DANNID set the standard in the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby at Monmore on Saturday as Matt Dartnall’s youngster finished best to post the fastest time of the three semis over 480m.

Trained by Dartnall for owners Lee Westwood and Andrea Wylie, Dannid recovered from early crowding before swooping round the outside to catch fast-starting Blastoff Mason (Seamus Cahill), before crossing the line one and a half lengths clear of the keeping-on Jaguar Macie (Graham Rankin) in 28.45sec (-30).

The winner is an April 2019 son of Sparta Maestro and Away Shelly, the former Dartnall-trained open racer. He recently opened his account in A1 company at Central Park and doubled his win tally in the third semi at the Wolverhampton venue.

The first semi-final went to Westway Blake after Angie Kibble’s pup made it three wins in a row with a superb show of all-round speed, catching longtime leader Dapper Donnie (Nathan Hunt) on the run for home to win in 28.88sec (-40).

The runner-up will line up as the youngest finalist in Saturday’s £12,500-to-the-winner final and, having lost out by just three-quarters of lengths to his more experienced rival, delighted his Romford trainer Nathan Hunt.

He said: “We always thought he could be a dog with a big future but probably thought the Monmore comp would come a little early for him being only a August pup against March and April pups.

“It’s always difficult because the Monmore Puppy Derby is always high class, but he’s done tremendously well to reach the final and we’re so proud of him. He’s owned by Johnny Fletcher, a very enthusiastic young owner.

“We’ll enjoy the build up this week and look forward to a great final. It’s a competition I’ve always loved for obvious reasons after Castell Henry won it for us in 2016 so we won’t worry about going into the final as the outsider – again!”

The second semi saw a powerful performance from the Patrick Janssens-trained Bockos Belly, who finished best to overhaul leader Deelish Hero (Seamus Cahill) to win by a length and a half in 28.79sec (-40) for the one lap.

Monmore racing manager Tony Williamson said: “I thought all were impressive, but Dannid definitely had the edge and that was confirmed on the clock. He finished full of running and looks a real improver – but it’s another high-quality Ladbrokes Puppy Derby Final.

“It’s the main race here on Saturday being one of our most longstanding and popular competitions, although the Ladbrokes Winter Derby Final shares the stage. This is the first time we’ve hosted that event and it’s gone really well.

“The supporting events produced some cracking racing on Saturday, too, and it was particularly good to see Paul Young’s Bubbly Dave make a successful return to the track in his heat of the 630m comp. We saw his class in last year’s Summer Classic here.”

Draw for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Puppy Derby Final: 1 Bockos Belly, 2 Westway Blake, 3 Dapper Donnie, 4 Jaguar Macie, 5 Deelish Hero (m), 6 Dannid (m).