Mind The Net rattles into English Derby decider
WHILE they didn't work out quite as well as hoped, the semi-finals of the English Derby saw two Irish-trained runners qualify for next Saturday's final and they are sitting proudly at the top of the betting for the record £200,000 first prize.
The talk of the town on Saturday in Wimbledon was the sensational recovery produced by the Pat Buckley-trained Mind The Net in winning the second semi-final after staring elimination in the face following a first-bend incident.
But while his perceived main rival Aero Nemesis was galloping away out front, Mind The Net gathered himself together and produced a terrific finishing burst.
In tandem with this, Aero Nemesis hit the wall around the third bend and dramatically faded out of contention.
But Mind The Net, which is jointly owned by Englishman Mike Davis and Spaniard Javier Jarne, then produced a finish of fairytale proportions and came up the outside to beat Kincraig Rory by a length and a quarter in 28.42, with Farloe Trent a length back in third.
There were three Irish runners in the opening heat and, while we hoped for all three to qualify, we had to settle for a second-placing for Crokers Champ.
Peter Cronin's dog got away to a good start and looked all over a winner until collared by the big-finishing Droopys Ward in the final strides. He was beaten half a length in the brilliant time of 28.25 while it was another half-length to Salad Dodger in third.
The other Irish runners Metro Jack and Ecclestone lost their chances at trap-rise and really never looked like getting involved in the final.
Following the trap draw, Mind The Net was immediately installed as favourite and by yesterday afternoon his price had settled at 6/5, with Crokers Champ at 3/1 and it is then 8/1 bar the pair.
The full betting is: 6/5 Mind The Net, 3/1 Crokers Champ, 8/1 Droopys Ward, 10/1 Farloe Trent, 20/1 Salad Dodger, 35/1 Kincraig Rory.
We had to wait until the final heat of the first round for the run of the night in the Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne on Saturday when the Robert Gleeson-trained She's A Terror blasted out of traps and raced to a three-and-a-half length margin over Jaytee China in a brilliant 28.27, with Always With Me a length back in third.
One had to be impressed with the performances of Satin Jessie and Borna Gem as they each stopped the clock in 28.40.
Satin Jessie just held the challenge of Coolavanny Pandy by a neck but Borna Gem was always in command as she won by a full seven lengths from Zip Bullet.
Another dog which really caught the eye was Tony Rooney's Loughdromin Girl as she flew out of traps to win with an impressive time of 28.48.