Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Winner is some Pup as Marina springs a Surprize on Drumbo final rivals

By Robert Fenton

Surprise Pup put his stamp on Drumbo Park's Robert Connolly Memorial Tri-Distance with an impressive display in Saturday night's first semi-final over 550 yards.

The black dog was winning for the fourth time in a row, following his previous round's dead-heat when coming from behind.

Stamina is not an issue for this brindle, handled by Hillsborough trainer Marina McKeown for English owner Dudley Willmott.

Kittys Kai cut out the running alongside Pup around the first two turns and was marginally ahead midway down the straight, but once Surprize took over approaching the penultimate bend, the writing was on the wall.

Pup ran on strongly, lengthening away by seven lengths from runner-up Kai who just held on for second by a neck from Milldean Nicky O (30.31 seconds).

Bandicoot Joshua's strength came to the fore in the closing stages of the second 'semi,' the black dog getting up to deny the early leader Tell On Blackie by a length (30.42).

Blackie hit the ground running and was well clear turning the first two bends and down the far side. But Joshua was handily placed in third with Quare Maid getting a lovely run round the inside.

Turning for the home stretch, Bandicoot loomed up to the leader and the pair bumped before Joshua, owned by Craigavon's Eddie Rushe, moved to the front, going away to win while Quare Maid took the third spot, a length and a half further adrift.

The final line-up, not in trap order, over 575 is Bandicoot Joshua; Tell On Blackie; Quare Maid; Surprize Pup; Kittys Kai; Milldean Nicky O.

Fane Zeema came back to his best form for Belfast's David McErlean, justifying favourtism in leading from the front and holding off the challenge from Bangor Lily by three-quarters in the sharpest time over four bends (28.81), while Lurgan's John Byrne saw his brindle Coolykereen Risk justify strong market support in dipping under 18 secs (17.96) over the sprint distance.

Belfast Telegraph

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