It was a bitter-sweet occasion for Antrim's Brian Macklin who should have enjoyed two wins in the semi-finals of Drumbo's Punters' Pack A2 (525), worth £400 to the winner. Instead he had to make do with one, in the shape of Barnish Pete who has advertised his ability before.
All Barnish had to do from trap one was make the first turn in front and the outcome would be inevitable. And the black dog duly pulled further clear in the home straight from Ferneys Revenge who was finished four and a half lengths back in a very fast 28.72. Derryerin was third, eight lengths behind the runner-up.
A pulled muscle for Knifeandfork denied Brian a certain victory in the second heat. The blue dog looked home and hosed when soaring clear off the third bend. But turning for the final stretch, he moved out wide and faded into third as the 6/4 'jolly' Rayhivra River, trained by Ronnie McKeown for Dundrum's Gerard White, rallied up the inner to win by a length in 29.18.
Cowslip, fast away and leader into the back-straight, got up for a short-head second with the unfortunate Knifeandfork holding on for the third qualifying spot.
Another £400 event, this time over 575 (A3), is also down for decision on Saturday and Calheme Rover, a young pup owned by Ballymoney's Alan Hurd, showed a liking for the longer trip, leading all the way for a two lengths success over Mark Street Lass (31.82).
Belfast's Gary McComb's black bitch Dangeray Lauren was an all-the-way winner in the first semi-final in 31.78 secs.