Punk set to rock Drumbo
Droopys Punk served notice to his ability with a brilliant show for Belfast's Stephen Townsley on the dog's initial Drumbo race in the Open 550 semi-finals, worth £1,000 to next Saturday's winner.
A recent purchase after campaigning in Limerick's Irish St Leger where he was unluckily eliminated in the third round when brought down in the same heat as the eventual outright winner Priceless Brandy, Punk showed his prowess here with a fast 29.97 run.
Coming away from trap three, he led up from Ballymac Zoe and Coolykereen Jack and it was the latter who gave Droopys most to do when looming large at the third bend. However, there was no stopping Punk and he went away again in the final stretch to win convincingly by three and a half lengths while Zoe faded back in third.
Shes A Mover who was in superb pre-summer form, came back to her best for Belfast's Gavin Faulkner, notching up her eighth win in 18 outings and clocking her best time over the distance (30.27).
A black bitch, she clipped out in front of the Puppy Cup winner Monraud Turbo who has not been seen at Drumbo since that victory back in June. However, she is a fine stayer and put up a decent challenge, cutting back the leeway to a length at the line.
Bobby Scullion's Over Par ran on to qualify, three and a half further back, but they'll all have to go some to stop Punk rocking and rolling to that grand prize.
A great race in the closing stages of the first semi-final of the Robert Connolly Memorial, saw Mervin My Friend just hold off the chasing pack which saw four separated by two short heads and a head in the battle to qualify.
Mervin made maximum use of trap one and the Brian Macklin-owned black dog led round from Black Hollow and Slip The Cash with Scullys Flo crowded on the run-up and buffeted back to the rear.
Hollow put it up to Friend down the far side and into the home-straight while Flo was forced to check at the third bend. In the closing yards, four swooped but Mervin held on by a diminishing length and a half from Flo who stayed on well with Slip The Cash who was also a short-head back in third and the same distance to Liosgarbh Sally in fourth with Hollow fading back to fifth a further head back.
Craigavon's Bobby Scullion has two in the final following an easy win for Jetts Bertie who joins litter sister Scullys Flo in Saturday's decider over 575.