The betting market on the final is dominated by the Paul Hennessy trained What A Tornado and Michael O’Donovan’s Judicial Academy and they have been the two stars of the competition thus far. But finals are finals and pretty strong cases can be made for virtually all six.
Last December Judicial Academy was the fastest semi-finalist before going on to finish third behind Farley Turbo in the final. He was again quickest at the penultimate stage last Saturday when clocking a brilliant 29.56 but Pat Daly’s dog needs to make another slick start as he will need to clear his early paced near neighbours Varra Captain and Shelbourne Geoff to the corner.
Varra Captain is owned by Maura Casey from nearby Lisnagry and this dog is getting stronger with each outing. But, so too is the youngest finalist Shelbourne Geoff which is trained by Brian King in Nenagh. He always goes up well and loves the striped jacket.
Mary Crotty from O’Brien’s Bridge is the owner of Inislosky Magoo, the surprise packet of the classic and a very strong finisher. On the inside is the Peter Cronin trained Hey Gringo, a dog that has crept his way to the final and is quoted the 16-1 outsider.
But the real story of the classic has been What A Tornado, a dog owned by Michael Hogan from Clarecastle and this fellow will bring a huge supporting party. He had previously looked a very pacey greyhound, if lacking somewhat in consistency. But it has been totally different since he arrived at Limerick where he went up much better in the earlier rounds but in the semi-final came from last to be a fast finishing length and a half second behind Judicial Academy.
If this son of Crash gets a clear run it is going to be difficult for any of his rivals to hold him and he gets a narrow vote over Judicial Academy to take the €25,000 prize. Shelbourne Geoff can complete the placings. The Limerick action can be seen live on RTE 2 on Saturday night on a programme which goes out between 9 and 10pm, immediately following the GAA Championship action.
The other classic action this week will be at Harold’s Cross tomorrow in the second round of the Gain Feeds Corn Cuchulainn. The big race is Heat 3 where Express Trend is taken to restate her strong claims by leading home another very useful bitch Wonder Wag, Fleeting Image and fastest first round winner Momentinneyork.
Olympic Stunner was rather unlucky last week and looks hot for the opening heat while St Mullins Pride can beat Gold Ruby, Kerryroad Baba and Leap Of Faith in Heat 2. The last qualifier should go to Helmet Boy, though he would be much better suited by an inside draw.
There will be the usual hot fare at Shelbourne on Saturday with the semi-finals of the ECC Timber Open 550 the main event. This event was a major guide to the Champion Stakes and Derby last year and this year could be similar. Take the first heat where Denis Kiely’s exciting Shaneboy Fantasy will be opposed by the likes of Uncle Eoin, Razldazl Rioga and Zero Ten. Ollie Bray’s Royal Patrol is the dog to beat in the second heat where Mines A Pint is likely to step up on last week’s running.
Big race at Curraheen on Saturday will be the Ladbrokes.com Derby Trial Stake final but the major attraction on the night will be the parade of last weekend’s Oaks heroine Droopys Twirl. It will be a proud moment for owner Kieran Ryan and trainer John Linehan to be honoured by their own brethren. She can now go on to take on the “boys” in the Boylesports International at Dundalk.
The Macra Na Feirme “Know Your Neighbour” weekend is taking place on Friday and Saturday of next week and there will be free admission on both nights for all groups that want to “get to know your neighbour”. Details from 1890 269 969.
The major annual Friends of Kerry General Hospital Benefit Meeting takes place at Tralee tonight and there will be eight finals. Feature event will be the final of the Kerry Group Hospital A2 Stake where the red hot favourite will be the brilliant young prospect Deerfield Sings.
There will be plenty of counter attractions with the usual Bouncy Castles, Face Painting, Terrier Racing, Donkey Derby and lots more. All money collected this year will go to fund a new unit for the detection and treatment of bowel cancer. The action kicks off at 7.50 pm.
Mention of Tralee, former track star Christmas Box has been retired by Tom O’Connor and will be standing with him in Tarbert. This flying tracker was plagued by injuries throughout his career and he had a recurrence of the problem after he did that brilliant 28.06 record breaking trial a few weeks back. The son of Brett Lee and Shanless Euro should be very popular with southern breeders.