Oaks final promises to be an epic

It’s another massive weekend to savour with the highlight being the final of an absorbing looking Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park on Saturday.

A second classic, the Accelerated Drain Corn Cuchulainn will reach the semi-final stage at Harold’s Cross tomorrow while the same night the valuable Lynch Family ‘Paddy O’Sullivan’ Race of Champions will be run at Tralee.

However, the Oaks final stands supreme and the the final promises to be an epic.

West Cork native Mick O’Donovan, well established outside Cashel, stands on the brink of achieving a lifetime ambition. He has had six previous Oaks finalists and will bring two bitches to Dublin on Saturday for this year’s final, Lady Glenard and Another Issue.

Both have outstanding chances and one hopes that they don’t hinder each other in those vital early yards as they are drawn side by side in three and four. If Lady Glenard can repeat her electrifying start of last week, then she must have a real chance of crediting Skibbereen owner Jenny O’Driscoll with the top prize.

However, one must fancy the Fraser Black trained Maireads Fantasy to take this prize. She has been quite superb and, like Lady Glenard, has reached the final unbeaten. If this McCarthy Insurances Cork Oaks winner gets away smartly from the five box then the prize could be wrapped up.

Ante-post favourite Skywalker Queen remains one of the leading fancies and if she is up with the pace on the second bend then victory is likely to be hers. She is a wide runner but has stunning pace and is a powerful finisher. It is difficult to make cases for either Shades Of Soul or Bling Bling Flo but if there is trouble among the big four on the outside, then this pair of bitches will be very much involved.

There is a fantastic card on offer at Shelbourne on Saturday and the Paddy Power Irish Derby Trial Stake will be a real cracker with English Derby runner-up Wise Thought, Irish Derby finalist Advantage Johnny and the rising star Mesedo Blue among the entries.

Prior to that the semi-finals of the Accelerated Drain Cleaning Corn Cuchulainn at Harold’s Cross tomorrow will provide two super races with the battle between Corporate Attack and Ferdia Bound in the first heat a possible feature. Hello Hippy and Rough Robinho could battle it out in the second heat.

There is a super card on offer at Tralee tomorrow where the Lynch Family “Paddy O’Sullivan” Race of Champions brings together a top class field. The trap draw has made it a very interesting affair but Faypoint Man and Ballymac Ruso look like dominating the betting market.

The destination of the €15,000 prize will probably be decided by how Faypoint Man breaks from three and whether he can clear Cash Dream to the bend. Meanwhile, Ballymac Ruso is likely to have a great run up the outside and he can provide owner Patsy Byrne with a repeat success after Melodys Pat’s victory a year ago.

The card has been increased to eleven races to cater for the huge number of entries and there all sorts of attractions on the night. These include free draws for a number of valuable prizes ranging from a Table for four at the Punchestown Festival to tickets for All-Ireland football finals and there is also a Best Dressed Award for the ladies with a prize of €1,000. Indeed, the ladies will be pampered on the night as there will be a champagne reception for them on entering the stadium.

Remaining with Tralee, the semi-finals of the various Hospital Sweepstakes will be run at Saturday’s meeting and that major benefit night will be run next week. Among the other major events this weekend are the final of the Munster Derby and the Munster Dash at Clonmel on Sunday and the second round heats of the Oran Majestic Unraced at Galway on Saturday.

The traditional St Joseph’s Foundation sponsored meeting at Curraheen Park will be staged this year on Friday, July 10th. There will be races over all distances and entries close on Monday, July 6th at noon.

Entries close tomorrow for a €1,250 24 dog A4 525 while Tuesday next will be the closing date for the Getting Out A1 575 and the €1,400 24 dog O’Coileans Bar A2 550.

The annual Irish & European Holdings A3 Tri Distance will commence on Saturday, July 11th and will be run over 525, 550 and 575. There are a couple of one-off races coming up, D5 750 on July 9th and an A3 Novice 750 on July 16th. The next Sales at Curraheen Park will be on Tuesday, August 11th and entries are being accepted.

Cashmans Bookmakers will again be sponsoring free admission at Youghal Track each Monday during the month of July. This very popular sponsorship has been a massive success at the East Cork venue and should again result in bumper Monday night attendances for the four weeks in question. The Cashmans 700 will also be run over the concluding two Mondays of July.

Tomorrow’s Youghal card features the three semi-finals of the Shanagarry A4 Stake and the two heats of the Paddypower Derby Trial Stake. Commencing next Friday will be the 24 dog Youghal Veterinary A4 Stake and it will be followed a week later by one of the year’s highlights at the track, the Hondo Black Southern Oaks which will have a winner’s prize of €6,000.

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