Sand can make most of rails pitch

Broadstrand Lad and Tyrur Big Mike may have turned four years of age last weekend, but the two brilliant performers retain every ounce of their ability if their latest displays in the Easter Cup are an accurate indication.

Tonight the veteran duo will attempt to belie their advancing years once again as they look set to start favourite in their respective semi-finals.

To highlight the quality of those remaining in the stake, the rank outsider in the ante-post betting is Kingo, who is both a Classic winner and runner-up.

It’s not surprising the off-course firms are struggling to nominate a clear favourite with Piercestown Sand, Broadstrand Lad, Razldazl George and Tyrur Big Mike all heading the market with at least one firm.

Broadstrand Lad lines out in the opening semi-final and while he will start favourite, nothing short of his best will suffice. Much will depend on how John Linehan’s star performer handles his trap three draw.

With Coolykereen Imp, drawn in trap one, likely to edge to the middle of the track in the early yards it could be a bit of a lottery to the turn. Both Coolard Chief in two and Broadstrand Lad may need a little luck if they are to get around unscathed.

This could allow the three dogs on the outside to make their presence felt. Tyrur Willyjoe in six is arguably the best drawn of the trio. He posted the fastest time of the competition in the opening round and a repeat of that effort could see him go very close.

Razldazl Will lines out in trap five and while he has yet to live up to the promise he displayed as a puppy, he remains a greyhound of huge potential. The other runner is Pablo Supreme and one suspects he could be ready to put his best foot forward. In theory he is very well drawn in four and with one of his better starts he could make a bold bid.

In truth it’s not a contest for the fainthearted. It’s difficult to see this being a cleanly run race, which means luck will play a big part in the outcome. Broadstrand Lad is a worthy favourite, but it’s easy to see why the likes of Tyrur Willyjoe, Pablo Supreme and Coolykereen Imp would prove popular in the ring.

The second semi-final is no less easy to forecast despite the withdrawal of talented Airforce Frankie, who was found to be lame following his quarter-final.

If anything, his absence makes this contest even more intriguing.

Tyrur Big Mike is probably the best drawn greyhound (in three) and should come in for strong support after a stunning quarter-final display, but seven days on he faces a far stiffer test with Gold Cup hero Piercestown Sand and reigning Derby champion Razldazl George in attendance.

Tyrur Big Mike is a short price to the lead around the turn, but if he repeats his wide running antics, both Piercestown Sand and Razldazl George could be too close for comfort.

Piercestown Sand seems guaranteed the clearest run on the fence and this could swing the decision his way.

There were some fine displays in the opening round of the Connolly’s Red Mills Produce Stakes at Clonmel on Thursday night with the Pat Buckley-trained Paradise Martini going fastest when recording a superb 28.51 and his trainer will be hoping Lisnakill Jack can follow his kennel companion’s lead tomorrow night when the opening round comes to a conclusion.

The son of Tyrur Lee displayed massive pace and promise in his latest outing at Shelbourne Park over 600yds and while he would prefer slightly further he does look a serious challenger for outright honours. He faces some notable opposition, including Jacobs Courage and Subway Gerry, but Lisnakill Jack is potentially a bit special and is a confident selection.

Owen McKenna also had a winner on Thursday with Confident Rankin and he can record an opening-round double with Camas in Heat 7. Blessed with terrific early dash, he can make all.

Others that appeal in their heats include Cashen Mafuma in Heat 6, Skip Soda in Heat 10 and Boherna House in Heat 12, while it will also be interesting to see how Room For Ruso, who posted 28.48 in his debut in late March, performs in Heat 5.

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