Peter Farrell

The two semi finals of the Centenary Agri Tipperary Cup took centre stage at Thurles Park last night and there was to be upsets in both semi finals as both Laughil Josh and Riverside Leo had to settle for the minor placings.

The fastest of semis came in the second semi final as Gettin Up delivered on his promising performances from the earlier rounds. Owned by Gary Loughnane, Gettin Up was ultra impressive in defeat last week as he made eye catching ground to claim second on that particular night. However, the talented son of ‘Skywalker Puma - Skywalker Queen’ wasn’t to be denied last night as he produced another off the pace masterclass to land the spoils. Slowly into stride wearing the black jacket, Gettin Up lay in fourth place early on with Riverside Leo, as expected, making the early running from trap two. Never too far off the pace, Gettin Up was making steady progress throughout and he was in familiar territory approaching the final fifty yards of the contest. Breezing past both Aghaburren Major and a fading Riverside Leo in the latter stages of the contest, Loughnane’s brindle ran out a half length victor in a very fast time of 28.45. This greyhound is getting stronger with every outing and this bodes well for the feature in six days time where he will be a leading contender.


Prior to that, the opening semi final produced a real shock as Paraic Campion’s Boyhero led from trap to line to deny last week’s fastest performer, Laughil Josh.

Approaching traps, Boyhero (Skywalker Puma - Boozed Jordan) was contesting his 64th career start and was bidding for what would be his 22nd win as he donned the favourable red jacket for Paraic Campion. However, on his outside in white was Laughil Josh and many expectedthe talented tracker to take all the beating if his 28.29 quarter final performance was anything to go by. As the hare approached though, it was the Thurles specialist, Boyhero who flashed out in front and he proceeded to stick to rails and head the field into the opening corner. Laughil Josh didn't come away in his usual fashion but maneuvered himself well to follow the leader into the back straight and it was always going to be a tight affair thereafter. A veteran April 16’ whelp, Boyhero continued to set a strong gallop out in front and despite coming under serious pressure late on from Laughil Josh, Paraic Campion’s versatile brindle held on to claim a head victory and sail into next week’s decider. Ballyhimikinbolt was a further length back in third as the clock read a fine 28.74.


Elsewhere on the card there were several sweepstakes getting underway and Excess Power made light work of his ‘Centenary Agri A1/A2 525’ semi final.

Owned by John Kirwan, Excess Power normally plies his trade at Limerick but has obviously taken to Thurles like a duck to water as he ran out a convincing five length winner. Well away from trap one, the son of ‘Kinloch Brae - Rushmoor Olive’ produced a strong running display from halfway to power up the straight and claim the extended victory. The time was a slick 28.68 and he will be hard to oppose in next week’s decider.


There were four opening round heats of the ‘Centenary Feed and Grain A2 570’ and the fastest of these went to the Ruby Hannon owned Piercestown Eske.

Trained by Mark O’Donovan, Piercestown Eske made a bright start to his racing career at Enniscorthy prior to landing a six bend contest down at Tralee and last night, he recorded another win over a third different distance. Moderately into stride from trap six, ‘Eske’ followed up on his last outing at Thurles with another strong off the pace performance. Taking full control off the penultimate turn, the son of ‘Ballymac Eske - Airdown Rena’ really stepped it up a gear late on to run out an extending five length win. The time was a very fast 30.92.


In the opening race of the night, Kiwi Kaye produced a trap to line display in the ‘Centenary Home And Garden A4 525’ semi final for owner Diarmuid Quinlan.

Only a September 18’ whelp, Kiwi Kaye was without a win prior to last night but the blue duly popped out in front from trap three to lead into the opening corner. Once in front, the daughter of ‘Droopys Jet - Princess Aine’ stuck to her guns well and despite Autumn Sky making a good fist of it in second, the winner was in front and Kiwi Kaye ran out a length and a half winner over ‘Autumn’ in second. The clock returned a fine 28.89.