The main race promises to be one of the best contests of the year and literally any of the six could win the €30,000 prize.
The previous feature final run at Shelbourne was the Easter Cup where Dolores Ruth had three finalists and they proceeded to finish second, third and fourth. Amazingly, the same three dogs — Razldazl George, Razldazl Will and Kingo — have qualified for this final. Kingo was actually the winner of this event a year ago and will be bidding to become only the second ever dual winner of the competition. The other was Ballybeg Prim.
Standing in the way of the Ruth squad will be three terrific trackers in Tibetan Skies, Rockchase Bullet and Crossfield Star. Owen McKenna’s Tibetan Skies is owned by Eimear Coffey and is a powerful dog over this distance, though he is inclined to leave himself with a bit to do. Last year’s Derby favourite, Rockchase Bullet, hasn’t yet hit top form but is getting there while Crossfield Star has been the revelation of the stake. Brendan O’Shea’s dog has really thrived in this competition and from six he can score a famous victory.
There will be no fewer than eight Irish runners in the third round of the William Hill English Derby at Wimbledon on Saturday. It is beginning to look as though this is going to be Ireland’s year, with our runners dominating the classic thus far.
Razldazl Jayfkay put himself on a different plane last week while Judicial Ruling also burst right into the picture. The unfortunate news is that Paul Hennessy has withdrawn his Scottish Derby winner Barefoot Allstar as he picked up a shoulder muscle problem and it hasn’t responded sufficiently quickly to treatment. Despite his absence you can stand by for some further brilliant Irish performances this time although it’s a pity Judicial Ruling, Razldazl Bugatti and Tinas Nova clash in a hot Heat 8.
The third round heats will be shown on Sky Sports 3 on Saturday, starting at 8.30 and running to 11 pm.
There should be a smashing contest for the final of the Roche’s Feeds Oaks at Limerick next Saturday with the slowest time of any of the finalists being 28.57. Ger Kiely and Graham Holland have two finalists apiece while also there are Gary Loughnane’s Tyra Cool and Grace Lennon’s Lacken Rua. It’s difficult to split them but the red jacket may swing it for Kiely’s Airmount Swank.
The card also includes the semi-finals of three other competitions and a Mini Open 525 final.
Tomorrow’s meeting at Limerick will be a fundraiser for Knockea National School and there will be an extra night’s racing on Monday, with the nine race card commencing at 7.45pm.
The stayers will get their first major competition of the year next week with the Barry’s Tea 750 commencing at Curraheen Park on Saturday week. Entries will close next Tuesday for a 36 dog event that carries a winner’s prize of €3,500. The Getting Out Race the same night will be a €350 A1 525.
There will be a fundraiser in aid of College Corinthians AFC on Friday 25th and the card will include Open 525, A1 575, A2 550, A3 575, A4 575 and A5 525. Entries are also being accepted for the next Sales on Tuesday, June 19.
The Lee Strand 550 semi-finals top an interesting card at Tralee tomorrow and there will be much attention on Soviet Lightning’s performance in the opening heat. Unbeaten from three runs, he looks a real prospect. Crossfield Dazl and Perles Godetia can follow him through to the final. Paul Hennessy trained kennel companions Money Talks and Buddy Minor clash in the other semi and this time Money Talks can reverse earlier placings. Saturday’s meeting will be a fundraiser in aid of Park FC.
Also tomorrow, the second round of the Red Mills Champion Unraced will be run at Kilkenny and it will give us a further opportunity to assess the form of the young prospects. Dermot O’Sullivan’s bitch Belvedere Emma was fastest last week and looked very useful but I suspect a few more stars will emerge tomorrow.
Waterford stage the final of the Suirview Kennels Unraced Stake tomorrow on a card that also includes the Cabra Cool A5 while the IGB A2 commences on Saturday.