Blitz fit as a butcher's dog for big money Shelbourne contest
Five northern runners will contest the semi-finals of the Boylesports €125,000 Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park next Saturday, three of them in the first heat.
But it's the second 'semi' which catches principal attention with Derry butcher Paul Ellis's fast-trapping Farloe Blitz taking on the outright and unbeaten favourite Ballymac Matt in what promises to be a great buckle to the first bend.
English Derby finalist Blitz is rarely led and at the weekend, the black son of Premier Fantasy was back to his very best with a trap-to-line triumph over two other Ulster runners, Blue Cafu and Shutthe Backdoor, trained respectively by Magherafelt's Joe Hurley and Newry's Brendan Matthews.
Ballymac has landed his plum trap one draw for the fourth time in a row for the semi-final and the black and white dog maintained his unbeaten Derby run with a diminishing length victory over Highview Apollo who gets a chance for revenge. In what looks a strong contest, another unbeaten runner, Peregrine Falcon who held off strong finisher Cable Bay by three-quarters of a length (29.50), is running out of his skin and goes from trap six with Shutthe Backdoor wearing the orange jacket.
Cable is the number one contender from the Matthews kennel and clashes with Ellis's second challenger Farloe Rumble and Cafu along with Graham Holland's Gaytime Hawk who clocked the fastest time of the competition (29.34) on Saturday when beating Tyrur Tommy four and a half lengths with Rumble another length back in third..
Semi-final draw: Heat one: Gaytime Hawk, Farloe Rumble, Blue Cafu, Tyrur Tommy, Cable Bay, Jaytee Jet (w).
Heat two: Ballymac Matt, Farloe Blitz, Save The Don, Highview Apollo, Shuthe Backdoor, Peregrine Falcon
At Drumbo, Footfield Razl was a strong fancy to take an A3 final and duly did so, albeit by a decreasing margin of half-a-length in a sharp 28.99 secs for Coalisland brothers Kieran and Eoghan Hagan.