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

MONMORE’S Ladbrokes Puppy Derby kicked off with ante-post favourite Droopys (pictured above on his winning debut at Newcastle last year) not letting his supporters down as the Angela Harrison-trained runner set the standard in the first round with a faultless 28.11sec (-20) in heat four.


It was a mixed afternoon for his trainer, however, with no joy for her other three entries including elimination for Northern Puppy Derby champion Droopys Zephyr, but as Monmore’s racing manager Tony Williamson said, the performance of the June 2016 son of Loughteen Blanco and Droopys Cyclone suggests the Newcastle handler is still favourite to land the spoils.


“I thought he was awesome, but then it was the same in the Trial Stakes as well,” said Williamson. “His clock tells the quality and the speed the dog has. He looks the one to beat but there were a few other eye-catching performances on the afternoon.”


The £12,500 competition kicked off with Peterborough trainer David Pruhs sending out La Soldado (28.77sec) to win heat one before Rising Brandy (28.23sec) initiated a double for Matt Dartnall when making an impressive debut in heat two. Kennelmate Brinkleys Poet later made all to post 28.64sec in the final heat - also on his first start.


“I thought Matt’s two newcomers ran really well. They’d shown promise in trials, but it’s still something for both to win on debut in such an event,” added Williamson, who is overseeing a busy open-race period for the Wolverhampton venue.


“We’re looking forward to the rest of the competition and then the rescheduled Lawrence Jones Memorial Festival in April,” he added. “John Walton starts here as a contract trainer in a couple of weeks - his runners are trialling at present. He has a good quality kennel of dogs, in great condition.


“We’ll assess the racing strength when John has all his runners on the card. We might then recruit again giving us a stronger racing strength moving forward into the rest of year. This prevents dogs being over-raced and to be graded with equal seeding achieved.”


Back to the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby and Paul Young’s Itsur Mate (28.47sec), a brother of Droopys Verve, made it a family double in heat three as he led down the back to win in 28.47sec, with the remaining heat five won by Barrie Draper’s Lostrigg Charlie (28.47sec).