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TRAPRISE - Pestana stays unbeaten as luckless Josh exits Derby

Thursday, 3rd September, 2020 11:26am
TRAPRISE - Pestana stays unbeaten as luckless Josh exits Derby


Arguably the hottest ever renewal, the 2020 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby again returned stunning performances in last Saturday’s third round when aided by a sizzling fast Shelbourne Park circuit, new track record holder, and outright favourite, Pestana maintained his unbeaten tag in the event with another dominant Derby display.

Not quite as fast as his astounding 28.99 of the previous week, another early paced masterclass when over seven lengths in front of Newinn Lester saw the Owen McKenna superstar post 29.15, prompting quotes of just 7/2 from the sponsor for Derby success, which were soon reduced to 3/1.

Having begun his career with twelve straight wins to claim the National Produce Stakes at Clonmel, Newinn Taylor was forced to chase the favourite home in that track record run but breaking well from an ideal Trap 5 berth in Heat 3 this week, the Graham Holland phenomenon showed that he is warming to his Derby task. Laying down a big marker which would not be surpassed on the night, he led home the admirable Boylesports Xtra by two and a half lengths in 29.11 for the 550-yard trip and is second in the market at 11/2.

Of course all local eyes were on Heat 7 where the Pat Guilfoyle trained Laughil Josh missed his break but recovering his chance when bravely battling through bumping at the opening bend, he had his run severely checked when flying at the leaders off the second bend. Rallying for another qualification bid off the final turn, he again suffered crowding and his was a most cruel elimination when fifth behind Scooby Princess in 29.53.

A brief look ahead to Saturday’s quarter-finals and although missing his break when third to Waikiki Keano in 29.53 last time, the redoubtable Ballymac Cooper for Liam Dowling equalled the old track record of 29.10 in the second round and is housed in Trap 6, on the immediate outside of Pestana, in Heat 3 now. Cooper is 8/1 fourth best in the market and should he find his best break, he can give the favourite plenty to think about.

The same can be said of Boylesports Xtra as he again faces Newinn Taylor in the last quarter-final for while not possessing the early speed of Taylor, the former is a renowned fast breaker while Newinn Taylor can be ponderous from traps. In the form of his career, Paul Hennessy’s Boylesports Xtra is no forlorn hope in the Derby at 20/1 for the sponsoring owner.

Galway was again a fruitful source of local success over the weekend and rounding off the action in the west on Saturday, Michael Rafferty’s Moanduff Daisy (Laughil Duke/Miss July) bounced back to form with a very smart career best victory at 550-yards in A2 grade.

With an admirable strike rate, the Ballingarry favourite was scoring for the eighth time in seventeen starts and when back to her best breaking form in a suitable Trap 6 draw, she would immediately take control of the race when leading on the run to the first bend. Two lengths to the good upon turning, the January 2018 whelp stretched readily clear on the run to halfway.

Never for catching in such a scenario, Moanduff Daisy maintained a strong gallop throughout and seeing out the trip stoutly, hit the line with over four lengths to spare while posting 30.17. She will now make a return to A1 grade for next outing but if reproducing this latest smart break, the rise will hold few concerns.

The local winning thread at Galway had begun on the previous night when Tommy Ryan’s Some Cut Too (Zero Ten/Cupids Causeway) also found a revival in form for a third career success in thoroughly thrilling fashion when landing her A6 525 contest on Friday.

Following a recent close-up third in the grade, she again made just a moderate start on the rails from Trap 1 but cornering tightly, she would keep within three lengths of the lead while contesting third place on the approach to halfway. Closing on a converging trio of pacesetters when reaching the final turns, the Ryan charge was presented with a gap on the rails and needed no second invite when striking the front entering the home stretch.

Gamely repelling a rallying rival on the run to the line, she had enough in reserve to register a neck verdict in an entertaining tussle while posting 29.62 (-20). Rising to A4 next time, the grade would not be a great concern should she return to her best breaking form.

With greyhound racing continuing behind closed doors, owners received somewhat of a blow when, despite restaurants being open around the country, the IGB decreed last week that they would close those facilities at the tracks even though all activity in complying with Covid restrictions have been strictly adhered to.

The already scant general admittance has also been ceased and while all in the sport wish to see racing comply with government advice, the restaurant closures in particular feel excessively compliant!

Aside from leaving the Derby with zero attendance outside of trainers and staff, expansive stadiums like Limerick harbour eerie atmospheres for the handful of onlookers. That said, the O-L Syndicate’s Whats Up Jonjo (Candlelight King/Miss Misty) must have appreciated the quiet conditions on the Dock Road when he kicked-off the Saturday action by shedding his maiden tag at the third time of asking in the opening A4 525.

Slow starts had brought defeat in his two previous outings, but the penny dropped at traps on Saturday when the October 2018 pup was swiftest to stride from Trap 3. Reaching the first bend with a one length lead, the Padraig O’Lone trained youngster bounded clear to a facile eleven length victory thereafter and looks a runner to follow despite rising to A2 next time.

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