View and Navas to glitter in Gold Cup
Two local dogs, Divis View and Droopys Navas, marked themselves down as contenders for next month's open £5,000 Caledonia Smooth Gold Cup (525) with brilliant victories at Drumbo Park on Saturday night.
Banbridge trainer Michael Taggart has found the key to Divis View. The black dog, owned by Belfast's Dessie Gilroy, took 12 races to win his maiden and that was the previous week in a lower grade.
He took the step up to A1 in his stride in fabulous style, coming from behind to clock 28.65, effectively 28.55 seconds allowing for the track being .10 slow (525).
Barntick Heart cut out the early pace and entered the back-straight ahead of the favourite Barnish Peter with Divis back in third.
Both Barnish and Divis mounted a strong challenge from the penultimate bend and turning for home, the prize was up for grabs.
When Heart moved wide, View took his chance on the inside and stayed on for a length victory with Peter the same distance back in third.
The winner is likely to line-up for the 36-dog event starting on Saturday October 25 as is Navas after his sparkling display for another Belfast owner, Stephen Townsley.
Following a spell on the injury list, the blue dog came in with a very smart sprint trial and showed any problems were firmly behind him, in giving the rest a rear view.
Navas came away from trap five and was soon in control, leading up and never being seriously challenged in defeating the stayer Clondotty Leona by an easy three lengths in 30.08.
The blue son of Tubbertelly Dubh is a worthy contestant for a crack at the £5,000 feature event next month.
Meanwhile, Hillsborough trainer Ronnie McKeown, who had a winner here with Black Gale, made the trip to Shelbourne worthwhile in landing a double with his classy Atitboy who justified odds-on in taking an open 525 in 28.72 and was then followed by 5/1 chance Westward Bound being successful in a 575 race (31.46 secs).
Atitboy, victorious in Drumbo's Toal's Northern Irish Derby back in June, will, all being well, be among the Caledonia Gold Cup entries.