One trainer who will have an advantage over her counterparts is Dolores Ruth. The Rathangan based handler has already won an Irish Derby with Razldazl Billy and that experience will stand to her, as will the fact that she is double-handed tonight.
Both Razldazl George and Razldazl Bugatti have outstanding claims and Ruth is delighted to get this far with the half brothers. It’s an incredible achievement, but as she suggested “what makes this that little more special is that we bred both and that is really something”.
One dog that stands in their way is Rockchase Bullet. As was the case with last year’s winner Tyrur McGuigan, Rockchase has improved with each run through the Derby. He has impressed so much in his last three outings that he looks likely to be sent off favourite.
For his owner Richard Forrest and trainer Ronny Wuyts, it’s all been a bit of a blur. Not only is Rockchase Bullet their first Derby finalist, but he is also the first runner they have ever had in a Derby .
Forrest is a man enjoying the experience. His attitude is infectious and it’s clear to see how much enjoyment he is taking out of the entire experience.
This year’s Derby has rarely gone to script and those connected to the three remaining finalists will be hoping for just one more shock result. If Krug Ninety Five wins there will be incredible scenes.
He is contesting his third Derby final and few would begrudge his owners, Lawrence Blunt and Martin Wakefield, or handler Fraser Black a first Derby success. Not only did they go close with Krug Ninety Five last year, but they were also responsible for his sire, Droopys Maldini, who twice ran up the Derby .
Peter Cronin will be hoping that Rockview Head can belie his outsider status to become the third Derby winner this year to have passed through his hands. Peter handled both Taylors Cruise and Taylors Sky which won the Scottish and English Derbys respectively.
After a disappointing quarter-final run, the dog bounced back to his best in the semi-finals, suggesting he could have a big say in the final.
Dream Walker completes the line up and his owner John Egan will be hoping he can repeat his quarter-final form. That night he came storming through late to collar Razldazl Bugatti.
So what will emerge triumphant this evening? For the first time in this year’s Derby, Dolores Ruth isn’t responsible for the outright favourite. Instead that honour goes to Ronny Wuyts, who will be hoping Rockchase Bullet can justify his position in the betting.
Blessed with tremendous pace from start to finish, he might prefer a middle draw, but trap six can work in his favour here. With slow starters Krug Ninety Five and Razldazl George drawn on his inside, Rockchase Bullet seems likely to have a clear passage to the turn.
Razldazl George didn’t quite sparkle last week, but he remains a serious threat. Much will depend on how close he can turn to the pace.
On the rail his half-brother Razldazl Bugatti looks the likely leader, but he may depend too much on quick underfoot conditions. Rockview Head is one of the outsiders, but could still play a big part from a favourable draw in three. To cause an upset, he must repeat his very best form. Dream Walker will need a career-best effort, while Krug Ninety Five is probably going to have too much to do from halfway.
In short Rockchase Bullet would be a considerably shorter price if trained by a bigger name handler, but Ronny Wuyts is a cool customer and he will have his charge primed for this evening.
The final can be viewed live on RTE 2 this evening between 9 and 10pm.