Paradise found as Madison hits top form
The big news from Shelbourne Park on Saturday was that Paradise Madison is back in pursuit of the top prizes after his brilliant victory in the final heat of the Open 575 first round.
The bad news was the sight of star tracker Airlie Dazzler being carried from the track with a suspected broken hock.
Let's go with the positive first and the return to action of Paradise Madison in the concluding contest.
Owner Dave Buckley had expressed his fears over the dog's fitness after 'Paradise' missed the planned preliminary race the previous week, but he needn't have worried as the dog quickly put matters straight.
Paradise broke fast from the four box and immediately made for the inside where he first bumped with Hawaii Kinsale.
Getting past that rival, he then continued to move inwards, but couldn't get past Vimmerby on the bend.
Vimmerby led by two lengths heading down the back and one worried whether Paradise would be fit enough to come from behind.
He gave a very positive reply as he powered to the front on the third bend and won going away by four lengths in a very useful 31.09, easily the fastest time of the heats.
Furthermore, Buckley yesterday morning confirmed that Paradise Madison had come out of the race very well.
"He seems sound enough and he is out in the yard with a bone at the moment. I'll have him checked as usual during the week, but he seems to be fine".
Vimmerby and Whaoo Wheoo qualified behind him for the semis.
In the previous heat, the Larry Mason-trained Airlie Dazzler also appeared to be on his way to a huge run when he flew out of the five box and led by four lengths down the far side from Starshineeclipse.
Still clear and staying strongly, Airlie Dazzler then checked badly, obviously injured, between the final bends and he hobbled home at the rear of the field as the Graham Holland-trained Sidarian Lisa came with a flying run to beat Abbeyville Tipp by two-and-a-half lengths in 31.37, with Stateside Troika a neck third.
Mason confirmed yesterday that the dog appears to have a broken hock. "The leg was strapped up by the vet after the race and he is on pain-killers. He will be X-rayed on Tuesday, but I have little doubt the hock is broken. The leg is not hanging off or anything like that, but we will have to wait for the x-ray to learn the extent of the damage".
The opening heat was a very exciting affair with Paul Hennessy's Ringtown Snowy arriving late to pip Ballycowen Hero by half a length in 31.57, while in the second, Jim Brosnan's Shopping Basket was strongly supported at decent prices and led all the way for a two-and-a-half length verdict over Dundrum Lemon in 31.28.