Tough tests for English raiders

A mixture of Irish classic and major winners, brilliant local talent and two high-class English raiders make the Betdaq Race of Champions a huge attraction and the semi-finals should attract a smashing crowd to Tralee on Friday night.

From across the water Paul Young brings over Bubbly Phoenix and Young Sid and they have had contrasting luck with the draw, though both face very difficult tasks.

Bubbly Phoenix was guaranteed a smashing draw in the second semi-final as he was the only wide seed but he will need to produce a career best to win this contest.

Chief rivals would have to be rated as Owen McKenna’s Produce Stakes winner Power of God from trap two and Dolores Ruth’s Laurels hero Razldazl Rioga in three. But also in there are Chris Houlihan's local speedster Cashen Mafuma on the inside, Francie Murray's Cox Cup winner Quail Hollow in the black jacket and Pat Buckley's Paradise Martini in five.

Young Sid has an even tougher task in the second heat where he will occupy the five box, despite being an inside seed!

Best drawn must surely be Pat Curtin’s solitary wide Shelbourne Geoff who looks guaranteed the freedom of the track to the bend out in six.

On the inside here there is massive early pace in the shape of Liam Dowling’s local runner Ballymac Vic, McKenna’s Juvenile Classic winner Airforce Diva, Fraser Black’s Joe Dunne Memorial winner Droopys Jet and John O’Flynn Jnr’s early pacer Dear Pa.

Semi-finals, Heat 1 - 1 Cashen Mafuma; 2 Power Of God; 3 Razldazl Rioga; 4 Quail Hollow; 5 Paradise Martini (m); 6 Bubbly Phoenix (w).

Heat 2: 1 Ballymac Vic; 2 Airforce Diva; 3 Droopys Jet; 4 Dear Pa; 5 Young Sid; 6 Shelbourne Geoff (w).

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