Incredible Hulk races to '600' success
While Irish-trained greyhounds enjoyed mixed luck in the second round of the English Derby at Wimbledon, Greenwell Hulk and Drive On Alice gave punters plenty to shout about as they won Saturday's two big finals at Shelbourne Park.
The top prize at Shelbourne was the €15,000-to-the-winner Gain 600 for which Greenwell Hulk went off odds-on favourite. The massively built tracker lived up to the expectations and powered his way to a 10-length winning margin in a flying 32.24.
The final was expected to feature a head-to-head between Greenwell and the gallant veteran Tyrur Sugar Ray, but the latter never got a run after getting into early trouble and it was left to Greenwell Hulk to turn on a master show.
It was pretty level to the corner, with Danmar Jack just ahead approaching the bend. But the mighty 87lb frame of Greenwell Hulk burst through on the inside and led Hawaii Kinsale and Danmar Jack into the back.
From here it was a case of the further they travelled, the further the Hulk pulled clear and by the finishing line he had extended his advantage to 10 lengths from Hawaii Kinsale in 32.24, with Danmar Jack a three-and-a-half-length third.
The winner is trained in Robertstown by Jerry Melia for Scottish owner John Shannon, and the Champion Stakes and the Irish Derby now figure prominently on his agenda.
Drive On Alice also went off an odds-on favourite to win the final of the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks and she made no mistake, although it was a much tighter affair than the 600 decider.
Owned by Tom O'Donovan, Drive On Alice broke fast and led up by a tight length from Droopys Sylvia. The latter challenged hard down the back and at the third bend there was three-quarters of a length between them.
However, Drive On Alice had shown in all her outings that she stays very strongly and she motored up the straight to win by a length from the gallant Droopys Sylvia in 28.61 with Droopys Muriel two lengths third.
Drive On Alice has been bought by Ray Patterson and will be trained by Michael O'Donovan for the forthcoming Sporting Press Irish Oaks.
Over at Wimbledon, the second round of the English Derby again proved to be a fruitful hunting ground for Owen McKenna as he completed a treble via Farloe Calvin, Vanrooney and Fiery Splendour.
Farloe Calvin was found to be lame after his Friday success, but it is hoped he will be okay for next Saturday's third round.
In last Saturday's heats, both Vanrooney and Fiery Splendour were very impressive as they won in fast times.
Fiery Splendour had broken the track record in the opening round and he flew around again in 28.41, while Vanrooney got up late to beat Pinpoint Finas in 28.42.
Peter Cronin has been enjoying a fine Derby and he had an impressive winner as Crokers Champ again left his rivals struggling for early pace and he won in 28.36.
A big negative for the Irish on the night was the elimination of the ante-post favourite Paradise Silva, which looked injured as he trailed in behind Droopys Odell.