Top dogs ensure £5,000 Drumbo final showdown will be pure Gold
A fantastic finale awaits in Drumbo Park's £5,000 Tennents Gold Cup decider on Saturday night following three tremendous semi-finals won by Common Man, Quietly and Shutthe Backdoor.
Less than two lengths separate the trio on the watch with Brendan Matthews's Newry-based ShuttheBackdoor emerging best in 28.53.
The black dog made all in the third heat, breaking sharply from Ballymac Ricky who made a mess of the first turn and put paid to Wee Barneys Son. Moving smoothly down the far side, Backdoor stayed on better than the previous week, beating Drumsna Castle by four and a half lengths in a top-class display by the Irish Derby semi-finalist.
There is certainly nothing ordinary about Common Man, the black dog owned and trained by Dundonald's John Shaw and partner Margaret Campbell, showing his prowess in great style.
Ideally drawn in trap one, he made mince-meat of his opponents with a brilliant six lengths win over another Irish Derby semi-finalist Blue Cafu.
The pair opened at 6/4 joint-favourites but unbelievably, Common drifted out and was easy to back at 9/4 in places, before being returned 2/1 joint. Those who took the odds, had only a moment's concern when Blue Cafu came away with him but Man's pace to the corner told and once he went round, he soared away for a highly impressive display of pace and stamina.
Ian Reilly's pacey Quietly, last year's Puppy Derby winner, did the business in the second 'semi' from trap-to-line. He was beaten on the run for home in the opening round, but had a big enough lead to hold on this time.
His cause was helped by a poor start from Ivy Hill Bart in trap six and the latter was severely crowded with the others rounding the first bend. By the time he recovered, Quietly was away and gone, holding a substantial lead down to the third bend. Bart put in a fine effort to cut back the leeway but it was much too late, the winner clocking 28.63 secs.
Final line-up in trap order: 1: Drumna Castle; 2: Quietly; 3: Common Man; 4: Blue Cafu; 5: Shutthe Backdoor; 6: Ivy Hill Bart