However, for once, events on the other side of the Irish Sea will command most interest with two Irish trained trackers pursuing glory in the final of the Williamhill.com English Derby at Wimbledon.
The Dolores Ruth trained Razldazl George and the Paul Hennessy trained Barefoot Bullet have battled their way impressively through to the final and both will go to traps with outstanding prospects of claiming a place in the history books.
Razldazl George was intended for a home campaign until he failed by just a short head to beat Makeshift in the Easter Cup final at Shelbourne. Wimbledon then came into play and he has excelled around the track. He will be the strongest stayer in the line-up and it is interesting that he has run from the four box three times previously in his career and has won all three. Yes, he is well drawn and has a huge chance of victory.
Bryan and Kathleen Murphy will be making the long trek from the Cayman Islands for the occasion and how they will relish it after spending many years and a small fortune on winning the classic. This is their best chance and Barefoot Bullet is again running the track like a dream. The dog bred by Pat Desmond in Dunmanway ran a fantastic race in defeat in the semi and on that running has the beating of Taylors Sky if he can have a clear early run.
I reckon the trap draw has worked out a dream for the Irish dogs, though they would be better situated with Westmead Guru drawn inside Taylors Sky. Razldazl will favour a middle path while Barefoot will be moving wide throughout and they should not come in contact unless they are battling out the finish — and don’t rule out that possibility.
It will be a big night for Noel and Damian Fleming from Ballyduff Upper as they watch their former dog Taylors Sky in action. He is the favourite to win the classic and become yet another Derby winner for Charlie Lister. The draw has worked in their favour again but I suspect that Westmead Guru may cause him some problems on the run-up and that could swing it for the Irish raiders. I have fancied both right through the competition but Barefoot Bullet gets the vote to provide Hennessy and the Murphys with their first English Derby success.
The Sporting Press Irish Oaks is down to the quarter finals at Shelbourne on Saturday night with Marie Gilbert’s Mozzletoff the long odds favourite following a brilliant 28.46 win from Cool It Baby last weekend. She has her work cut out in a hot Heat 4 with Highview Horizon well capable of matching her early, while Inshaarla and Lemon Velvet will be motoring late.
Razldazl Alice yesterday joined Montblanc as withdrawals due to injury and Heat 3 now looks a battle between Calling Spice, Olympic Stunner and Mutual Decision. Droopys Twirl will need to step up on last week’s running to win the first heat where Shelbourne Abi, Beaming Olive and Killacolla Glory are major dangers. Cool It Baby is nominated as the night’s banker in the second heat.
The old stager Definate Opinion was the star of the opening round of the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger and, given the opposition, he can set a hot pace in the first heat of the second round on Saturday. What A Tornado was second fastest in the first round but he hit the front by halfway then and that is hardly his normal style. He may struggle to beat Pool Hawk which is capable of much better than he showed last week.
I would expect last year’s finalist Judicial Academy to step up on first round running when he contests Heat 8 while others that can pay to follow are impressive first round winner Killians Express in Heat 3, Shelbourne Geoff in Heat 5 and my ante post recommendation Paradise Casino in Heat 6.
Last year’s Laurels and Masters winner Tyrur Enda is the big name in the draw for the Paddy O’Sullivan Race of Champions at Tralee tomorrow. He hasn’t raced since the Masters last year due to injury but clocked 28.32 last week in a trial around Tralee.
Heat 1: 1 Croom Star; 2 Fleetwood Nick; 3 Master Blaster; 4 Tyrur Enda; 5 Rattling Tank; 6 Paradise Sahara (m).
Heat 2: 1 Pablo Supreme; 2 Movealong Tony; 3 Deerfield Music; 4 Piercestown Sand; 5 Tyrur Carey; 6 Asisola (m).
The valuable Bettor.com Northern Irish Derby second round will be run at Drumbo on Saturday and last week’s banker Cabra Legend is another nominated for that role. Other heat winners can be Rafas Wee Pet, Leeview Jet and Star Head.
The final of the Macroom Motor Services Stake is the big one at Curraheen on Saturday and Cracking Man can prove too nippy early for main rivals Broadstrand Dan and Millbankscarface. Then on Sunday there is a tremendous card at Clonmel featuring the third round of the Supporters Club Munster Derby and the first round of the Munster Dash.