Close to 1,500 spectators saw Tipperary owner/trainer Phillip Buckley claim the Barking Buzz App Irish St Leger with Blastoff Jet at Limerick Greyhound Stadium last night.
Jet – who left the traps a 5/1 chance – took home the €25,000 prize, finishing two lengths ahead of Lenson Blinder in 2ndand Nice Charmer in 3rd. The dog, who finsihed 5th in round one, was initially priced up as a 125/1 longshot to win it all.
Clonbrien Prince, Crohane Ronnie and Urban Jet made up the placings respectively.
It was an unlikely win for Buckley and Jet, with the Tipperary handler admitting he had reconsidered entering the dog in the Leger in the first place.
He commented after the race: “I can’t believe it, it’s what dreams are made of. I’d been going to the Markets Field for years watching the Leger winner so to even have a runner in a final was massive. To come out and win one is just unbelievable. He does everything right, he’s a brilliant dog in the kennel. I thought rather than tearing up and down the road to Dublin and Shelbourne Park, I’d give him a chance against these dogs, so I’m just delighted.”
He added: “They’re the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night. There’s no day off, it’s a Sunday to Sunday job. You don’t dream this will ever happen, competing against the top trainers and winning. I wasn’t until today that I realised where I was when I was getting texts wishing me luck in the final! If you’ve got the dog, you can face anybody. He’s extremely genuine, very consistent and he’s an absolute dream in the kennel. He’s a big star.”
CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board, Gerard Dollard, commented: “The Leger final was the culmination of a thrilling five weeks of racing at Limerick Greyhound Stadium, which has produced some high quality action and attracted good crowds. Many of these availed of the stadium’s top class food and hospitality packages and Tote facilities.”
He added: “The Leger is very much a Classic in every sense and this year was no different. We’re proud to continue a long held tradition here at Limerick Greyhound Stadium, with the first Leger being ran here back in 1944 at the Markets Field. We’re looking forward to next year’s spectacle already. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Phillip Buckley and all of Blastoff Jet’s connections on a fully deserved victory, as well as the connections of all other finalists on the night.”
Deputy Mayor of Limerick City and County, Jerry O Dea, was among a notable guests at the event along with Senators Maria Byrne and Kieran O Donnell.
Limerick’s next Classic event, the Con and Annie Kirby Memorial Stake, will begin in March 2019. Next year’s Barking Buzz App Irish St Leger will begin on the 2nd of November 2019, with the final being held on the 23rd of November.