Inside draw gives Vega the edge over Raffa
The trap draw has dictated that Sidarian Vega will start favourite for the final of the Doire Construction Champion Stakes on Saturday next after the Graham Holland-trained tracker landed the red jacket.
Sidarian actually clocked the slowest first sectional of the three semi-final winners but the inside box could see him cancel the six-spots advantage held by the Moss O'Connor-trained Midtown Raffa which posted a time of 3.39 compared with Barefoot Artist with 3.43 and Sidarian Vega with 3.45.
All three victories were gained in a comprehensive manner. While both Barefoot and Midtown were in front from the trap rise, Sidarian raced to the bend with Creamery Bale before asserting on the opening bend.
From there Sidarian was three lengths in front down the back but Paradise Maverik moved second before the third bend and his big finish only failed by a neck to collar the leader in 29.65, with Offshore Bound a staying four lengths in third.
In the first heat the Paul Hennessy trained 10/1 outsider Barefoot Artist popped smartly out of traps and led all the way to win in 29.87. He was fading in the final yards and held off Riverside Pat by a neck with Laughil Duke in third.
The Moss O'Connor-trained Midtown Raffa was the most convincing winner as he flashed out of trap three and was a few lengths in front to the bend. He never looked like being caught and won by a length and a half from Budgie Bypass in 29.65.
The draw for the final is: 1 Sidarian Vega, 2 Riverside Pat, 3 Midtown Raffa, 4 Paradise Maverik, 5 Barefoot Artist, 6 Budgie Bypass (w).
Bish is fastest
Peter Cronin had his second winner of the heats when Tynwald Bish was fastest in Saturday's session of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk.
The English Derby runner-up kept up the form which stood him in good stead at Wimbledon and won by four lengths from Drumsna Lee in 21.21, the fastest time of the entire round.
Best on Friday's opening session was the John McGee owned Slade Paddy in 21.32 and this time was equalled by a pair of the Saturday winners, Baltovin Leo and Bellmore Neymar. Puppy Derby winner Quietly was only fourth behind Baltovin.
The 29 second mark was broken in all four second round heats of the Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup at Thurles with the honour of fastest winner being claimed by the Gerry Holian-trained Curious Boy, which went around in 28.73 in beating The Other Major by a length and a half.
The other heat winners were Declan Byrne's Black Tom in 28.78, Liam Dwan's Boherna Pedro in 28.79 and Billy Murphy's Ascot Buddy in 28.97.