Puma pounces late: Prince rules at Newcastle
Shelbourne Park: home of the Ladbrokes Irish DerbyPICTURE: STEVE NASH
SKYWALKER PUMA collared long-time leader Cuil Cougar in the shadow of the post to win a fantastically exciting final of the Euro 120,000 Ladbrokes Irish Derby over 550 yards at Shelbourne Park.
In doing so it was kept in the family with the winner trained by Francis O’Donnell and the runner-up by her sister Dolores Ruth, also responsible for third-placed Razldazl George, the 2011 champion, but the outcome was in doubt throughout.
Cuil Cougar paced up to quickly assert whereas Skywalker Puma was crowded early and only turned in fourth place, beginning his charge along the back stretch.
He had moved into second with two bends to go but Cuil Cougar was proving a tough nut to crack and it was only in the dying strides that Skywalker Puma got to him, flying on the outside and claiming the prize in a fast 29.39sec.
Farloe Warhawk produced a sensational performance on the supporting card with Barrie Draper’s British raider routing his rivals over 525 yards to win by 11 and a half lengths in a flying 28.23sec.
Ballymac Vic bounced back to winning form when landing the Ladbrokes Irish Greyhound Derby Consolation final. Liam Dowling’s dog was in front at the first bend and kept on powerfully to hold off the persistent Kilbarry Rover in 29.46sec.
The Ladbrokes Greyhound Derby Plate final over 550 yards were a thriller with the Niall Dunne-trained North Bound recovering from a tardy start to shade Swift Marathon.
The pair had the race between them from the second bend with North Bound going on at the third and digging deep to repel the rallying Swift Marathon in 29.74sec.
Saturday night saw NEWCASTLE stage heats of two £1,000 to-the-winner competitions - the finals of which will be seen live on RPGTV next week.
First up were two qualifiers for the British Bred Puppy Derby and top gun here, with a time of 29.05sec was Paul Rutherford's Ludworth Charl who made all to take the opening heat - beating kennelmate Ormand St Pam by three lengths.
Craig Dawson's Reluctant Rita was a game winner of heat two - leading at the third bend and keeping on well - she beat Till Lady by 3/4L in 29.14sec.
The British Bred Derby consisted of three qualifiers and easiest winner going into next week's 480m shoot-out was Harry Williams' Tudor Prince who impressed in taking the opening heat by eight lengths in 28.61sec.
Heat two saw Glenn Lynas's Witton Bound sprint clear and hold on for a 28.68sec success while heat three went to Jimmy Fenwick's prolific Denwill Star who clocked the fastest time of 28.57sec.