What a difference a week makes. Just eight days after Wolfe had turned over Dorotas Wildcat in the buckle of the first round, the Irish runners was bizarrely eliminated and the defending champ was majestic in victory.
Forget times and victories, for most racegoers and viewers the most memorable event of the second round was the elimination of the highly rated Wolfe. After a reasonable break, he powered to lead at the first bend but kept going straight on and allowed Roxholme Jim the inside line. Hayley Keightley’s runner looked all over the winner though the Graham Holland trained favourite looked certain to qualify. But he was distracted and virtually came to a stop at the third bend.
He ran on , not obviously injured but a distant last. There were no obvious signs of any outside interference and the race was rightly allowed to stand. The debate about what happened will no doubt continue.
Just 19 minutes later, the talk was of a sensational run from Dorotas Wildcat. Far from ideally drawn in four, the big black seized the initiative at the first bend and pulled away for a 29.43 victory. This is his third Derby and he looks as fast and consistent as ever.
However, Wildcat wasn’t the fastest on the night, that honour went to Droopys Expert – on marginally better going – in the opener. Clocking an identical sectional as the defending champ, Angela Harrison’s runner went one spot quicker in the next lap. The Newcastle trainer picked up a double on the night with Droopys Trapper producing a flawless run.
Half the heats went to Irish trainers with Derby favourite Skywalker Logan showing great determination to come from last to first, though also exposing his vulnerability as the competition continues.
Worseforwear was very businesslike in hit heat while there was a very satisfactory double for Paul Hennessy. His two winners came in entirely different style. Priceless Blake was ‘bang gone’, Jaytee Taylor did a very passable impression of Jaytee Jet and looks destined to keep qualifying.
In addition to Wolfe, the night’s other notable elimination was King Turbo who went out in a more traditional fashion. Liz McNair’s favourite found himself jammed into the rail at the first bend and was forced to check and be relegated to the back of the field.
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