Fitting tribute to late Ronnie's prowess as prospect reaches Drumbo final
In a fitting outcome for late Hillsborough trainer Ronnie McKeown who was laid to rest on Saturday, one of his prospects, Sir Boley, raced to victory in the Aidan McAllister Greyhound Transport and DTSC first semi-final (525) on Saturday night.
Sir's kennel mate, Its Bimbo, broke first but Boley was in the right place on the inner to lead round and slightly hamper Wise Rebel on the turn. Down the back-straight, the pair had it between them but the positions didn't change and Boley prevailed by two lengths in 29.00. Coolykereen Rope finished third a length further back.
The winner is joined in Saturday's decider, worth £750 to the winner, by his litter brother, Boley's Fella, runner-up in the second semi-final. Saleen Hunter, unfortunate in being brought down in his first appearance at Drumbo a few weeks ago, showed his potential in emerging as an impressive winner of the second semi.
Brigadier Gerard, from Ginger McGee's Meath kennels, trapped sharply to lead at the bend where Hunter, a black dog handled by Belfast Michael McNeice for his New York-based brother John, was on the outside but saw the inside gap and drove it to follow Gerard into the back-straight.
Saleen came into his own here and was in top gear going to the penultimate bend in 16.42 before running on in, beating Boleys Fella by two lengths in a sharp 28.66. Gerard faded but took the third qualifying spot.
Antrim's Frank Courtney introduced a promising star in the unraced La Soldado, a black April 2016 Tyrur Big Mike pup who flew out to clock a super 17.97 over the sprint trip.
Nothing could match the pace of the youngster as he did a sectional time of 6.60 in beating Storm Magic seven lengths.
"He's the best pup I've had in a very long time," said Frank. "Unfortunately his owner is keen to take him to England so we may not see much more of him here."