Roddick lives up to his glowing reputation
Droopys Roddick was the star attraction at Shelbourne on Saturday night and he didn't disappoint as he produced a performance of sheer class and power in the heats of the Joe Dunne Memorial Puppy Stake.
Already a strong favourite for the English Derby on the back of his romp through the English Puppy Derby at Wimbledon, Roddick was having his first race around Shelbourne but did have the benefit of a few flying trials.
He broke fast from the inside box but was outpaced by Riverside Oscar to the bend and the latter had a length-and-a-half in hand entering the back straight.
Roddick really lived up to his reputation as he battled to get on terms with Riverside Oscar by the final bends and the two leaders were virtually locked together.
Roddick asserted turning for home and pulled clear to win by a growing two-and-a-half lengths from Riverside Oscar in 28.32, with Witches Belle a similar distance third.
The other heat saw the Robert Gleeson-trained bitch Droopys Tee establish herself as a live contender for the main bitch honours this year. She was only third into the back behind Clares Rocket and Lantau Champ but then began her sweep to victory.
She went second before the third bend and then set about overhauling Clares Rocket. This she did in the shadow of the post as she raced past the leader to snatch an impressive head margin over Clares Rocket in 28.56 with Lantau Champ some four-and-a-half lengths third.
The scene is set for a terrific final next Saturday and the draw is: 1 Riverside Oscar, 2 Clares Rocket, 3 Droopys Roddick, 4 Witches Belle, 5 Lantau Champ, 6 Droopys Tee.
It was a great night's racing at Shelbourne where the fastest time of the session was produced by the Graham Holland-trained bitch Skywalker Pearl as she clocked a brilliant 28.24.
Pearl is noted for her early pace and she again flew out of traps but Slippery Fred looked a real menace in second. He tried his utmost but could make no impression on Skywalker Pearl which won by a length-and-a-half with Jaytee Dutch running on extremely well in third.
Paul Hennessy had a memorable night as he had winners at three venues.
A double at Shelbourne with Priceless Leader and Barefoot Ruler was supplemented by a very fast 28.30 from Jaytee Valentia in the Gain Cup at Curraheen and a heat success with Mynewbestfriend in the Vetsearch Recharge Stake at Limerick.
Jaytee Valencia flew from traps in Heat 5 and he won by a length-and-a-half from Newlawn Peter. The other fast heat winners were Happy Endings in 28.43 and then both Newlawn Luke and Lurriga Gold as they returned 28.49.
Best at Limerick was Scala Vic in 28.68.