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William Hill Peterborough Derby - Peterborough 435m - £8,500

PETERBOROUGH returned one of the great Category One events to the GBGB Calendar on Wednesday with the heats of the William Hill Peterborough Derby over 435m - and it was last year’s Romford Puppy Cup winner Kooga Klammer who posted the fastest time when racing to a two-length win in heat five in 26.03sec (-30).


The victory of the December 2014 son of Roxholme Bully completed a double for local handler David Pruhs, with Dark Recruit’s win after riding a first-bend bump in the opening heat in 26.54sec kicking off a good night for the Spalding-based handler. Dark Recruit finished third to Kooga Klammer in last year’s Romford feature.


Next quickest was the 26.07sec posted by impressive heat four winner Bit View Colin who was scoring for another Peterborough trainer in Trevor Simmons, while dual Derby finalist and Laurels champion Hiya Butt scored another brilliant win as Hayley’s Keightley’s dog recorded 26.17sec after an impressive turn of foot early.


The top 36 runners on the clock qualified for the £8,500 Peterborough Derby and Cork Falcon had dead-heated for the 37th position, only to be included when Do It For Twiggy was withdrawn - and Seamus Cahill’s recent Hove winner showed his class when scoring in heat six in 26.36sec when leading off the second bend.


Possibly the most popular victory of the night came from the senior Clondoty Alex, as the May 2013 whelp scored yet another victory - win number 37 from 80 starts in the UK - as Mark Wallis’s Yarmouth Derby champion raced away off the second bend to beat fast-starting Viking Jimmy in 26.42sec.


Clondoty Alex is owned by Paul Carpenter, Nick Cheeseman and Kevin Dear, and Carpenter was naturally delighted with the performance of the veteran, but also impressed by the overall quality of the Peterborough Derby with a host of big-race winners gunning for the overall prize ahead of the semis on Wednesday, August 16, and final on Wednesday, August 23.


He said: “There were some great performances tonight. Hiya Butt still looks the one to beat, but Kooga Klammer and Bit View Colin also ran extremely well. I thought Alex showed yet again just how brave he is. He has a great constitution, is just a wonderful competition dog and always give his all. 


“We’re delighted to be in the semi-finals and looking forward to next Wednesday. We’ll enjoy the week. He probably needs to break a bit better, and has something to find a bit on the clock, but he's a true champion so I wouldn't swop him for anything. He’s also a great credit to Mark [Wallis, trainer] and his team.”


Carpenter was full of praise for the trackstaff at Peterborough given the poor weather, and amount of rain. “I actually thought the track got a little quicker as the meeting went on, but the trackstaff did a great job considering the weather. The week’s rest will do Alex the world of good. He's a veteran you know, just like me!”