Splendour leads Derby charge for raiders
It was a huge weekend for Irish greyhounds with no fewer than 11 Irish-trained winners in the first-round heats of the English Derby at Wimbledon.
On home soil there were superb performances from Greenwell Hulk and Tyrur Sugar Ray as they set up a fantastic clash in next weekend's Gain 600 final at Shelbourne Park.
Following on from four winners on Thursday and one on Friday, the Irish really hit the hosts for six on Saturday night at Wimbledon with a succession of powerful performances.
We had six winners in all on the night, but undoubtedly the highlight was the track record-breaking run from the Owen McKenna-trained Fiery Splendour in the opening heat.
Fiery Splendour broke fast from six but didn't shake off Toms Knowledge until the second bend and from here he galloped away to win by five lengths in a brilliant time of 28.06, two spots inside the old record held by Razldazl Jayfkay.
McKenna then went on to complete a great double when Vanrooney proved too strong for Blonde Razor as he came from a few lengths down to win by half a length in 28.29.
Other Irish winners on the night were Paul Hennessy's Woolie No Shoes in 28.50, Peter Cronin's duo of Crokers Champ in 28.43 and Borneo in 28.56, and then Fraser Black's Brick Lane, which produced a 28.48 run in the final heat of the night.
It was anticipated that Greenwell Hulk's switch to 600 yards would see this dog in his proper light and his two runs so far in the Gain 600 at Shelbourne have been quite brilliant.
Having clocked 32.30 in the first round, Jerry Melia's heavyweight went even faster in Saturday's opening heat of the Gain 600 as he led before the bend and drew right away for a seven-length margin over Hawaii Kinsale, with Tyrur Arthur two-and-a-half lengths third.
It was then the turn of PJ Fahy's great old-stager Tyrur Sugar Ray and he didn't disappoint either.
He was quite superb as he shot out of the two box and raced to the bend with Danmar Jack, which is owned by Fahy's brother-in-law Danny Potter.
By the second bend Tyrur Sugar Ray had asserted his dominance and he powered clear to win by six-and-a-half lengths from Danmar Jack in 32.38, with Garryvoe Jet two lengths third.
Saturday's Shelbourne card also included the semi-finals of the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks and we were served up another superb effort from the Tom O'Donovan-owned Drive On Alice as she came from off the pace to win in 28.42.
Alice was only third early but took it up on the third bend and went away for a three-length verdict over Expert Chick.
The other semi saw Paul Kiely's Ballyrobin Venus fly from traps and go on to win by a length from Shes A Dream in 28.61.