Flawless Ballinakil Clare star of the show

For the second consecutive week Ballinakil Clare proved the star performer in the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks at Shelbourne Park.

Trained by Graham Holland for the Full House Syndicate, the June pup produced a flawless 28.06 victory in the first round, and was just five spots slower when following up in Saturday night’s fourth quarter-finals.

The even-money favourite held a narrow lead to the turn and thereafter stretched right away to beat market rival Slippery Thelma by seven lengths, in 28.11.

Next best on the clock was kennel companion Sidarian Pearl, who had the early pace to make light of her wide draw in the second heat. 

The 1-2 chance moved a couple clear down the back, and stayed on nicely to beat the determined Airmount Dvinsky by two lengths, in 28.26.

The most exciting finish came in the first heat, in which another Holland runner, Slippery Louise, got up late to beat kennel companion Rockburst Riva by a head, in 28.60, with long-time leader Mashmad Eyebrows just half a length away.

Jerry Melia’s Holycross Leah took the third heat with a trap-to-line victory over favourite Airmount Tess, by a neck, in 28.41.

The Gain Dog Food Open 600 got underway later on the card and only 18 spots separated the quickest and slowest heats.

The competition got off to a flyer when litter brothers Newlawn Luke and Newlawn Simon, trained in Cork by JJ Fennelly and John Kiely respectively, shared the spoils.

The former raced clear early but the latter, last early, flew home to break the ray with his sibling, in 32.82.

Notorious Ben, trained by Graham Holland for Pat Moloney, Castlemartyr, made a winning start when, despite switching wide off the last bend, got up late to beat kennel companion Hovex Blaze by half a length, in 32.79.

Larry Dunne’s Slippery Snowy led early in the backstraight and ran on well to beat the fast-finishing Boylesports Duke by two and a half lengths, in a best-of-the-round 32.71. 

The round concluded with the Tom O’Neill-trained Ballyhooly Henry making all the running to beat eye-catching outsider Mustang Noplan by a length, in 32.89.

A top-class card had been lit-up early by the performances of Ballymac Sexton and Ballymac Bigmike in the two semi-finals of the open sprint.

The former, trained by Leonard O’Hanlon, made all the running to beat Skywalker Archie by a length, in 18.64, before the Robert Gleeson-trained Ballymac Bigmike led between the bends and flew home to beat odds-on favourite Hee Haws Sheriff by five lengths, in 18.50 -just nine spots outside Sycamore Dan’s long-standing record.


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