Derby spot for Scolari after he races clear of Thril
Affane Scolari booked his place in the Boylesports.com Irish Derby next month with a superlative piece of front-running in the Drumbo Park qualifier on Saturday night.
The black dog, a winner of an English Derby heat, bolted out of trap one over the 550 trip and was never in danger, coming home six lengths in front of Meadowvale Thril in 30.22.
"It was hard to believe," said his Dundalk handler Peter McArdle. "He can be brilliant one minute and not so good the next. He was well beaten in the Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk last week and then does this."
A brindle son of Droops Scolari, he went off a 7/4 joint-favourite with Boley Lass but from the first turn, it was a one-dog race as he sped away, leaving Meadowvale to better Footfield Flash by a length.
Meanwhile, Ronnie McKeown's Catherines Drico, the best sprinter in the north, stepped up from his first round defeat in the Sprint Cup by getting the better of Slipalong Hero and Blenhiem Cracker by a pair of short heads in a fast 21.11 secs (400) to clinch a place in the quarter-finals, where he'll come up against another Ulster runner Choctaw Blue and English Derby finalist Tynwald Bish who was beaten at 1/3 in heat five, finishing behind Peader Woods's Newry runner Maytown Favour.
Choctaw was beaten a length and a half behind Lislevane Swift (21.36) in the following heat.
Trewmount Blue took heat seven, defeating Slade Paddy by less than a length with Jim Hynes's Crumlin-based Quarterland Nico qualifying in third.
Down at Shelbourne Park, all-conquering trainer Graham Holland captured another major prize when Sidarian Vega won the €15,000 Doire Construction Champion Stakes.