Ladbrokes Puppy Derby – Monmore 480m – £12,500
QUEEN JESSIEJ underlined her precocious talent once again when Liz McNair’s home-bred bitch stormed to a fastest-of-the-night victory in the first semi-final of the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby at Monmore on Saturday.
The May 2018 daughter of Leamaneigh Turbo and Skate On, a half sister of the likes of King Elvis and King Sheeran, is from the third litter of the McNairs’ former top sprinter, Oaks runner-up and now three-time GBGB Dam of Best British Bred litter winner.
Fast away, Queen Jessiej was always dominating off the front end and pulled five lengths clear of kennelmate and litter brother King Drake at the line in 28.22sec (-40) to give the McNairs a double hand in Saturday’s £12,500-to-the-winner final.
A delighted Rab McNair said: “It’s great to be involved and is what we’re in this for. Brendan (Keogh) has once again bred a nice litter and we’re bringing them on steadily, some are more ahead than others but the bitches are doing well.
“Jessiej was superb on Saturday and Lilly showed real pace at Romford, but it’s good to be in the Monmore final with two runners. We’re happy enough with how the draw has worked out and I’m sure both Jessiej and Drake will come forward.
“Myself and Liz weren’t too well last month, and stayed home in our beds, but we’re all good now and have been able to spend time with the pups. They’re a great bunch and you have to credit Skate On – what a bitch and dam she is!”
The second semi-final saw the John Mullins-trained Fantastical lead home a 1-2-3 for the Yarmouth trainer as the June 18 son of Eden The Kid and Zaras Fantasy was quickly away and made all from kennelmates Swift Lettuce and Smallmead in 28.71sec (-40).
Of that heat, Monmore racing manager Tony Williamson said: “Smallmead looked unlucky not to qualify when he ran up the back of Swift Lettuce, but it was a fantastic achievement from John to get the first three home.”
Ernie Gaskin held a strong hand heading into the third semi but his favourite Droopys Addition missed the break, which left kennelmate Newinn Jacko to dominate down the middle to win by over three lengths from Droopys Premier (Kevin Boon) in 28.25sec (-40).
Summing up Saturday’s final, Williamson added: “We have a terrific race to looked forward to. We’ve a nice spread of runners and seeds, which is great considering we didn’t have too many wide runners at the outset, but King Drake and Fantastical made it through.
“I think it shows how well the track is maintained and we’re set for a great Puppy Derby final. Queen Jessiej has taken to the track – and the traps – and if she breaks like she has done in her previous two Rab and Liz’s (McNair) bitch will take some beating.”
Draw for Saturday’s final: 1 Swift Lettuce, 2 Queen Jessiej, 3 Newinn Jacko (m), 4 Droopys Premier (m), 5 King Drake (w), 6 Fantastical (w).