While many of the bigger names will be in action in the Easter Cup and the Produce Stakes, there is classic final action also at Mullingar where the final of the Gain Feeds Cesarewitch promises to be an absolute thriller between the defending champion Definate Opinion and the rising young star Kingo.
These two star trackers have dominated this 600 yard classic to a huge degree and it will be a major surprise if neither takes the final.
Adding to the intrigue is that they are housed side by side in traps four and five and both will be seeking an inside path, though Kingo wouldn’t be as committed a railer as the champion.
We have to stick the neck out on this one and we will plump for the experience and know-how of the Pat Guilfoyle trained Definate Opinion to just get the better of the Dolores Ruth trained Kingo.
Any bumping between the pair would leave the road open for such as big finishing Master Blaster, the well housed local runner Music For Fun, another local Castlehill Billy and Bog Road Joe which will be bidding for another big success for Waterford handler Peter Cronin after his big win at Tralee last weekend.
The anticipated attendance at the midlands venue will get real value for their cash as they will also be able to enjoy all the red hot action from Shelbourne where the second round of the College Causeway/Killahan Phanter Easter Cup will surely produce some spectacular action.
Many of the leading fancies made their exit in the opening round but my original fancy for outright honours, Broadstrand Lad, is still in there despite a badly fluffed start last weekend.
John Linehan’s Broadstrand Lad goes in the opening heat where a trap two draw should assist him in beating Quick Lee and Fatboyz Tyson in the vital run to the first bend.
If he leads he wins but the likes of Tranquil Time, Tyrur Carey and Tolerton Crasher will all be motoring home.
If Tyrur O Gorman can repeat last week’s running he might be too strong for Ballymac Tipp in Heat 2 while Slippery Bob will have benefited from his week break to lead home a high class field in Heat 3.
The last heat could be left to Razldazl George, though he could have a bit of ground to make up on Asisola and Cian Abbey.
Before we leave the Shelbourne topic, there was welcome news during the week with the confirmed sponsorships of the Ted Hegarty 600 and the Healthcare & Transport Puppy Oaks. They will carry winners’ prizes of €20,000 and €7,000 respectively and will commence on April 23rd and April 21st respectively with both finals on Saturday, May 14th.
The McCarthy Group Insurance Oaks commences at Curraheen Park on Saturday and it is disappointing that only 31 entries were received for a valuable competition.
The clash with the new Limerick Oaks, which only concluded last weekend, obviously had a major effect on the number of bitches available and this situation should be closely examined before the 2012 calendar is finalised.
The brilliant early pacer Calling Spice is the big name in the Oaks draw and other leading contenders include Tyrur Tinkerbell, Razldazl Alice, Borna Del, Express Gem, Fatboyz Dizzy, Ballymac Linda and Gogetemclaire.
On the subject of Curraheen, it has been confirmed that the Barry’s Tea Open 750 will commence on Saturday, April 23rd and there will be a winner’s prize of €4,200 for the 48 dog event.
This will be the first serious test of the year for the top stayers and it should attract a high class entry from all over the country.
In many ways the most significant competition of them all commences at Clonmel tonight when the first six heats of the Red Mills Produce Stakes will be run.
What we can guarantee is that many of the names that might mean nothing to you at the moment could well become headline makers in the months and seasons ahead.
A dog that has already shown his considerable ability around Clonmel will be one of the big attractions this evening.
We refer to the Shanks Whelan owned Piercestown Sand, winner of the Open Unraced Stake in Coursing Week and having his first run since taking that final.
He goes in a tricky enough Heat 5 with Paul Hennessy’s Colorful Marco, Pat Buckley’s Beaming Therapy and Michael Pomfret’s Freedom Marconi among his rivals. Owen McKenna’s Power Charge in Heat 3 is another worth noting this evening.
The big clash on Sunday could be in Heat 8 where Happy Hermit, Positivity, Modges Hawk and Colourful Bolt will all be strongly fancied. The early pace of Happy Hermit could prove decisive here.
It will be very interesting to see how Rockchase Bullet performs in Heat 9.
He really caught the eye in the Juvenile Classic at Tralee and will be strongly tested by the likes of Crossfield Jet here.
The draw for the McCarthy Insurance Group Oaks to be run on Saturday is
Heat 1: 1 Tyrur Tinkerbell; 2 Razldazl Alice; 3 Saleen Paris; 4 Rising Lyric; 5 Mossend Folly (m); 6 Lady Lucielle (w).
Heat 2: 1 Six Joys; 2 Heres The Deal; 3 Josettes Book; 4 Ballyhooly Queen; 5 Express Trick; 6 Brogan Beetlebug (m).
Heat 3: 1 Newlawn Martina; 2 Millridge Focus; 3 Borna Del; 4 Express Gem; 5 Reata Style; 6 Zaracova.
Heat 4: 1 Fatboyz Dizzy; 2 Fitz Blackie; 3 Julia; 4 Kranky Ma; 5 Rahyvira Smurf; 6 Fionas Ranger (m).
Heat 5: 1 Calling Spice; 2 Mossend Nicki; 3 Ballymac Linda; 4 Canavour Lady; 5 Gogetemclaire; 6 Borna Client (w).