McKenna's Diva roars to smart Irish Derby win
Owen McKenna: trains Irish Derby heat winner Airforce DivaPICTURE: STEVE NASH
THE Ladbrokes Irish Derby second round got under way at Shelbourne Park on Thursday night with the first batch of eight qualifiers - heats 9 to 16 will take place on Saturday night.
The opening heat was a slow contest with Lolos Joe leading close home to record 30.22sec.
Pat Buckley's Dragon Shield made all to take heat two in a swifter 29.83sec and that was followed by an even quicker 29.82sec from Crossfield Star.
Heat four went to Owen McKenna's ante-post favourite Ballymac Vic who led from the second bend to record 29.62sec.
Skywalker Puma produced a strong late run to catch the fancied Droopys Jet in 29.70sec while Subway Ruth went a little quicker in taking heat six (29.67).
Heat seven went to McKenna's Airforce Divawho recorded a fastest-of-the-night 29.68sec while the last of the night's eliminators saw Confident Rankin beat Razldazl Bugatti by two lengths in 29.93sec.
Monmore's card included three open races starting with a 480m Puppy contest which was won by Pat Rosney's Droopys Felipe who showed good all-round pace for a comfortable success in 28.32sec.
The 630-metre Stayers' at 8.58 saw Kim Billingham's Saxon Warrior reverse last week's form with Liscahane Razl to get up close home in a clock of 38.19sec.
A 480m Standard at 9.32 saw Charlie Lister's Mottos Blue overcome a tardy start to pace up and make the bend in front and then forge on to score in 28.19sec.
Highlights at Hove included an early treble for Paul Young with Big Local taking a 285m Sprint in 16.40sec, Millwards Blag making all (30.30sec) in a 515m Standard and Jaytee Tiger rallying gamely to short-head Pams Tomjo in 27.90sec.
There was also a game win in the Bitches contest for Matt Dartnall's Fortunata who held a late run from Seven Of Spades and clock a useful 29.85sec.
A gamble on Airforce Roger to win the 695m stayers' at 9.24 seemed to have been landed but Mark Wallis's Swift Tigress came from out the clouds to mug the odds-on jolly in the final stride in a time of 41.74sec.