Confident Rankin sends out 28.25 Laurels trial warning

When Owen McKenna’s Confident Rankin went around Curraheen in 28.25 in a trial last Friday he sent out a message that the Red Mills Irish Laurels is not going to be easily won.

The race for the €30,000 prize will commence on Friday week and a terrific entry is anticipated.

McKenna will have a strong team and has been boosted by the addition of Tyrur Justin. PJ Fahy decided against making the round trip from Galway and opted to have the dog based closer to the venue. Tyrur Justin did a 28.65 run last Friday.

On Saturday Francie Murray’s Quail Hollow, winner of the Boylesports International at Dundalk, went around in 28.52 while Paul Hennessy’s Scottish Derby winner Barefoot Allstar did 17.41 for the sprint. The Laurels will be for 96 entries at €65 each and there will be a prize of €5,000 for the best placed bitch in the classic.

There were many talking points following Saturday’s epic Irish Derby final at Shelbourne but nobody was disputing the brilliance of winner Skywalker Puma.

He will continue racing and will have next year’s Derby as his main target. But it looks as if he will be turning up in the Night Of Stars 550 at Shelbourne on December 1.

But the main talking point concerned sponsors Ladbrokes. They have completed their three-year term but there are encouraging signs they will remain involved with the sport.

! The classic action this week is at Harold’s Cross where the second round of the Track Bookmakers Puppy Derby will be run.

A number of dogs gave the impression last weekend that they needed another run or two around the track to become fully accustomed to its little quirks.

Star of the first round was the Dolores Ruth trained Razldazl Luke, a dog that shown considerable promise but was only scoring his first victory in 28.50 at the eleventh attempt. He has a tricky trap four draw in Heat 7 with Priceless Flame, Isabels Boy and Tullymurry Verse formidable rivals.

Second fastest was Eddie and Denis Fitzgerald’s Castlelyons Cofi in Heat 4. He won by a wide margin from Lord Save Us in 28.57. They were due to meet again in Heat 4 but Lord Save Us has been withdrawn and this leaves just four rivals.

The Plunkett Matthews owned Ballyhill Sub can make his top early pace tell in Heat 1 while English challenger Bittles Bar will take beating in Heat 2. The third heat promises to be the race of the night with Borna Slide, Glenardan and Cuil Condor likely to be the big three. Balaclava Barry can go in again in Heat 5 while Black Causeway and Bubbly Rocky can battle it out in Heat 6. Refuge Of Sinner looks the one in Heat 8.

The semi-finals of the Gain Future Champions Unraced will be run at Enniscorthy this evening.

Peter Cronin’s Jacksallstar has been the star of the competition and he can maintain his unbeaten record in the second semi where Aidan Denton’s impressive first round winner Kereight King could be a real threat.

Joe McIlhone’s Killinan Cash was far from disgraced behind Jacksallstar last week and should run a big race in the opening heat where Ashwood Henry and big finishing Dryland Shadow will play their part.

The Fair Warrior Sprint has been one of the leading two bend events for many years and now under the Austin Friar Hotel banner, it has continued that trend.

The final will be on Saturday and John McGee’s Bulmers Baby is likely to go off favourite after becoming the fastest over the trip in three years in last weekend’s semi-final.

But this is a high class sprint with Uncle Chico and Tahina Rocco very close on the clock while well housed Ballymac Brian was only beaten two lengths by Bulmers at the weekend.

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