Quinn's Graduation rules roost
NIALL QUINN, who graced many a winner's podium during his illustrious sporting career, was as proud as punch as he celebrated the victory of Graduation Day in the final of the €5,500 ECC Timber Open 550 at Shelbourne on Saturday.
Quinn bought the dog from Pat Dalton and put him into training with John McGee during the Cox Cup at Newbridge.
He runs in the name of Quinn's children, Aisling and Mike, and they accepted the trophy from sponsor PJ Fahy.
The Derby is now a very realistic target for this son of Kiowa Sweet Trey.
The tale of his victory is easily told. He flew out of the inside box while the favourite Paradise Silva was slowly into stride. Paradise was second by the bend but when he trailed Graduation Day by three lengths at halfway the outcome was inevitable.
Graduation Day galloped on relentlessly to win by four lengths from Paradise Silva in 29.61. This was the first leg of a big double for trainer McGee, who immediately followed up with Jaxx On Fantasy in the ETS Derby Trial Stake.
Owned by Hungarian enthusiast Mihaly Ganyecz, Jaxx On Fantasy flashed from the four box and led all the way to win by two lengths from Lodgefield Turbo in 29.70.
This race featured the return to racing of track record holder Paradise Madison and he never really got in a blow after checking wide on the opening corner and then running into traffic on the third bend.
Trainer Ollie Bray will have the dog checked over before confirming his entry for the Townview Food Champion Stakes, which commences next Saturday.
Definitely bound for the Champion Stakes is last year's Irish Derby hero Skywalker Puma after he moved very satisfactorily in a pre-racing trial. Despite almost pitching on his nose from traps, Puma really picked up the tempo and covered the 525 yards in 28.32.
Matt O'Donnell confirmed yesterday that Puma came out of the trial in good order and will now bid to win the Champion prior to his Derby double bid.
Other trials saw Tyrur Sugar Ray clock 28.58, while Jaytee Hellcat went around in 28.74 and Melodys Diamond did a 29.74 run for the 550 trip.
A Priceless win
A great crowd turned out at Dundalk on Friday for the Boylesports International meeting and the €20,000 prize was won by the Paul Hennessy-trained Priceless Sky, which led from the second bend and won by five lengths from Farloe Trent in 30.16.
From the International it is now straight in to the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk and entries have been slow coming in for the Classic, which has a winner's purse of €20,000. As a result, entries will be taken up to noon today.