Greyhounds - Queen reigns on night of Derby shocks heats
It was another tough night for the punters when the second round of the Boylesports.com Irish Derby was concluded at Shelbourne on Saturday. Two of the eight heat favourites obliged on Saturday which means that only three of the 16 market leaders in the second round were successful.
There were shocks aplenty but the star of the night was Gerry Holian's lightly-raced bitch European Queen as she built a good lead and then held off Highview Premier's big run by a length in 29.56.
But another real hero was Liam Dowling's fantastic old-stager Ballymac Vic as he bulldozed his way to the front past Indigojack on the first bend of the final heat and raced to a four-and-a-half-length victory over Tyrur Supermac. It was the second leg of a great double for his owner/trainer Liam Dowling who has his three original Derby entries through to the third round.
The shocks commenced in the opening Heat 9 as Mind The Net was hampered on the opening bend by Blenheim Cracker and, despite running on well, failed by three parts of a length to catch Pat Curtin's Whizzing Archie in 29.82.
But Curtin had no luck with his hotly-fancied Kereight King which trailed in at the back of the field with what transpired to be a nasty gracilis injury. Victory in this Heat 12 went to Green Prince, which was the first leg of the Dowling double, as he led all the way for a five-length victory over Ecclestone in 29.88.
The ante-post favourite Droopys Nidge again failed to live up to his high rating as he could only finish third behind the well-supported 8/1 chance Ghost Town in Heat 10. The latter was in front all the way and won by two lengths from Borneo in 29.84 with Droopys Nidge a length and a half third. This is clearly not the form which Nidge produced in his early races and there would appear to be something amiss.
The English challenge is going well and Droopys Norris dashed to the front between the opening bends of Heat 11 and won handily from Killinan Baby in 29.70 with the veteran Tyrur Sugar Ray qualifying in third.
This means that a father and son team has reached the last 48 of the classic with Sugar Ray's son Tyrur Supermac finishing a very good second behind Ballymac Vic.
The other heat winners on the night were the Graham Holland-trained Quick Blaze in 29.99 and Jerry Melia's Thornvalley in 29.86.
The Rita Downey-owned Monleek Empire turned over the favourite when winning the €3,250 Head For Fame Puppy Oaks final at Harold's Cross.
She broke fast and forced the favourite Newinn Expert to check wide on the bend.
The latter continued to press but Monleek Empire kept on well and won by a length and a half from Barista Girl in 29.14.