Bray's Madison still a major force
Almost the forgotten dog of the greyhound world, Paradise Madison gave a strong reminder that he is still very much a major force when moving impressively in his return trial at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.
Out of action since sustaining a serious injury in March, Paradise Madison clocked 28.41 in his first four-bend trial in three and a half months despite breaking slowly.
Trainer Ollie Bray was pleased with the run and is now contemplating whether to give the dog another trial or to enter him for a race in advance of the Champion Stakes.
He wasn't the only dog to make a strong Irish Derby statement on the night as the usual large Shelbourne crowd was treated to a series of high-class performances.
Marginally the fastest over the Derby trip was Niall Dunne's North Bound as he steamrolled his final-race rivals by seven and a half lengths in 29.45.
His next run will be in the semi-final of the Champion Stakes.
The arrival of a new star on the scene was confirmed with another powerful run from Pat Buckley's Paradise Silva in winning the second semi-final of the ECC Timber Open 550.
A nice burst of early pace saw him head Skywalker Star on the bend and he raced home a three-length winner from Skywalker in 29.47.
In the first heat, Skywalker Mandy provided trainer Frances O'Donnell with the first leg of a four-timer as she came from behind to beat Christys Bolt in a thriller by half a length in 29.70.
The other O'Donnell winners on the night were Refuge Of Sinner in 28.65, Ardrahan Zebo in 28.51 and Skywalker Jet in 29.61.
But the most impressive winner on the early card was Peter Traynor's Lodgefield Turbo as he gave the 575-yard track record a severe shaking when powering home a seven-and-a-half-length winner from Allen Cherry in 30.95.
This fella could also be a real player come Derby time.
The recent change in the regulation governing the use of reserves in the first round of stakes with a winner's prize in excess of €4,999 has been reversed. The IGB has announced that reserves will be permitted in all such competitions.
The trap draw for Friday's Boylesports International will be made at Dundalk this morning at 10.30.
In Friday's trial session, Roxholme Bully was fastest in 28.24, while Priceless Sky went around in 28.32 and Quail Hollow 28.48.