Buckley aims 'old cripple' Silva at Champion
The smile on Pat Buckley's face at Dundalk on Sunday night told its own tale after Paradise Silva had captured the €20,000 Marshes International by a fading neck from kennel companion Paradise Maverik
Yes, a wonderful one-two for the Cappawhite-based trainer, with the victory achieved by a dog which Buckley affectionately dubbed an "old cripple" as he stood on the presentation podium.
"This poor old dog has had so many injuries. He is only fit for these one and two-run competitions nowadays but what a servant he has been for Mike (Davis) and Pat (McElligott)," he said.
"I am patching him up on a regular basis and we will try and put him together again now for the Champion Stakes at Shelbourne this weekend."
Because of his unfavourable trap five draw, Paradise Silva had been quoted at double figures in the build-up to the race but he was only returned at 4/1 on track. He picked the only way to overcome the awkward draw by flashing from trap five and he led Paradise Maverik and Ballymac Matt to the bend.
Swift Keith and Cable Bay were both baulked as Making Paper moved wide on the corner and we had a three-dog race. Silva had moved into a five-length lead entering the third bend.
At this point, though, Silva appeared to lose his back feet and suddenly the gap was down to a length as they turned for home.
Maverik checked inside and Paradise Silva held him off by a neck in 29.73, with Ballymac Matt four-and-a-half-lengths third. Cable Bay was a little unlucky as he came flying up the straight and was just three parts of a length back in fourth after his first-bend trouble.
Paradise Silva will now go for the Champion Stakes at Shelbourne next weekend.
Buckley reported him in great form yesterday but said: "Touch wood, he appears fine today and will go for the two-run Champion.
"I am also planning on running Beaming Bucko and Dolcino Flyer in that event. Dolcino was injured but he trialled well at Limerick on Saturday and is in good form."
Shelbourne racing manager Declan Carey says the Champion Stakes will be closing tomorrow morning at 11.0 and, in addition to the Buckley trio, other names in the book include Midtown Raffa, Laughil Duke, Faypoint Rush, Offshore Bound, Gaytime Hawk, Riverside Pat, Sidarian Vega, Urban Gossip, Creamery Bale and Fair Taxes.
Quite a number of top names do not figure among those entries yet.
The 18-dog event should be well oversubscribed by tomorrow but it is not planned to run a Plate competition, which has been a popular supporting event in recent years. It always catered for the dogs that didn't make the main draw.