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William Hill/Underground Puppy Derby -Peterborough 435M (£8,500)

I THINK owner Paul Carpenter summed it up afterwards. “This this a very strong race, make no mistake. The form is rock solid and plenty of future winners will come out of it,” he said.

The larger than life Carpenter, famous for the exuberant support he gives his runners from the terraces, was referring to the final of the Underground/William Hill Peterborough Puppy Derby.

And who can argue with his prediction that this £8,500 contest – resurrected after a four-year absence from the Calendar – will be talked about in the months to come for those that have emerged from it.

Carpenter, along with Kevin Dear and Geoff Norman, is the owner of Holdem Rio who, after the disappointment of his odds-on defeat in the final of the Gymcrack at Kinsley, bagged this, his first Category One, with a balanced display of early pace and sheer determination.

It was the early pace that put him ahead from trap three and the determination that enabled him to see-off a potent late charge from the precocious December 2014 and favourite Newinn Shadow by a head in 26.24sec (0.20sec slow) for the 435-metre trip.

Having brushed off Dranoel (trap two) at the start, Holdem Rio (trap three) quickened nicely going into the first bend and turned in front of Newinn Shadow (trap five) and Droopys Country (trap six), both of whom were prominently positioned on the outside.

That order was pretty much maintained until the dash for home at which point Newinn Shadow picked up and began to close on the leader but the line came just in time for Holdem Rio to score. Droopys Country held Dranoel by half-a-length for third.

That makes it eight wins from 13 career starts for July 2014 whelp Holdem Rio who looks destined for a huge future given his breakneck early pace. Newinn Shadow suffered his first defeat in three starts but lost nothing in defeat.







Paul Carpenter (Part-Owner Holdem Rio): “There were six super dogs in that race. I’m delighted for Heather (Dimmock) and Mick (Pacey). I’ve been trying for 25 years to win a category One and have been in 15 finals. This means so much. I’m really grateful to those that have made it happen. I would like to thank Alan (Heard), the Underground team and William Hill for their sponsorship of the race. Also to Peterborough for putting on such as smashing spread tonight.”

Kevin Dear (Part-Owner Holdem Rio): “It’s great to win a Category One. He’s only two years old and has a huge future ahead of him. I’m particularly delighted for Mick and Heather. As owners we pay the bills but they do all the hard work. I thought the draw was great tonight. Trap three suits him.”

Mick Pacey (Assistant to Heather Dimmock, the trainer of Holdem Rio): “We wanted to get trap three in the final and I was delighted when he got it. He comes out better from there. We haven’t decided where he goes next but it may be Sunderland (William Hill Classic). We’ve always rated this dog. He was bought as a good dog and hasn’t let us down.”

Geoff Norman (Part-Owner Holdem Rio): “He’s progressing very nicely. I had my heart in my mouth in the closing stages but thankfully he got there.”

Alan Heard (of sponsors Underground): “What a race! It was fantastic. William Hill have been fantastic getting involved. Many thanks to Jennie Prest and David Lynn. Hopefully they can take the race on next year. Also, it’s a marvellous stadium. A great venue and has a wonderful team behind it.”