Vedfield Emperor produced a much-improved and top-class performance when winning the first semi-final of the valuable Greyhound & Pet World A1 525 at Curraheen Park on Saturday night.
A 17.50 sprint winner here last month, he was beaten on his first couple of starts over four bends but made the breakthrough with victory in last weekend’s opening round, where he led early and just had enough to repel all challengers.
Owned by Julie O’Sullivan and Declan Murphy, the lightly raced tracker is out of Dromore Hingis, who is a half-sister to 2010 Tralee Juvenile Classic winner Dromore Dazzler and 2009 Barry’s Tea 750 finalist Echo Lady. That class shone through on this occasion as he posted a sizzling 3.29 opening split to race clear past the judge on the first circuit.
Droopys Comedian showed pace down to the third bend but when he swung wide off the last, Vedfield Emperor extended his advantage and raced to a three-length victory in 28.47. On that form he’ll be the one to beat in next week’s final and afterwards his attention is likely to be turned to the Laurels.
The second semi-final went to the promising Prima Vera, trained by John Kiely for Stephen Buckley. She and market leader Mickys Trickster had a real buckle to the bend but her wider path paid dividends as she swept clear of her rival, which appeared to be slightly hampered at the corner. A couple to the good racing down the back, she ran on strongly to hold the favourite’s challenge quite comfortably in 28.75.
Droopys Delfino produced a strong-running effort to take the third semi-final for trainer Johnny Linehan and owners Noel and John Crowley. Moderately away, he moved for the rails early and sat on the fence in fourth place as the field moved for the turn. A gap opened as they turned out of the second turn and he quickly filled it before powering clear to score impressively in 28.53.
Trainer Michael Spillane landed both semi-finals of the Vetsearch and Greyhound & Pet World A3 550 courtesy of litter sisters Elle Driver and Cottonmouth. The former raced third for much of her heat but she engaged overdrive in the latter stages, hitting the front in the homestraight before bounding clear in 30.33. Cottonmouth had a lovely draw along the rails in the second semi-final and she led at the turn and saw off the challenge of Burgess Special quite readily in 30.18.
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