AMAZING the way Kerry breeding keeps coming to the fore in the Ladbrokes Irish Derby.
It was very disappointing to see the two big Kerry owned hopes, Ballymac Vic and Confident Rankin, go out at the quarter-final stage, but last week we highlighted the fact that the dam of the favourite after that, Tyrur Sugrar Ray, was bred in Gneeveguilla by Denis Keane and now, following the semi- finals last weekend, we are able to say that the favourite for this Saturday night's final, Skywalker Puma, was bred in Ballydonoghue by that great doggy man, Paddy Purtill ( above).
The dam in this instance was Dianas Ranger, which was also the mother of the great Killahan Phanter, and, as this writer understands it, Paddy Purtill is in line for a nice breeder's prize of €12,000 (representing 10 pc of €120,000) should Skywalker Puma win from a trap 2 draw.
In the first semi-final last Friday night, Skywalker Puma gave a wonderful exhibition of tracking to win in 29.45, while Cuil Cougar clocked 29.75 in winning the second semi-final from none other than Tyrur Sugar Ray. Those form lines make a powerful case for Skywalker Puma and it would be marvellous for Paddy Purtill, for Ballydonoghue, and, indeed, for Kerry as a whole, should he manage to pull it off.
Dianas Ranger was a quite brilliant bitch herself and was most unlucky that her career ended in the 2004 Leger at Limerick when she broke a hock when well clear of the field. Now ten years old, she has three 13-month-old pups by Droopys Kewell ready to hit the circuit soon and there isn't a doggy man in the world who wouldn't mind having one of those.
The very best of luck to Paddy in Saturday night's final and, of course, we'll all be watching Tyrur Sugar Ray with much interest as well.