The weather was expected to improve overnight so there should have no problems in making it in plenty of time.
There has been one Irish withdrawal, the Dolores Ruth trained Cuil Hawk (off-colour) but that still leaves us with 20 runners and a very decent chance of capturing the prize in the May 26 final.
The Irish runners tomorrow night are Bombolini, Longrange Ivor, Barefoot Allstar, Razldazl Bugatti, El Clive, Razldazl Rioga, Brae Boy, Shelbourne Geoff, Tynwald Bolt, Burst of Magic and Razldazl Jayfkay. The remaining nine will run on Saturday.
Despite the huge number of Irish runners across the water, there is a magnificent entry for the Larry Dunne Open 525 which closed yesterday with exactly 36 entries. The last entry to come in was the great Tyrur Big Mike over a trip that is arguably just that bit short of his best.
Another very interesting entry is Sparta Maestro, in his first race since last November. Sparta will contest a hot opening heat where main rival is expected to be Liam Dowling's young early paced star Ballymac Vic.
A fascinating card at Shelbourne will comprise of the six Dunne heats, the four second round heats of the Betfair 600 and the semi-finals of the Healthcare Transport Services Puppy Oaks.
The Red Mills Produce Stakes at Clonmel on Sunday are entitled to top billing. The trainer who has dominated the competition thus far is Owen McKenna and he has a third of the remaining 12 contenders.
Three of the McKenna runners will clash in the second heat but Confident Rankin has to be the choice above kennel companions Camas and Airforce Zulu but Cashen Mafuma and Jacobs Courage are early pacers with lovely inside draws and they will be a threat to all. The line-up is completed by the big finishing Pagani.
McKenna has Power Of God in the first semi but he needs to recapture the slick starting of his Shelbourne runs if he is to figure in a race where Dear Pa and Beaming Mark are likely to contest the early lead. Paradise Martini is a danger to all while strong finishing Captain America and Ballybough Hawke must also enter calculations.
The Lee Strand 550 second round will be run at Tralee on Saturday night and Paul Hennessy certainly didn't enjoy the rub of the green when his two impressive first round winners Money Talks and Buddy Minor were drawn in opposition in Heat 6. The latter is owned by Charlie and Noeleen McCreevy but the Tony and Lorraine Howard owned Money Talks is probably just the better of the pair at the moment.
There were a number of them that impressed me in the opening round and two others worth mentioning are Eileen Moloney's Perles Godetia and Eamonn Cronin's debutant Soviet Lightning which showed great track sense despite his lack of experience.
A new Track Supporters Club 48 dog Open Unraced Stake will be run at Tralee in conjunction with the Betdaq Race of Champions and all entrants must be members of the Supporters' Club. It will commence on Friday, June 9th.
The second round of the Roche's Feeds Oaks will also be run on Saturday night at Limerick and one had to be impressed by Graham Holland's Killinan Dancer as she won in 28.24. She will have a battle on hand to lead Tyra Cool to the bend while Tailteann Queen must be another danger in the third heat. Holland has another strong contender in Trixies Post which led all last weekend but has a tough test with Seans Ranger and Fitz Blackie among her rivals.
Curraheen is in between majors but there will be a big night on Saturday week when the annual GOBA programme will be popular. The heats of five GOBA Stakes will be run over the weekend with the finals to be run a week later on a card that will also include A1 525, D2 750, A4 Non Winners 525 (at least 4 races run) and Veterans Race (six oldest dogs entered).
The Macroom Motor Stakes, for 24 dogs (Jan '10) and €3,500 prize, starts on Saturday, May 12th while the Barry's Tea 750, for 36 dogs and €3,500, will start a week later. There will be three 750 yard races on Friday of next week in the build-up to the Barry's Tea and these will be Open, Novice and A3 Novice.
Saturday's card includes the final of the GOBA Guys And Dolls and the meeting is a fundraiser for the Niall Mellon Township Trust.
On Saturday night also a Karaoke will be held after racing, beginning at 10.30 pm. Karaoke is now a regular fixture at the track and a session will be held on the last Saturday of each month. The prize for the winner this week will be Dinner for Two at the Stadium.
A new event announced for Waterford is the 24 dog Noel Ryan Tree Surgeon Open 550 with a prize of €3,000 and a Waterford Cut Crystal Trophy. The heats will be run on Saturday, June 2nd with the final of the three-run event to be run on Saturday, June 16th.
These are exciting times at Tralee where the entire second round of the Lee Strand 500 will be run on Saturday night. The Friday card will include the first round heats of the Droopys Stud A1 550 and the semi-finals of the Kerry Ladies Football A3 500 Buster Stake.
This year's Hospital Benefit Meeting will be held earlier than normal and so entries are currently being taken for the Kerry Group Hospital A2 525.
Draw for the first round of the Larry Dunne Open 525
Heat 1: Minefield; 2 Hillcroft Joe; 3 Ballymac Vic; 4 Tyrur Domingo; 5 Sparta Maestro (m); 6 Subway Gerry (w).
Heat 2: 1 Flandys Ryan; 2 Dundrum Master; 3 Frankel; 4 Barefoot Missile; 5 Tyrur Big Mike; 6 Laughil Billy (m).
Heat 3: 1 Forest Rock; 2 Kingsmill Messi; 3 Loughteen Blanco; 4 Droopys Cain; 5 Danmar Benny; 6 Lolos Hope.
Heat 4: 1 Fridays Carroll; 2 Priceless Spark; 3 Tyrur Lanney; 4 Deenside Brae; 5 Harbour Watch (m); 6 Skip Soda (w).
Heat 5: 1 Lolos Joe; 2 Skywalker Puma; 3 Mister Glenard; 4 Minesasmallone; 5 Bling Bling Buzz (m); 6 Droopys Hutton (w).
Heat 6: 1 Pablo Supreme; 2 Swift Marathon; 3 Piercestown Con; 4 Kokoro; 5 Mays Milan (m); 6 Tyrur Djokovic (w).