Greyhounds: Veteran Sugar Ray's pace shows he is still boxing clever
Veterans Tyrur Sugar Ray and Ballymac Vic continue to make the headlines in the €125,000 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park.
Sugar Ray clocked the fastest time of the quarter-finals, 29.44 (550) following a majestic display from his favoured red box. Blasting out, PJ Fahey's black and white licked the paint on the inside rail all the way round, beating Skywalker Farloe a comfortable seven lengths with Barefoot Agent another length and-a-half away in third.
Now in his fifth year, the black and white son of Top Honcho is in tip-top form and has landed trap one again in the semi-final in which he once more faces Barefoot while the current outright favourite Laughil Blake goes from the six box.
Laughil won his heat by a neck from Deansridge Pennys (29.47) and will be fancied but Tyrur rarely loses from the inside and looks a certainty for the final.
Ballymac Vic returned from stud duties to compete in the Classic and has not put a foot wrong for owner Liam Dowling who also has Vulturi in the same semi-final.
Vic, also a five-year-old, is making his third bid for Derby glory and led all the way in his quarter-final, holding off the resolute challenge from Borneo by half-a-length (29.76). Like Tyrur, he goes from his beloved trap one and should join him in the decider a week on Saturday.
Meanwhile at Drumbo Park, a potential star stayer emerged in Pumpstreet Ciara, trained by Antrim's Frank Courtney.
She won a novice 835 in effortless style, coming home 10 lengths in front of the very experienced Camlin Tumble who himself is renowned for his stamina.
But he, like the others, just could not live with Ciara's surge approaching the fifth bend and she bounded clear, landing a nice few bets from evens into 4/7.
Her time of 47.07, is the fourth fastest for the trip with more likely to come come from the November '12 pup.
Catherine Drico was another eye-catching winner as the blue and white dog followed up a sprint victory with a comfortable 525 success for Hillsborough's Marina McKeown.
He had nine lengths in hand over reserve Ourlad Pat, clocking 28.75 and is clearly one to follow.
Irish Derby semi-finals for Saturday night (in trap order): First semi: Tyrur Sugar Ray; Barefoot Agent; Emers Superstar; Droopys Ward; Homless Boy; Laughil Blake (w).
Second semi-final: Ballymac Vic; Deanridge Pennys; Ivy Hill Prince; Vulturi;, Borneo (m); Skywalker Farloe (w).