Favourites on top but Droopys Nidge has close call
The favourites fared extremely well in the second-round heats of the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger at Limerick on Saturday but the hottest favourite Droopys Nidge gave his supporters many anxious moments before edging a thrilling battle with Burgess Oscar in Heat five.
Robert Gleeson's tracker appeared to charge the traps and didn't break too well. But he moved up strongly to be a close second behind Burgess Oscar at the first bend and the pair had a neck-and-neck battle for the remainder of the journey.
In the end Droopys Nidge just edged it by half a length in 29.62.
Fastest of the round was the Pat Buckley-trained Paradise Silva in the concluding heat. He took over on the first bend and raced right away to win by ten lengths from Cloon Glory in 29.52.
It completed a remarkable feat for Buckley on the night as he also had the fastest heat winners in the first round of the Gain Select Stakes at Waterford and the English Puppy Derby at Wimbledon.
Another smart heat winner was the Gerry Holian-trained Emers Superstar, which was always in command of Heat six and ran out a seven-length winner from Castleivy Crash in 29.58.
Others to impress were the Graham Holland-trained General Wolf, which flew past Macho El in the back straight and he opened a 12-length gap over Elevenerife in 29.74, and earlier the James Roche-trained Ballyana Foxtrot, which built up a big lead before winning by a length and a half from Big Bang in 29.75.
The other winners were Vulturi, with a last-gasp victory over Metro Jack in 29.84, Lemon Pumba in 30.16 and Dromore Premier's narrow win over Borna Central in 29.97.
English Derby favourite Mind The Net appeared to have it all to do when slowly away in the first heat of the Gain Select Stakes at Waterford but he overhauled Lemon Miley around the bottom bends and won by three lengths in a fastest-of-the-round 28.37.
Dan Frayne's Southest Suzie came from behind Newlawn Impact in the second heat to win by two and a half lengths in 28.59, and Peter Cronin's Tynwald Bish left his rivals standing early on his way to a four-length margin over Copper Lodge in 28.49.
Ronnie McKeown's Atitboy was fastest in the semi-finals of the Gold Cup at Drumbo Park on Saturday. He went clear from the opening bend for a four-length victory over Nalps Crash in 28.34.
Michael Taggart's Divis View rallied to win Heat 2 by five and a half lengths from Taepot Hill in 28.50.
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