Class Tells as reserve races in to land Drumbo final place
Four heats of the popular Robert Connolly Memorial Tri-Distance, worth £1200, held pride of place at Drumbo Park on Saturday night and saw three of the heat winners dip under 29 seconds for the 525 trip.
It's now onwards and upwards with the final over 575 in a fortnight's time.
Top honour in the opening round, has to go to the once-raced Tell On Blackie who came in as a reserve for the second heat and was not beaten, running a brilliant race for Coalisland owner Michael Corr in the second heat, sharing the spoils with the dead-heating Surprize Pup.
Blackie, having only her second run and first over four bends, was in command running down to the third where she had a four-length advantage.
Pup, a brindle from the Marina McKeown Hillsborough kennels, and a marathon winner the previous week, began to cut back the leeway and actually went ahead on the run-in before Blackie rallied to earn a dead-heat in 28.94.
Diego Paul got his first success in heat one for Craigavon owner Bobby Scullion after a good buckle with Kahune Bruce. Paul led round the first bend, but only marginally before Bruce took over. But that didn't last long as Diego renewed his challenge on the back stretch and regained the initiative before holding Bruce's determined effort by three-quarters in the same time as the opening heat (28.94).Beaming Brae took the third qualifying spot four lengths further back.
The third heat saw another tight finish and again the winner broke 29 seconds. Quare Maid, a black bitch out of the Hugh Maguire's Fermanagh kennels, showed her worth in her first race here.
Scullys Flo, a renowned stayer, put in a great effort in reducing the lead and only went down by a neck in 28.96. Third-placed qualifier Bandicoot Joshua will benefit for the forthcoming extra yardage.
Heyaftertheruce took the final heat, landing his maiden win and fulfilling some of the potential shown when narrowly beaten in a 17.97 sprint back in August.