Duke exits as Sonic and Rocky head Derby betting
The shocks continued in the BoyleSports Irish Derby when the third round was staged at Shelbourne Park on Saturday and the new favourite Laughil Duke made his exit from the classic after a troublesome passage in Heat 6.
He missed the break and then had a second bend bump with Farloe Rumble from which he never recovered and he finished fourth. Victory here went to Rural Hawaii which was one of four heat winners for Graham Holland. He actually has seven through to the quarter-finals next weekend.
Rural Hawaii swept to the front on the first bend from Doctor Zhivago but then had to dig deep close home to hold Doctor Zhivago's rally by a neck in 29.97. Farloe Rumble finished third ahead of Laughil.
The two new favourites for the premier classic are Holland's Sonic and Pat Buckley's Lenson Rocky and they are 5/1 joint favourites with the sponsors BoyleSports.
Sonic was particularly impressive as he broke fast and went clear around the bend in the concluding heat. He eventually won by three-and-a-half lengths from Combo Sidney in 29.36 with Droopys Tee in third.
Lenson Rocky also was up front all the way in Heat 7 where he came home in 29.45. He led Highview Event by a couple of lengths into the back but had to battle hard to beat that rival by a length-and-a-half in 29.45 with Skywalker Rory in third.
Bitches did well on the night as they won three of the heats and five in total qualified. Holland's other two heat winners were also bitches with Slippery Louise leading all the way for a six-length margin over Gyp Rossetti, while Sidarian Pearl beat fellow female Holycross Leah by a length-and-a-half in 29.58.
Reigning champion Ballymac Matt had another fright before qualifying in second, beaten a length by Escapism in 29.76. He challenged the leading Ballymac Belle along with Escapism but only had a short head and a neck in hand of Jo Jo Fantasy and Ballymac Belle.
The other two heat winners were Roxholme Barkley in 29.83, and Urban Gossip in 29.64.