Causeway lights up Derby with sensational 29.21 effort

COLLEGE Causeway wrote a piece of history when setting an incredible new track record in the first round of the Irish Derby at Shelbourne last night.

His time of 29.21 took a whopping 21 spots off the old record set in the Derby final of 2002 by Bypass Byway.

When the Mike and Vincent McKenna owned and Pat Buckley trained College Causeway flashed out of traps and was clear around the bend from Challengingtime, we knew we were in for a special performance. He was simply dazzling as he powered his way to a sensational time and an eight length winning margin from Challengingtimes with Coolavanny Ace in third.

Mind you, there was another special effort in the concluding heat as the Jerry Griffin trained St Louis Spirit landed a gamble in style. Flying out of six, St Louis Spirit flew around for a four length margin over Ardera Power in 29.52 with an overpowered English Derby winner Kinda Ready some four lengths further back in third.

There was an upset in the opener where the favourite Tyrur Bomber was knocked over on the opening bend as Skip One checked wide. Deanridge Ber had led up and continued to lead to the third bend where the Pat and Aoife Coffey owned Frisky Fantasy shot past to win by five and a half lengths from Deanridge Ber in 29.83 with Jemmy Doodlebeag a short head third.

Pat Gordon’s Champion Stakes winner Fatboyz Nodrog landed the odds in Heat 2 when flashing from traps and leading up from Skip One and Slip The Lark. The latter motored down the back and closed all the way but Fatboyz held on for a three parts of a length margin in 29.78 with Mid West Blue and Skip One also qualifying.

The third heat featured another major upset as red hot UK challenger Wise Thought was well and truly turned over by the Fraser Black trained Must Be Keano. The winner flashed from traps, moved sharply towards the inner rail but was three lengths clear of Wise Thought into the back. The favourite closed to the final bend but could make no impression from there and was beaten three parts of a length by Must Be Keano in 29.83 with Arcade Torres four lengths adrift in third.

The reigning champion Shelbourne Aston had a close call in Heat 4 but still managed to qualify for the next stage. Oran Classic showed big early to lead Ballymac Bondi and Kilkenny Kauto before the opening bend and quickly went clear. Shelbourne was baulked on the bend and had a lot of ground to make up. Oran went on to win by three and a half lengths from Ballymac Bondi in 29.78 with Shelbourne Aston getting up late to snatch third spot.

Another favourite was turned over in the fifth heat where Droopys Lee wasn’t the best away and had to play second fiddle to the Pat Buckley trained Cabra Minstral (Head Bound/ Cabra Dancer). Cabra had taken a bad fall last Saturday night but flew from traps here and led all for a two and a half length margin over Droopys Lee in a fast 29.74 with Kilhedge King another two lengths back in third.

Paddy Kehoe’s Forest Ruler came in as a reserve in Heat 7 and came from last to first to post a most impressive victory in the slowest time of the night. He came flying past the disputing leaders Archaton Pine and Baby Daddy Cool around the final bend and went on to win by a length from Baby Daddy Cool in 30.09 with Archaton Pine three lengths back in third.

Meanwhile the first round action in the Irish Derby will continue at Shelbourne tonight with a further nine heats and the main focus of attention will centre on Kiowa Myth as he becomes the first American racer ever to contest an Irish classic.

It would be a remarkable story if Kiowa Myth made significant progress in this classic for his Listowel born owner Bryan Dalton, who shares the dog with leading UK kennel owners Barney and Pauline O’Donnell. Despite the fact that he had a very rushed preparation for this severe test, it would be no surprise whatever to see him perform very well in Heat 9 this evening.

It is a relatively handy contest, though Fane Basher and Shanaway Rex are formidable rivals and are probably likely to dominate the contest. But reports suggest that Kiowa is a very strong runner and he can make his presence felt in what will be very strange surroundings for him.

Shortest priced favourite of the night will be the Owen McKenna trained Faypoint Man in Heat 13. Missing from this race will be Lleytons Dote, which runs in the Turner Leger semi at Enniscorthy this evening, and it should be a relatively handy exercise for the Patricia Flanagan owned speedster.

Sean Dunphy will be full of hope as he travels from Knocktopher with Bar Blackstone and the St Leger winner can show his class in Heat 10. He could be one of the bankers of the night if he progresses at all from his return contest at Shelbourne recently.

Others worth noting this evening are Oran Legend in Heat 12 and Ballymac Ruso, which can get the better of Faypoint Lad in Heat 14.

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Saturday, June 12, 2021

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