The first round concluded with a mixture of shocks and winning odds-on favourite, plus a fourth winner for the in-form Peter Cronin in the opening heat.

All eyes were 0n the 28.28 Limerick winner Droopys Biker (4) who had been eliminated from the Con Kirby Memorial in the third round. Yet it was the eventual runner-up in that stake – Da Head Hunter (Droopys Scolari-Sammi Ya, Jan 16) who would dominate with Biker doing well to scrape through in a fourth qualifying slot.

DA HEAD HUNTER (t3) opens Saturday’s action by leading home Droopys Bonucci (t6).Photo: © Steve Nash

Bombers Bullet (Droopys Cain-Headford Hoe, Apr 15) began his career in the shadow of his owners’ more celebrated star, with the ‘Bruisers’ prefix. But the dog whose career started off in A5 company took another big step forward when impressively landing heat 20 in his fastest time to date – 29.08. He ran from trap two . . .

BOMBERS BULLET is clear at the turn in heat 20 from Knockard Spring (t3) and runner up Rio Coco (t6). Crossfield Giles (t5) can’t get a run and is about to go out.Photo: © Steve Nash

Longford 550 track record holder Tyrur Harold (Tullymurry Act-Badminton Girl, May 15) had made a complete hash of exiting the traps on his last two visits to Towcester. He was barely much better in a race that trainer Charlie Lister could barely have set-up better. Taking full advantage of a plum red draw and empty traps, he had way too much class for the opposition.

On 15th November, Magical Bale (Zero Ten-Sizzling Sarah, Jan 16) led home Innocent Times by four and three quarter lenngths in the ECC Puppy Derby over Towcester’s 500m course clocking 29.10 on normal going. On May 5, Magical Bale led home Innocent Times by four and a quarter lengths in 29.07 (N) . . .

TYRUR HAROLD leads early from Salacres Vincent (t4) and Lightfoot Caesar (t3) in the four runner heat 21 where three qualified – t6 Colston Magic missed out.Photo: © Steve Nash

It is almost two years since Bubbly Bluebird (Droopys Sydney-Broadstrand Xola, Sep 14) burst onto the open race scene with ten consecutive open race victories. More recent form was more patchy with six consecutive defeats on his card. But in what always looked the feature event of the night, Paul Young’s blue reminded punters that he is still a force to be reckoned with. Check out that sectional! Commiserations too for trainer PJ Fahy whose Tyrur Shay failed to qualify. The decision to run the 2017 Derby runner-up was clearly vindicated with the track record holder almost overcoming a bad break and bumping only to fail to qualify by a head in a very tough heat. Surely he can’t be ‘re-retired’ just yet?

Joint fastest sectional of round 5.12 by Bubbly Bluebird (t1) quickly puts heat 23 to bed. Wildfire Legend (t2) and Bull Run Button (t3) give chase in a heat where TR holder Tyrur Shay (out of shot) bowed out.Photo: © Steve Nash

Drive On Tipp (Droopys Scolari-Mohane Patient, Jan 15) was a first bend casualty in the 2017 Derby but made no such error this time around. Drawn white in one of the less competitive heats, he comfortably made up for an ordinary start and 5.37 sectional to get home by two and a half lengths.

Heat 24 saw Kirby Memorial winner Droopys Davy (t6) go out. Truth Matters (t1) leads early from Onlyattheroyal (t2) and the almost hidden winner Drive On Tipp (t3).Photo: © Steve Nash

The shock result shows Scottish Derby winner The Other Reg eliminate after breaking badly and bouncing off the outside of a first bend traffic jam. But a bland result says nothing about how the race was run. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, could you pick the winner Black Farren (Droopys Cain-Ballycowen Moll, Apr 15) at the midpoint of the contest. . .

BLACK FARREN (t3) finishes well on the outside of Greenwell Jet (t6) to win heat 25 completing his brilliant recovery from first bend bumping.
Photo: © Steve Nash

The winner of the first ever heat of a Towcester Derby was a suitable and impressive winner of the last qualifier in the 2018 first round. In his 60th open race, dual distance star Murrys Act (Tullymurry Act-Brave Maeve, Mar 15) reminded the world that he still has plenty to offer.


All footage courtesy RPGTV