The AnCu Veterinary 525 at Dundalk Stadium has had a different star turn in each of its three rounds, and it’s the one who lit up the semi-finals that’s likely to start favour for the €2,000-to-the-winner decider, going ahead this Saturday night.
Brocagh Paddy was all the rage after coming in with a very fast win in the opening round, but Paddy was upstaged by Colm Farrelly’s Pat’s Diamond in the second round, the local runner making the best of an inside draw to fashion a big win.
But all the time Zaranna was making steady progress, not setting the fastest of times, but still winning. While Brocagh Paddy disappointed last Saturday night and Pat’s Diamond failed to justify favouritism, Zaranna made it three from three in the competition, while at the same time bringing up a four-timer, his other victory coming at Drumbo Park.
The Newtownabbey bitch will have Pat’s Diamond to contend with in the final and also a pair from Dominic Hegarty’s Co Meath kennel.
Since returning to the track after a lengthy absence, Hegarty has made a real mark, one of his qualifiers, Skryne Boss, taking the second semi-final. His runners are renowned as big finishers, and if anyway close at the final turn, they could have a say.
Zaranna, however, is taken to win, with Pat’s Diamond nominated as the danger.
The Eamon McCrave Memorial 525 got underway on the same card, and there quite a few eye-catching performances. In scoring a double on the card, Co Antrim trainer, Jim Hynes, saw his home-bred, Quarterland Abby, register a flying 28.55.
Hynes is thick in the battle for the leading trainer award, but while he recorded a double, his biggest danger, Martin Lanney, came in with a treble and is now leading the table. Balbriggan’s Anthony Rooney is also well in contention.
The heats of the Northwest Supplies 400 featured on Friday night’s card, and the big performer here – in every sense of the word – was Truly Remarkable. There’s a lot of coursing blood in this 80-pounder’s veins, and as he showed in his heat, he’s got pace to burn.
Owned by Newry’s Paul Matthews, Truly Remarkable bounded down to the first bend, tracked well, before coming home the easiest of winners in a fastest 21.55. The heavyweight is the one they all have to beat.
The excellent run being enjoyed by Pat Duffy continued on Friday night, Clerihan Buster giving the Haggardstown man his fifth winner in as many weeks. Running in a 550, Clerihan made a flying start, and was well clear of his field at one point. But this was a distance the dog was attempting for the first time, and it was by a very narrow margin that he held out for a 30.56 win.
Danny Kerr won on the same card with the well-named Hyde Park Corner. Running in a sprint the Quay-based runner showed lots of promise to win in a useful 28.91 and at very useful odds, 6/1.