Irish hopes in English Derby final

PLOUGH Lane will have a strong hint of green about it this evening as the Irish go in search of yet another victory in the williamhill.com English Derby. Our two representatives, Barefoot Bullet and Razldazl George, both hold outstanding claims in the stg£75,000 contest.

Favourite to emerge triumphant is the Charlie Lister-trained Taylors Sky, who started his racing career around Youghal.

There is no doubt he has a strong chance after posting record equalling times in his last two victories, but he needs to be at his very best this evening.

Barefoot Bullet looks well-housed in trap five as he bids to complete a Derby set for his handler Paul Hennessy. Having previously won both the Irish and Scottish Derbies, Hennessy will scarcely have a better chance of completing the hat-trick.

If he can produce one of his better starts, he looks likely to contest the early lead. If that were the case it would take something special from one of his rivals to contain the Bryan Murphy-owned star.

The same could be said for Razldazl George, however. He bids to claim a second English Derby for Dolores Ruth after the 1996 success of Shanless Slippy.

Razldazl faces a very tough draw in four, but it’s worth noting he has yet to be beaten from the “coffin” box.

Even if he can produce his best start of the competition, he may need luck to get around the likes of Westmead Guru and Bright Redcliffe at the opening turn. He is an exceptionally fast greyhound with wonderful tracking ability and is also the biggest finisher in the field.

While all eyes will be focused on Wimbledon, those who travel to Shelbourne Park can watch both the cross channel action and the quarter-finals of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks.

Most of the big names survived the opening two rounds and look likely to do so again this evening. Outright favourite Mozzletoff should qualify from Heat 4 but her task is far from straightforward.

Cool It Baby is nominated as the banker of the round in Heat 2 where her biggest threat is likely to come from Lady Lucielle.

Despite his advancing years, Definate Opinion looks the one to beat in the Kerry Agri-Business St Leger at Limerick. Pat Guilfoyle’s dog posted new figures for the 550yd trip last week and should have little problem adding to that success in the opening second round heat this evening.

First round winners Soviet Marco, Pull The Plug and Shelbourne Geoff clash in the fifth heat. Much will depend on the start, but slight preference goes to the progressive Shelbourne Geoff.

Cracker in prospect

CRACKING MAN can enhance his growing reputation by taking the Macroom Motor Services Stake final at Curraheen Park this evening.

Graham Holland’s rising-star suffered a shock first round defeat at the paws of Millbankscarface but rebounded in style in last week’s semis.

Although none too clever at the break last time, Cracking Man displayed phenomenal pace to put the race to bed by halfway, scoring unchallenged in 28.61.

If emerging on level terms tonight, Cracking Man has the gears to lead at the opening corner and will take the world of pegging back.

The Owen Mckenna trained Millbankscarface was hugely impressive when flooring the odds laid on Cracking Man on his penultimate start.

However, he didn’t build on that effort last week, failing by half a length to keep Broadstrand Dan at bay in 28.87, and will need to do everything right to clear Cracking Man in the early stages.

There was plenty to admire about Broadstrand Dan’s determined effort last week and the Produce Stakes finalist will be a huge threat if operating from a rails draw.

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