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Ladbrokes Puppy Derby - Monmore 480m - £12,500


“AS good a pup as I’ve ever had,” was how trainer Seamus Cahill described Forest Con after he had hacked-up by almost seven lengths in what had appeared beforehand a most competitive final of the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby (480 metres) at Monmore on Thursday.

That’s some recommendation given the superb hounds that have passed through the hands of the talented Irishman over the years, including three previous finalists in this Category One competition – they were Ballymac Lyster (third last year), Guinness Dusty (fifth in 2012), and Freedom Chief (fourth in 2011).

It was a race in which trouble on the run to the first bend played its part in deciding the outcome but that should not be allowed to dilute what was a superb performance from Forest Con.

The May ’15 whelp was one of three in the decider trained by Seamus Cahill and one of a triumvirate from that incredible Ballymac Vic – Droopys Danneel litter that been so dominant in this event. In fact, all three semi-finals went to those siblings.

Forest Con received a 40-1 quote for the 2017 English Derby after a powerful display which saw him recover quickly from an average start to follow early leader and kennelmate Crossfield Giles around the first and second turns.

Dorotas Hooligan, one of two in the line-up trained by Charlie Lister, was also prominently positioned against the inside fence, whilst Cahill’s Bridgehouse Boy, who had moved right from trap three, was fourth, ahead of Droopys Bonucci and Dorotas Woo Hoo, Lister other runner, both of whom were held up on the run to the turn.

Applying easily the best pace off the second turn, Forest Con ranged alongside and then passed Crossfield Giles to go into the lead approaching the third turn. From there it was something of a formality as pressed home his advantage to ever expanding six and three quarters of a length from Dorotas Woo Hoo in 28.22sec (0.20sec slow).

The runner-up lost nothing in defeat. He may have been beaten a long way but he made up a good bit of ground after being forced wide early on by Bridgehouse Boy, who had been made to move off by the early paced Crossfield Giles, also taking a middle to slightly wide course on the run-up.


Seamus Cahill (the trainer of Forest Con): “The race was run to suit him as the trap one runner came away well and those in the middle runners were in a bit of trouble. He (Forest Con) is very much a dog for the summer. He appears to have everything but the next couple of months will really tell us how good he will be. He had been off for a good while with the cough going into the competition, so we have been expecting him to improve as the event has been progressing. We’ve been in this final a few times so it was great to finally win it. Monmore is a track we like and we visit it regularly. He will run in the Trainers’ Championship at Towcester on Tuesday week after which he will be aimed at the Derby.”

Mark Gilbert (Co-owner of Forest Con): “It’s a tremendous achievement by Seamus (Cahill) to steer him through this event unbeaten and for breeder Paddy Kehoe who three from the same litter in the final.”

Dave Lawrence (Co-owner of Forest Con): “He’s a cracking dog and hopefully he has a big future ahead of him. All six dogs in the final tonight will go on to win lots of races.”