Slippery Fred landed the final of the 2016 Best Car Parks Gold Cup but not before giving his considerable band of supporters an early scare in the feature on Saturday night’s high-class card at Shelbourne Park.
Owned and trained by Larry Dunne, he looked drawn to lead all the way from the inside box but missed the kick and trailed the strong-running Jaytee Dutch into the first turn.
However, the leader moved off at the bend, allowing the 6-4 favourite to slip around along the inside and into a two-length lead turning down the back.
The early leader threatened to get back on terms as they raced the final bends and into the straight, but Slippery Fred stayed on strongly to win by a length, in 28.62, with Fair Taxes in third, having shown terrific middle pace.
The runner-up’s litter brother, Jaytee Jet, began his year in the best possible fashion, posting a brilliant 29.61 on his first start since winning the Derby Consolation in September.
Paul Hennessy’s dog had the pace to slip up the inside of Rural Maui going to the bend, and led outsider Time To Share narrowly as they raced down the back.
Challenged hard all the way by the last-named, he stayed strongly to win by a length and a half, giving fair warning he will be a major player in all the big 550 competitions this year.
The Tom O’Neill-trained, Ashville Syndicate-owned Ballyhooly Henry also made an impressive return to action when taking the finale in fine style.
The 4-1 chance overcame a tricky-looking draw by leading into the turn and, strong over the trip, readily accounted for Slippery Snowy and rivals, by two and a half lengths and more, in 31.17.
Lenson Panda put it all together with a stunning display in an open 525. The Pat Buckley-trained dog came out under the bars, courtesy of a sizzling 1.88 sectional, and that put him clear into the turn.
Powering ahead all the way to the line, he beat Rural Hawaii by seven and a half lengths, in 28.13.
In round two of the GMHD.ie Juvenile Classic on Friday night at Tralee, Lenson Rocky, also trained by Buckley, once again set the standard, this time with a 28.26 victory.
Drawn widest of all in the opening heat, he had the pace to clear the field as the bend approaching, pulled clear down the back, and score by three and a half lengths, in 28.26.
Tammen Twister proved too strong for his rivals in the second heat.
Martina McCann’s April pup led down the centre, was joined racing to the third turn, but asserted late to beat Mobile Tracker by three lengths, in 28.57.
Only four went to traps for heat three, and the Paul Hennessy-trained Double Oh Seven used the opportunity to make up for last week’s unlucky defeat.
Half a length behind 28.13 winner Sidarian Eska (an absentee here) on that occasion, he made no mistake here as he rode and early bump and came from six lengths behind to collar the well-backed Silverhill Pat with a length to spare, in 28.35.
The Graham Holland-trained Nice Manner followed up his first-round victory with a clear-cut success in the final heat.
In front early, and some eight lengths clear racing the final bends, he beat Coolavanny Brian in 28.35.
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