BY TIM KELLEHER
BLUE Top Gun was firing on all cylinders at the Ballygurteen Road Trotting Races on Sunday.
Having changed ownership and trainer since Durrus on New Year’s Day, Blue Top Gun took the top grade pace, much to the delight of his joint owners Ger Cooke and Jamie Hurley, who was also the winning jockey.
Rhyds Solution set the early pace with Blue Top Gun in company. The order remained to the first and second turns where market leader Ghengis Pride took a bad turn and lost ground. At the final turn, Rhyds Solution and Blue Top Gun were locked in battle. On the run to the finish it was all to play for but Jamie Hurley on Blue Top Gun got the upper hand and won by a length.
There was pandemonium in the winner’s circle as joint owner Ger Cooke was carried shoulder high by the partisan local supporters, who flooded in for the presentation.
‘Myself and Ger Cooke bought him after Durrus and we changed tactics by using him earlier in the race and it worked a treat,’ Jamie Hurley said.
Deirdre Goggin was the leading jockey on the day after riding a brace of winners, the first coming when Newtown Amber upset the odds in the Novice & Grade E Pace, upstaging Captain Morgan by three lengths. Goggin completed her double in the Grade C & D Pace on Saunders Picasso, who had a facile victory to make it three wins from as many starts, leading home Let’s Party by five lengths. Billycoan Colt was another to have things his own way in the Grade D Pace, winning by eight lengths. The winner is owned by Dublin-based Ned Stafford and trained locally by Chris O’Reilly.
There was drama in the Grade E Pace where Coalford Bruce fended off the challenge of joint favorite Diplomatist, who led with 200 metres to go, before the winner won by one length. Next on the calendar is the big Skibbereen Memorial
Raceday on Sunday, January 26th. Already, race-goers are eagerly awaiting the top grade pace where Saunders Picasso will join the big boys in The Tim Cooper Kelleher Memorial Top Grade Pace.
Novice/Grade E Trot: 1. Newtown Amber, D Goggin; 2. Captain Morgan, M O’Reilly; 3. Cool Direct, T Moloney; 4. Hint of Mist, C O’Driscoll.
Grade E Trot: 1. Coalford Bruce, T Moloney; 2. Diplomatist, M O’Reilly; 3. Splash the Cash, J Hurley; 4. The Red Rebel, J O’Driscoll.
Grade D Trot: 1. Billycoan Colt, M O’Reilly; 2. Garth’s Sharegar, T Moloney; 3. Lyons Super Nova, D Goggin.
Grade C Trot: 1. Saunders Picasso, D Goggin; 2. Let’s Party, A McCarthy; 3. Rhyds Dilemma, T Moloney.
Grade A/B Trot: 1. Blue Top Gun, J Hurley; 2. Rhyds Solution, T O’Leary; 3. Ghenghis Pride, C O’Driscoll; 4. Kestrel Dot Sammy, J O’Driscoll.