LOCAL Blarney trainer Johnny Linehan enjoyed a magical night at Curraheen Park on Saturday as Runninta Seeya landed the final of the €30,000 Friends and Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing Irish Greyhound Laurels.
Despite no crowds due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the race itself will be remembered as one of the all-time great finals.
We expected a close-run race, and that was certainly the case with only four lengths separating the six finalists.
Owned by the Runninta-Seeya-Syndicate, the son of Laughil Blake-Droopys Harbour produced a quick start to lead from traps. Leading into the opening corner, Witches Ethiopia and Blastoff Fire were also in contention.
As expected, the early leader took a step to the right at the opening corner, but he was still firmly in control heading down the back straight.
Brodys Magic totally missed the kick, but he was showing massive gears going down the back straight, and the race took a dramatic change when he took up the running between the final corners.
Many would have thought that was the end of Runninta Seeya's chances, but after doing so much running to get to the front, Brodys Magic ran out of gas, and that opened the door for Runninta Seeya once again.
Steering a wide course off the final bend, Johnny Linehan's runner kept on well and just did enough to hold on from the fast-finishing Blastoff Fire, who ran another cracker in second, just a short head between the front two, in 28.38. Only a neck back in third to Brodys Magic.
It was a dream result for local trainer Johnny Linehan. Of course, he won the Oaks back in 2011 with Droopys Twirl, but this was another unforgettable night on home turf at his local Cork track. After years of trying, Linehan has finally won the big one!
Speaking after the success, a delighted Johnny Linehan said: "It's unbelievable. It looked very close, and you can't see much from the middle of the field. It's an emotional night, and we are thinking of our dear friend Bart who is longer with us."