night came in the finale, in which Laurels finalist Mimis Ace (Ace Hi Rumble — Precious Story) bounced right back to his best with a super effort. Trained by John Kiely for Maura Kiely, Blackrock, he was a close fifth at the turn, but raced around the field to lead out of the second bend. The 5-4 favourite quickly moved clear, and stayed stoutly to beat Guinness Trophy winner Glenbowen Diamon by five and a half lengths, in 28.26.