21 AUGUST 2013
RAZLDAZL Rioga ended its racing career on a high note when storming to a thrilling victory in Sunday night’s final of the Bar-One Racing Irish Sprint Cup.
As owner Micheal O Muircheartaigh held aloft the cup in the same manner as so many of the All-Ireland-winning captains of his native County Kerry, it was revealed the Dolores Ruth-trained speedster was to be retired to stud.
Razldazl Rioga, a June 2009 son of Brett Lee and Razldazl Pearl, clocked up his 23rd success from fifty-one outings in the Dundalk showpiece worth €20,000 to the winner.
It was a second Classic for the dog after the 2011 Irish Laurels in Cork. He returned to Curraheen Park last year to defend his crown, finding only Knockglass Billy – also a winner on Sunday’s programme – too good.
A dramatic final unfolded before a big crowd. The Graham Holland-trained duo, odds-on favourite Leeview Dave and second market choice, the Sprint Cup holder, Cambushmore, completely fluffed the start.
Martin Lanney’s Cloughtaney Gift was quickest into stride and blasted towards the first bend from Steely Passion and Farloe Calvin, with Razldazl Rioga only fourth on the outside.
Farloe Calvin closed to less than a length behind the pace-setter between the turns only to stumble independently and collide with the toiling Cambushmore.
Cloughtaney Gift led into the long home straight and seemed set to give Lanney a second Sprint Cup. However, Razldazl had moved on to its favoured inside pitch and quickly cut into the gap before joining the leader right on the line.
A photo finish was called, and, after a tense wait, the verdict given to Razldazl Rioga by a short head in 21.27. The winner was returned 13/2, most punters believing his trap six draw in a field of inside runners would prove insurmountable.
A little over two lengths adrift in third place was the gallant Steely Passion for the Kerr family from Castleblayney. Leeview Dave lost his unbeaten competition record in fourth, ahead of Farloe Calvin and Cambushmore.
The Consolation Final went the way of Junctionthirteen, trained by Jimmy Melia for Co Kildare’s Una O’Sullivan.
Bulmers Baby was very fast away before the eventual winner paced up well along the inside to take control at the bend. Junctionthirteen (7/2) broke the ray in 21.37, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Tasmanic Jaxx.