Friday 24 January 2020

Hero injury mars lively opening to Derby

Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Michael Fortune

A large crowd turned up at Shelbourne Park last night for the opening session of the Irish Derby and they were stunned into silence when the fancied Boylesports Hero, owned by the classic sponsor John Boyle, broke his hock just after hitting the front between the opening bends.

Indigojack and Emers Superstar had disputed the lead, with Boylesports Hero joining them on the opening bend.

Emers lost ground and immediately Boylesports Hero dashed to the front and looked set for victory.

Then he checked up, obviously injured and he trailed in a distance behind the fifth dog.

Damian Matthews confirmed that the dog had broken a hock and he will be examined by the vet today.

Indigojack continued to lead, but the Gerry Holian-trained Emers Superstar was too strong on the run-in and got up to win by a length from Indigojack in 29.92.

The opening heats featured a number of upsets and in the very first race the Peter Cronin trained Global Chariot got the better of a protracted battle with Droopys Norris by half a length in 30.05.

Skywalker Farloe was a hot favourite for the third heat, but he never got in a blow and eventually stayed on to finish fourth in 30.14.

The race was won by Paul and Shane Duffy's Blenhiem Cracker, which held the strong-finishing Tyrur Nathan by half a length, with Skyview Blue taking the third spot.

There is further Classic action at Dundalk tonight, with the semi-finals of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup down for decision.

The final will be run as the second part of a dual raceday at the unique stadium on Sunday week.

The Aidan McVeigh-trained Crown Champ (9.35) was fastest in the quarter-finals when flying from the traps and leading all the way.

The major dangers will be Must Be Electric, Vans Viking and Neds Opinion, but Crown Champ gets the call from Must Be Electric.

Our long-range fancy for the event was the Peter Cronin-trained Crokers Champ (9.20).

He showed last week that he is beginning to run the track well and he can get the better of Walshes Hill and Monleek Dawn in the other heat.

Puppy Oaks

The other big event tonight is at Harold's Cross, where the semi-finals of the Head For Fame @ Stud Puppy Oaks will be run.

The first semi looks like it will rest between June McCombe's English raider Bit View Ma (9.25) and Newinn Expert and they could finish in that order.

Karol Ramsbottom's Garryglass Lulu is the other one here likely to progress.

The Rachel Wheeler-trained Leamaneigh Mags (9.40) was in the wars last week, but she impressed in her previous outings and an inside draw might see her get the better of Colorado Josie and Fire Height Amy in the second heat.

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