Saturday, 15 April 2017

Bring On 2018!

Well we know at this stage what we are going to get when settling down for a month long battle between the best youngsters that greyhound racing can assemble in search of a Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake title.

The 2017 renewal has been as strong in depth as any of the previous four events and we can now look forward to the inevitable extensive exploits of this year's top performers as they carve a future for themselves amongst the all-age stars of the sport. Be assured that you saw future classic winners in this year's Kirby, just as we have in all previous renewals and you are likely to use some of the runners you saw here at stud in the future.

Buckley & Bocko! Trainer Pat Buckley with Kirby champ Bentekes Bocko

For the younger contenders, many will go on to the Produce Stakes which begins shortly at Clonmel and we are likely to see the Kirby influence throughout that classic while some will head straight to Towcester for trials ahead of the English Derby where last year's Kirby hero Droopys Roddick went so close to victory.

There have however been conflicting messages from trainer Pat Buckley as to our brilliant winner's plans following his sparkling unbeaten Kirby campaign. Bentekes Bocko should be hailed as a true young superstar after repelling Native Chimes in the final and the slick early pacer hardly saw another dog over the five weeks at Limerick. Winning a Kirby title leaves him with nothing more to prove in his career but that career could have so much more success to come for he is a rare type of runner that has exceptional pace all over the circuit.

Answering yours truly in the immediate aftermath of victory, Pat Buckley exclaimed without hesitation that the English Derby was next for Bocko. My own report for the Sporting Press read as such but in a later interview he seemed to dismiss the Towcester event as being too stiff a test of his stamina reserves at 500 metres. Now I would contest that for the reason the sectionals page was a feature of this Kirby website was to analyse where the main contenders were strong or weak.......and Bocko was weak nowhere!

Owner Beverley Lockhead
He finishes as strong as you could hope to wish for in an early pacer and his semi-final defeat of two strong runners clearly backs this up.. One length and a half a length in advance of Drive On Tipp and Coolavanny Pet at the line, he was still in front at the second finish line (575 yards)........he sticks it out!

Any competition up to 550 yards will certainly not stretch Bocko too far and he is a concrete Kirby champion. That said, the unnecessary lonnnnnnnng run to the pickup that they seem to insist on in the UK may well be a factor in the decision to run there or not and I could certainly understand that if it was the case. But be assured, if you're out there with a strong runner who you think can nail this fellow on the run home, you better have him/her close off the second bend because Bocko won't be stopping for you. He is a stunning Kirby champion.

We could almost feel sorry for Native Chimes having now finished runner-up in both of Limerick's feature events but we must too throw masses of admiring adulation at the Johnny O'Sullivan powerhouse and we will never know now but maybe he could have claimed victory if not having the door shut on him by Bocko at the third bend. Those who think he definitely would have won should review our sectional page and realise that it was not a given but that said, he ran a brilliant final when clearly trained to the minute. His will be a wonderful career to follow over the coming seasons.

This year's event was of course hugely complimented by a brilliant female contingent who added greatly in search of the €5000 bonus prize which ended up with our third place finisher, the wonderful Coolavanny Pet. She looks destined to be among the favourites for this year's Oaks and such is her strength over the 525 yards that she could too be another in a line of bitches who have impressed against the boys in classics over recent seasons.

We look forward to following the careers of all our finalists including the brilliant early pacer Rathnasnare Champ who could be a real hit on the sprinting scene if developing some consistency at traps. The youngest of our finalists Borsalino appeared to be tiring after the long campaign but he retains huge scope to improve over the coming months while Drive On Tipp showed that he fully justified the lofty reputation that he arrived with. Personally I don't think he is a true inside seed the way he runs off the bend when led. Yes he can rail but even looking back at videos from elsewhere, he almost invariably runs off the bend when led. He would be on my short-list for all upcoming classics if dropping this habit or if seeded middle for his is a true powerhouse who will relish the 550 yard demands of an Irish Derby, Leger or Towcester Derby.

This site will stay online for good and ever as a reference point for future form and it should be used because it's a certainty by now that those who ran in this event will be a big part of our form studies going forward.

Thanks to everyone who visited the site, it had way more hits than anticipated which makes all the time and effort worthwhile. Bring on 2018!!

Oh Yeah, did ye notice that the final prediction was so prophetic???

     Sorry.......had to gloat!

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