The two sessions of the opening round of the Laurels were completed at Curraheen Park over the weekend and ante-post favourite Tyrur Enda emerged with his reputation enhanced while his kennel-companion and Derby runner-up Tyrur Big Mike’s suitability to the circuit remains somewhat in question despite a winning start to his campaign.
Enda had to settle for second place in the early stages of his heat but he really impressed with the manner in which he attacked the third and fourth bends to build a race-winning advantage. Powering on with real gusto, he crossed the line a length and a half clear of Colorful Champ in 28.33.
Big Mike also raced a close second to the opening bend in his heat but he lost considerable ground on the turn. Having shown huge pace down the back, he tangled with leader Leeview Jet and that allowed Barnbrook Again assume control. Bumping into the new leader as he raced off the home turn, Big Mike’s class shone through as he battled bravely to earn a neck victory in the slowest of the night, 28.95.
The Kieran Lennon-trained Jonny Whitesox went fastest of all when posting a stunning 28.16 victory off an unparalleled 3.27 early split in Saturday’s opening heat. Alone in a matter of strides, he remained unassailably clear throughout to see off former Derby Consolation winner Royal Tornado by five impressive lengths.
Trainers Paul Hennessy and Pat Buckley both enjoyed Saturday night doubles. The former set up his brace when Tranquil Time was in position to take advantage as leader and odds-on favourite Dalcash Cardosa ran wide at the second bend in heat two. The pair raced neck and neck from that point, with Tranquil Time forging ahead very late on to score a neck victory in 28.68.
The double was complete when Tote Gold Cup winner De Ex Factor produced a similar display to claw back long-time leader Kilmalady Torres for a neck victory in 28.39.
Pat Buckley’s double began in the night’s fourth heat where Guinness Trophy and Race Of Champions winner Beaming Dilemma made the most of a perfect pitch to lead from the turn and withstand the persistent challenge of Barefoot Admiral by a neck in 28.66.
Puppy Derby Champion Tullymurry Act completed the Buckley double when also enjoying a clear run along the inside in the following heat. In a virtual solo, he dashed home six clear of Croom Star in 28.48.
Elsewhere, defending champion Sevenheads Bay suffered a surprise defeat at the paws of the improving Paid Paddy. Bobby Barrett’s dog enjoyed the advantage of the inside and he battled most willingly to touch off the favourite by a short head in 28.72.
In Friday night’s heats, Owen McKenna’s Youghal Champion Stakes winner Pablo Supreme went fastest with a 28.50 return and, in the, process completed the trainer’s double that Tubbertelly Dubh (28.70) had initiated in heat two.
The draw for the second round of the Pat Hennerty Sales Irish Laurels to be run on Saturday is:
Heat 1: 1 Cool Model; 2 Yeah Richie; 3 Paid Paddy; 4 Shiloh Sublime; 5 Three One Three; 6 Castlelyons Patk (w).
Heat 2: 1 Skip One; 2 Gringos Verlingo; 3 Dalcash Cardosa; 4 Sevenheads Bay; 5 Marked Urgent; 6 Royal Tornado.
Heat 3: 1 Droopys Sastre; 2 Huckabees Kid; 3 Barnbrook Again; 4 Belvedere Champ; 5 Dusky Luck; 6 Tullymurry Act.
Heat 4: 1 Tyrur Bucko; 2 Killorane Boy; 3 Took The Okee; 4 Barefoot Admiral; 5 Tranquil Time; 6 Beaming Dilemma.
Heat 5: 1 Homers Vision; 2 Belindas Lee; 3 Tubbertelly Dubh; 4 Kiowa Myth; 5 Guitar Moment (m); 6 St Louis Spirit (m).
Heat 6: 1 Pablo Supreme; 2 Croom Star; 3 Droopys Zorro; 4 Yes Boss (m); 5 Johnny Whitesox (m); 6 Sheepwalk Mac (w).
Heat 7: 1 Broadstrand Lad; 2 Kilmalady Torres; 3 Kid Billzer; 4 Colorful Champ; 5 Tyrur Big Mike (m); 6 Noelles Kido (w).
Heat 8: 1 Tyrur Enda; 2 De Ex Factor; 3 Witches Peter; 4 Honchos Key; 5 Faypoint Dave; 6 Cool Mac (m).
* Cashmans Bet: 5/2 Tyrur Enda, 9/2 Tyrur Big Mike, 6 Tullymurry Act, 8 Colourful Champ, 10 Dalcash Cordosa, 14 Pablo Supreme, Tyrur Bucko, 16 Sevenheads Bay, 20 Bar.
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