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Queen Joni Makes It A Category One Hat-trick In Kent Plate

Racing
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30 March 2024

There was a home winner at Central Park Stadium on Saturday night when Ashford’s Elizabeth McNair completed a one-two in the Arena Racing Company Kent Derby. 

The £12,500 competition was won by Queen Joni who finished ahead of kennel mate King Memphis and followed in the paw prints of FromPostToPillar who won the competition for the McNair family and the KSS Syndicate 12 months ago.

It was a third Category One success for Queen Joni in only six months after she landed the Produce Stakes at Swindon in September and the BGBF British Bred Derby at Sheffield in December.

She crossed the line in 28.91 seconds – her fastest time in seven runs over the 491-metre trip at Central Park – and finished one-and-a-half lengths ahead of King Memphis while Mark Wallis’ Whyaye Man was third.

King Capaldi, Droopys Reserve and Queen Shakira finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

An excited Rab McNair, assistant trainer to wife Elizabeth, confirmed after Queen Joni’s win that the prestigious English Greyhound Derby will be her primary target this summer with the Brighton Belle being targeted beforehand.

“She had the right box and was inside the two brothers (King Memphis and King Capaldi),” said McNair. “She’s got huge bottle to run to the corner with them, and she stands her ground – she is phased by nothing and is a serious bitch.

“I’ve always thought a lot of her, and I’ve always thought she’ll be a big contender in the Derby. She’s got the bottle to take them on, and the all-round pace.

“I thought (King) Memphis was going to pass her, but she doesn’t give up and no greyhound goes past her easily. She’s in great form and the kennel is flying, we can’t wait for the start of the Derby because our dogs are ready.

“The bitches will go for the Brighton Belle at Hove, we might send one or two up to Perry Barr for the Laurels and we have Judgement Night before the Derby.”

There was joy elsewhere on the card for trainers attached to Central Park as David Puddy’s Franco Jessica defeated odds-on favourite Tullymurry Getgo to land the Arena Racing Company Maiden Trophy in 30.23 seconds.

Paul Donovan’s popular Asbo Lenny reversed the form against Ballymac John from last weekend to win the Arena Racing Company Standard Trophy – his 21st career success from 47 runs.

Racing continues at Central Park Stadium on Saturday nights through 2024 with the first race each weekend due off at 6.38pm. The next Category One action is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, with the 70th running of the Kent Silver Salver – which was first held in 1933.

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