Sizzling Rocket silences critics
The doubters were certainly silenced at Towcester last night as Clares Rocket gave a sizzling performance, smashing the track record to smithereens in winning Heat 6 of the opening round of the Star Sports English Derby.
Graham Holland's dog broke moderately but swept to the front into the first bend and quickly went clear as he won by a wide margin from kennel companion Slippery Louise in 28.77, a time which took 22 spots off the previous record set in the opening heat by Murrys Act.
Earlier Holland supplied the first Irish winner of this year's classic when Garryvoe Bobby grabbed a quick lead and gamely resisted the challenge of Savana Donie before winning by two lengths in 29.19. Droopys Awesome was badly baulked on the opening bend and crashed out.
PJ Fahy's Tyrur Shay was a costly loser in Heat 5 but he ran an amazing race in finishing second. He walked out, was baulked at the bend but finished like a train to be beaten just a length by Shaneboy in 29.02.
There will be another dozen Irish runners in the second session of English Derby heats and the big named runners tonight are the Pat Buckley duo of Bentekes Bocko and Coolavanny Mason.
Bentekes Bocko (7.47) was unbeaten in his five runs through the Kirby Memorial at Limerick and his early pace was the feature of the event.
He is a confident choice to win from Maireads Spring.
Scottish Derby runner-up Coolavanny Mason (8.41) will be well suited by a trap two draw in Heat 19, where the strangely named Fweshfromthesesh is a major threat.
Holland has the fancied Drive On Tipp (8.55) in Heat 15, where his kennel companion Ballinakil Clare and Liam Dowling's Ballymac Sarahjo are the dangers, along with Black Zack.
Peter Cronin has high hopes for Sab Miller (9.08) and fellow raiders Jaytee Denver and Impressive Guy are big rivals.
Cronin also has prospects with the bitch Frankies Lady (8.57) while the other Irish runners are Jaytee President (7.31) and Theres The Bell (10.14).