BY TIM KELLEHER
LUKE Kelleher took the driving honours on Saturday at a sun-kissed Dunmanway when steering two winners for Leap-based trainer John Shanahan.
Resolute Diamond set the ball rolling for Kelleher in the Grade F Conditional Pace, winning by four lengths from Share A Smile in second with IB Felicity in third.
American Rebel completed the brace for Macroom-based Kelleher in the Grade D C & A Pace, and this could be a candidate for ‘Drive of the Year’ as the winner came out on top in a thriller. Pan Cam Income, Teddy Camden, Brywins Starship and King Will’s Arrival were all in the hunt but American Rebel, on the inside, squeezed through to get up on the line to win by three quarters of a length from Pan Cam Income in second and Teddy Camden next.
‘Both American Rebel and Resolute Diamond are owned by my brother Denis, a building contractor in London,’ winning trainer John Shanahan said.
‘My horses are just coming into form at the right time of the season and with the big festival meetings coming up we have plenty to look forward to. Hopefully, with travel restrictions lifting from the UK, Denis will be able to get over for The Red John Memorial meeting, and maybe we can win the Red John Memorial Pace again.’
In the opening Grade E Pace, IB Notorious won by two lengths and winning driver Donal Murphy was ‘very, very pleased’ with the five-year-old home-bred son of Hasty Hall. On paper the Grade G & G1 Pace looked a competitive affair, but Last Pan Standing was too good for Darkhill John J, who had to be content with second again for the third week in a row.
The two Le Trot races also went the way of visiting horses. Athlete Royal made the journey from Meath and gave Patrick Kane his first Cork winner of the season. This cements Kane’s position as leading driver in the Irish Field National Drivers Championship. The Quills from Kenmare in Kerry rarely leave the Rebel County without a winner and it was Vallanzana who took the red rosette, fending off Dedicace De Rhuys and Beach De Bellouet in a blanket finish in the Top Grade Trot. Also, Brywins Magician and Drimoleague teenager Cian O’Reilly returned to winning ways in the Grade F & E Pace.
Grade E Pace: 1. IB Notorious, D Murphy; 2. Rhyds Panache, C O’Reilly; 3. On Top Big C, N Forbes.
Grade G & G1 Pace: 1. Last Pan Standing, J Manning Jnr; 2. Darkhill John, J M O’Reilly; 3. Right of Redemption, P McInerney.
Grade F & E Trot: 1. Athlete Royal, P Kane Jnr; 2. Destin De Larre, F Quill Jnr; 3. Banderillo Piya, D Murphy.
Grade F Conditional Pace: 1. Resolute Diamond, L Kelleher; 2. Share A Smile, T Moloney; 3. IB Felicity, J Boyle.
Grade D C & A Pace: 1. American Rebel, L Kelleher; 2. Pan Cam Income, W McInerney; 3. Teddy Camden, D McCarthy.
Grade F & E Pace: 1. Brywins Magician, C O’Reilly; 2. Hail Spartacus, D Murphy; 3. Earnies Umpire, J Hurley.
Grade D C & A Trot: 1. Vallanzana, S Quill; 2. Dedicace Du Rhys, J Hurley; 3. Beach De Bellouet, L Kelleher.