JAGUAR MACIE landed Airdrie-based Graham Rankin his biggest success as a trainer when posting a career-best performance in the £12,500 Ladbrokes Puppy Derby Final at Monmore on Saturday.

A bullet break offset a trap four draw for the railer who was soon in command and on her way to a famous success in which the April 2019 daughter of Droopys Jet and Droopys Breeze became the first bitch to win the Ladbrokes/Midland Puppy Derby since Pat Rosney’s Dairyland Sue in 2004.

Crossing the line four and a half lengths clear, the former Hove-based runner Jaguar Macie, owned in partnership between Rankin and his great friend Tony Armstrong,  finished in front of Bockos Belly (Patrick Janssens) and Dannid (Matt Dartnall). The winning time for the 480m was a superb 28.04sec (-20).

Rankin, who has outlined the upcoming Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby as her next target, said: “I’m delighted with her – that really was a fantastic run. She got it right on the night, when she most needed to from trap four.

“We bought her and her sister at ten months old from Ireland and sent them initially to Richard Rees at Hove just to give them experience – and he did a great job.

“I then brought them to Pelaw Grange. Macie’s done okay there, although the track doesn’t play to her strengths. Monmore suited her better and I was delighted the way she adapted to there throughout the competition.

“Traveling down was an issue,” he revealed. “She wasn’t really handling it that well – especially when we got held up and had to step on it! But coming down for the final we stopped at regular intervals and she was much happier.

“Macie wasn’t an expensive purchase, far from it, but took seven or eight weeks to come to hand with us, but has just improved and we knew she had a chance after a trial stakes win and then in the heats because the times were there.

“Daniel (Rankin, son and Hove racing manager) always said at Hove she was better out of two or three, so trap four in the final might not have been ideal but the make-up of the race looked okay for her – if she broke, which she did.

“She’ll be galloped later this week and then we’ll look to prepare her for Newcastle.

“It was a great weekend, although pretty busy. I got back home at 2am and was at Pelaw Grange later that morning. But nights like Saturday really help – and we’ve got a pretty nice young team of dogs and bitches here with a few pups in Ireland for myself, Tony and Michael Conley, too, with Shane O’Gorman.”

Monmore racing manager Tony Williamson said: “Well done to Graham and Jaguar Macie. It was a special run, but all the more special given she was the only bitch in the line-up against the boys – plus the fact that Graham had racked up the miles coming down from Scotland!

“I think right from the start of the trial stakes here she’d looked the strongest in the competition. Come the final it was only about her mastering the draw and she did so with electric early pace and showed her class throughout to win in real style – and cap a brilliant first visit to Monmore for Graham Rankin.

“Jaguar Macie was pretty much a bargain buy, but her place in the sport’s history books is now secure. It was another great Ladbrokes Puppy Derby and part of a special night here with the Ladbrokes Winter Derby Final sharing the stage.

“But the supporting card was also top notch from a new track record in the 900m marathon for the Greyhound of the Year in Aayamza Royale. She ran the track really well and relished every metre. I’m sure connections are now looking at defending her TV Trophy title here in May.

“I thought Bubbly Dave won in great style, too, over the 630m finishing well and going away for a two-length victory. That was a superb run and hopefully we’ll see him back here later this year, perhaps for the Ladbrokes Summer Stayers Classic again – but maybe the TV if they decided to step up in trip.”