THE GAIN Select first round was the feature on Saturday night at a packed Waterford track, and there was a superb local win in heat two when the very consistent 'Toker Turbo', owned by Philip Lynch and Michael Cullen (New Ross), showed his liking for the trap one draw.
He took the lead and, although he was challenged strongly down the back, 'Toker' as he has shown before is difficult to pass when in front. It proved so again as he stayed on well to hold 'Terminal Two' and score his eighth win in a fast 28.72. 'Toker' has also been second ten times and third twice from 22 starts, and this son of 'Droopys Scolari-Ciaras Castle' is a credit to his owners.
The draw for the semi-finals this Saturday night has not been that kind to him, trap five, so he will need a flying start as the Delores Ruth-trained duo, 'Cuil Cougar' (derby runner-up) and 'Razldazel Rioga' (Laurels runner-up), come into the semis.
There was a nice winner in the last race on Friday night for trainer Nick Turner (Barntown) when his 'Miss Camelot' ('Royal Impact-Coco Nikita') followed up her win of the previous week when again coming from behind to score her second career victory.
Breaking slowly, she made up good ground down the back straight and stayed on well to hold off the other fast-finishing 'Gotoon Madge' in a time of 29.33.
There was more success at Newbridge track for the Ferns team of Brendan Murphy and Carol O'Connor, recording a nice double. 'Rockmount Eagle' ('Wesmead Hawk-Rockmount Flo Jo') scored a good win on Friday night when taking the A1 race in a good 29.12, his 14th victory of his career.
He did it the hard way from behind as, after taking up the running at the third bend, he dug deep on the run to the line to score by half a length. This is such a consistent sort, that he must be a favourite with the Newbridge punters.
'Rockmount Twirl' ('Westmead Hawk-rRckmount Hetti') completed the double when he also came from off the pace, this time from stone last off the first bend.
He made good headway down the back and in a close finish he got up in the final strides to score his third win from four starts in a career-best 29.14, and there looks like more improvement to come.
The Ciarán Breen (Enniscorthy) owned 'Thirsty Murt' is another great money-spinner for his owner as he scored his 15th victory when taking the sixth race, an S 2/3 sprint, in a time of 17.78. 'Thirsty' is an August '08 son of 'Headbound-Fast Maria', and he powered to the front at the first bend from his trap six draw to score easily. 'Thirsty' is trained by Seamus O'Brien.
There was a good winner for trainer David Morris at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night when 'Ushers Jim' ('Headbound-Belesker Kate'), only beaten a short head on his last visit, made no mistake this time as he powered to the front at the third bend to go away and score well in a good 28.77.
That was his eleventh win from 30 starts and there could well be more wins to come as he is in great form of late, and owners the Four Sevens Syndicate (Enniscorthy) are having good sport with this fellow.
The Jay Ryan-owned 'Hawki Gold Bars' had to settle for the runner-up spot in the Unraced N2 final at Kilkenny track on Wednesday night last. After a slow break he made good headway but was two lengths off 'Pookies Rosie' in 29.80.
Staying may well be his forte in the future as the breed is well known for their staying powers.
There was disappointment as the Walthamstow decision was a negative one and, although the greyhound supporters have vowed to fight on, it looks a lost cause now.