Belfast Telegraph

Diva's stunning performance puts down marker

By Robert Fenton

A tremendous start to Drumbo Park's annual and prestigious Robert Connelly Memorial Tri-Distance event with the three first round heat winners all breaking 29 seconds over 525.

Star attraction was Whiterock Diva who got the ball rolling with a fabulous 28.58 seconds victory for Derry owner-trainer Gavin Donnelly.

Evens favourite Dunquin Lad missed his break and was crowded at the initial turn where Na Bi Buartha took it up from Whiterock.

But the latter found her stride on the back-straight and went away from the rest, defeating the Lad six lengths with Buartha rallying for the third spot a length and a half behind Lad with Bodens Paradise fourth

John Byrne's Armagh runner Free Falling was second favourite behind Chubbys Gooch but it was the black dog who emerged on top in the second heat (28.75 seconds).

Falling trapped best of all but it was Chubbys Gooch who led round.

Hitting the far side, Free took it up and the white and black dog held his rival to a length and a half with Ferneys Screed the same distance away in third and Edels Ace qualifying in fourth place.

Kenyan Gold struck for Dungannon's Sean Hughes for the second successive week.

The fawn dog had to do it the hard way, coming from behind early-paced Tornaroy Tingle and Camlin Grebe.

The latter led down the far side but faded as Gold pushed ahead from the third bend to beat Irey Debby who also ran on well.

Grebe was a neck back in third position and Rectory Kerrylee fourth.

Daleroad Clon turned the form around with an all-the-way triumph in the 550 Dual-Distance decider which saw Newtownabbey owner-trainer Norman McGarvey pick up £350.

It was only the second win of the black bitch's career but she certainly made it pay here.

Beaten more than 10 lengths the previous week behind Shift Trooper, it was no surprise to see her at 4/1 with Trooper going off at evens.

But different night, different story as Clon hit the lids in front of Bua Pakie and missed the bumping in behind at the bend before running on to hold battling Pakie by three-quarters of a length.

Mainstreet Turbo, another 4/1 chance on the night, finished two further lengths away in third place.

Belfast Telegraph

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