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Star Sports Derby - Towcester 500m - £175,000

FRIDAY

The highlight of the night, and subsequently the round, was a track-record-breaking run from Tyrur Shay that by the conclusion of the second round on Saturday night had propelled the PJ Fahy-trained dog to the top of the ante-post lists.

In just two races at Towcester, Tyrur Shay had trapped slowly and wowed racegoers with his daring-do performances from off the back. So, when he flew from the boxes to a 05.16sec sectional, the writing was on the wall for those in behind.

In the end Tyrur Shay had put almost six lengths between himself and Scottish Derby finalist Knockard Spring when clipping five hundredths of a second off Clares Rocket’s best for the trip by posting 28.72sec.

Meanwhile, Clares Rocket maintained his unbeaten run in the competition in heat seven but the victory wasn’t achieved in anything like the expected manner.

Graham Holland’s dog was the long odds-on favourite but his supporters were pretty much consigned to their fate when the Irish wonder dog was led by Bubbly Turbo and Madabout Eoghan, in that order, along the back straight.

Third placed looked the best connections of Clares Rocket could hope for. That was until Madabout Eoghan moved to seemingly pass Bubbly Turbo on the inside at the final turn. Instead, Madabout Eoghan moved off, deliberately interfered with Bubbly Turbo and took than both out of the race.

Clares Rocket was ideally placed to take full advantage and he moved through to take it up and did so to win by almost fourth lengths from Coolavanny Pet and Minnies Highway, who were second and third.

The Towcester stewards disqualified Madabout Eoghan for deliberate interference after the race.

The meeting started with a double for Paul Hennessy with Priceless Brandy in the first heat and Jaytee Jet in the second qualifier. The latter taking another step towards becoming the first since Westmead Hawk (2005-06) to successfully defend his Derby title.

Priceless Brandy broke moderately but drew on an exhilarating turn of early speed to get to the bend in front and settle the issue. King Eden kept up to his work to take second but was almost four lengths adrift of the 28.95sec winner.

Jaytee Jet showed all his old class to defeat the early leader College Paradise by a length in 29.36ssec. College Paradise had led at the first bend after a collision with Shaneboy Style but was unable to hold-off the Derby champion.

Kevin Boon, the trainer of Shaneboy Style, enjoyed much better fortune in the following heat when Shaneboy Freddie – no relation – followed up on his 7-1 first round success with a similar front-running display to defeat Velvet Blaze in 29.08sec.

The sad postscript from this race was an injury sustained by Carlos Count at the first bend. Claudia Wray’s dog broke down with what was later diagnosed as a fractured hock. He will be operated on and will spend the rest of his days as a pet.

Cloran Paddy, fifth in the final last year, proved himself a worthy contender this time around with a three and a quarter length success in heat four.

Like Tyrur Shea, the Charlie Lister-trained dog found himself in front much sooner than would normally be the case and won by more than three lengths from Racing Post Juvenile winner Murrys Act.

The talking point from heat four was the elimination of the strongly-fancied Dorotas Wildcat who stumbled at the start and had then endured a trouble passage before tiring in the closing stages.

Droopys Buick was another big name to suffer a defeat but Angela Harrison’s dog did enough by finishing third in the qualifier won in impressive fashion by Pat Rosney’s progressive youngster The Other Reg in 29.20sec.

The meeting ended on a high note for Carol Weatherall as her very talented youngster Calico Ranger came from last to first to take heat eight by a length from the front-running Crossfield Hugo in 29.40sec.

SATURDAY

BUBBLY BLUEBIRD has for a long time been viewed as a potential Derby winner and his impressive performance at the first-round stage didn’t nothing to dilute that view.

It was therefore more frustrating for connections when Paul Young’s GBGB 2016 Newcomer of the Year had seemingly done the hard work of putting himself in front on the run to the turn only to be hampered from behind by Garryvoe Bobby in heat 14.

Bubbly Bluebird doggedly kept on despite the setback and by the final turn appeared to have put himself in a position from which he could qualify, only to fade into fifth place in the closing stages.

The race went to the Ian Walker’s 33-1 chance Airport Jumbo, trained at Perry Barr by Ian Walker, who, in the latter stages, found extra when those around him cried enough to win by three-parts-of-a-length and a neck from Swithins Brae and Garryvoe Bobby in 29,91sec.

That was the slowest time of the night when the fastest was clocked by the John Mullins-trained British-Bred Carn Brea, who posted 29.19sec in heat 12.

The heavyweight son of the former Pat Rosney-trained Take the Crown got the better of the talented Forest Con to score by a head in 29.19sec. Ballymac Matt, the 2015 Irish Derby winner, mistimed his start but showed great resolution to keep on for third place.

A fabulous crowd turned out for a marvellous night’s racing and it was a marvellous evening as the sun shone down on the Towcester track. It’s the first Derby at the Northamptonshire venue and they are handling the occasion with aplomb.

One of the most thrilling races was the first heat which featured a battling performance from Ballinakil Clare, who overhauled litter brothers Droopys Who and Droopys Acrobat, to win by a half length in 29.51sec.

Whilst everything was going well off the track, that was not the case for some of the bigger names on the track. We’ve already mentioned the elimination of Bubbly Bluebird and but there were other notables that made bade farewell to the event. They include King Kid who went out behind a tremendous tussle at the head of the race between Hiya Butt, last year’s Derby third, and Bruisers Bullet who is becoming more impressive every time he sets foot on the track.

Starting as a middle seed from trap five, Hiya Butt, who usually competes as an unseeded runner, broke well and made a beeline for the fence 20 or 30 metres before reaching the first bend which seemed to cause the field to bunch in behind.

Hiya Butt led around the turn with Bruiser Bullet in behind. King Kid had a pitch on the outside but never really got going and was only a bit part player as Bruisers Bullet pulled out a huge finish to deny Hiya Butt by a short-head in 29.29sec.

Vancouver Shea was another who failed to make the third round draw when last in heat 11. The race featured another impressive performance from the emerging talented that is Pacey Bambi who made all to score in 29.28sec.

Razldazl Tierna just held a fast-finishing Stay Loose to take heat 14 in 29.59sec and Gary Hodson’s Danzey Exception, who won an award from the Racing Post for his marvellous first round performance, pulled another big run out of the hat in the final heat of the evening. The Hall Green dog scored by two lengths in 29.59sec.