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ECC Timber Puppy Derby - 500m - £20,000

 

WUHEIDA (pictured), a winner now of five of her eight races, emulated her equine namesake when winning for Romford trainer Phillip Simmonds in the fourth and final quarter-final of the ECC Timber Puppy Derby at Towcester on Saturday - posting the fastest time in the process as she stopped the clock in 29.28sec for the 500m distance.

 

Shortly after Charlie Appleby’s filly had won her Breeders’ Cup race at Del Mar, the canine version scooted round the Northamptonshire venue, leading off the second bend for a comfortable win to land what was considered the toughest quarter-final as she grabbed gold from Affleck Bolt and Roxholme Poppy.

 

The first quarter-final of the UK’s richest puppy competition - with £20,000 up for grabs on Wednesday week - saw Irish success as the Brendan Matthews-trained Innocent Times improved for his first look at Towcester in the previous week’s heats to come again and deny Headford Kev and Magical Bale.

 

Damian Matthews, son of the trainer, said: “He certainly learned a lot from last week in the heats. We took a big chance coming over to run at a track he’d not run before, but it’s paid off second time. We’re back on the boat at 2am and will travel over again for the semis. He’ll hopefully come on again for tonight.”

 

Champion trainer Mark Wallis, who had a five-timer at Romford’s open-race meeting on Friday, weighed in with second quarter-final winner Honest Robber who made all to defeat the Kevin Hutton-trained kennelmates Jovial Monk and Prize Fighter in 29.65sec, all three making it through to Saturdays semis.

 

Part-owner Paul Taylor said: “We didn't expect him to lead, but were delighted when he did! He’s only had six races so, like most of them in this competition, he's still coming forward. This was just his sixth race - and his second win. One here now, and a good one at Romford. It’s great to be in the semi-finals.”

 

Lightfoot King finished powerfully for Elaine Parker’s kennel to strike in the third quarter-final as the Sheffield star caught longtime leader Kilcree Diamond and went on to win by two and a half lengths in 29.56sec. Favourite Sporting Dave was third here after being crowded out early before rallying.

 

 

Trap draw for Saturday’s semi-finals:-

 

First semi: 1 Sporting Dave, 2 Lightfoot King, 3 Kilcree Diamond, 4 Affleck Bolt (m), 5 Magical Bale (m), 6 Headford Kev (w).

 

Second semi: 1 Jovial Monk, 2 Honest Robber, 3 Wuheida, 4 Prize Fighter (m), 5 Roxholme Poppy (w), 6 Innocent Times (w).