Dark Devil posted a superb 28.91 to set the standard in the opening round of the Jag Building Services & KGOBA A1/A2 Derby at Kilkenny on Friday evening but the headlines went to his handler, Murt Leahy, as he sent out an incredible four of the seven, heat winners.
All seven heats produced good winners, but Jim Langton’s Dark Devil was the standout performer as he came home clear. The son of Ballymac Vic was too sharp for his rivals in the early yards, quickening into a clear advantage by the turn and he proceeded to pull right away for a facile seven-length success over Ring My Bell.
Ballybough Daly was the second leg of the Murt Leahy treble, coming home in front in Heat 3. Pat Carroll’s son of Ballymac Vic was always to the fore and he dug in deep to contain the late charge of Its All Over by a neck in 29.34.
Another Dream was the third winner for Leahy as he asserted before the second bend before pulling right away for a facile victory in Heat 5.
Pat Scully’s son of Ballymac Eske eventually hit the line with five and a half lengths to spare over Shady Murt in 29.25.
The final leg of Murt Leahy’s incredible four-timer came in the final heat as Lemon Nicky displayed a superb turn of early speed to dominate from before the bend. The young son of Droopys Sydney and Lemon Lucy was in a league of his own as he opened a four-length lead down the back before staying on secure a two and a half-length victory in 29.39.
After Dark Devil, Hello Hammond was the only other greyhound to break the 29-second barrier.
Predictably, Vanderbilt set the pace into the turn but he was always under pressure when the powerful Hello Hammond slipped around in second. Sowing tremendous pace into the third turn, Hello Hammond quickly moved past the early pacesetter before going on to score by five and a half lengths in 28.98.
Geoff Bateman sent out Leinster Leo to win the opening heat in style. Showing a nice turn of early speed, the son of Skywalker Farloe and La Linea took charge before the bend and proceeded to make all for a four and a half-length victory over Apex Huntress in 29.10.
Ballybough Danny seemed set to give Murt Leahy another winner in Heat 4 but William Ramsbottom’s Lemon Yohan had other ideas. The Karol Ramsbottom trained Lemon Yohan was third into the back straight and didn’t seem likely to score when remaining in third into the home straight.
It wasn’t until the final fifty yards when Lemon Yohan made his move. Really flying up the outside of the track, Lemon Yohan struck the front in the final strides to take the verdict by a half-length from Ballybough Danny in 29.36.