Frances O’Donnell’s dog has been handed a pretty straightforward task to get his bid underway and he should run out a comfortable winner of heat seven.
Money Talks, who finished a close second behind Newlawn Tock in the Laurels Consolation last weekend should also get off to a winning start in the first heat. Paul Hennessy’s dog can be lightening fast at the break but he missed it completely when exiting the Laurels at the quarter final stage and he was a little slower to get going than usual last Saturday night. While Tralee’s 550 yards is not the most stamina-sapping, he showed he stays the trip when winning the Lee Strand. Getting out in front is very important to him and he should lead all the way in round one. Tibetan Skies is a classy animal and he has trialled well in preparation for the stake but he faces quite a tough introduction in heat two, lining up unsuitably wide in trap five and facing opposition which includes last year’s runner-up Varra Captain.
I thought he represented some value to go deep into the Derby and he was possibly a shade unfortunate to be knocked out at the quarter final stage. However, talented as he undoubtedly is, he will likely struggle to make the breakthrough at this level. Laughil Billy wen to the semi finals of the Derby and if rediscovering that sort of form, he should go as far in this competition. He has Oaks winner Milldean Tally and Refuee of Sinner to contend with in the fourth heat. This is one of the hottest and most informative of the first round heats.
Camas Crash was unfortunate to pick up a little niggle on the eve of the Laurels semi-finals but those Curraheen runs should have brought him on considerably and the step back up to 550 yards should also be in his favour.
Rachel Wheeler’s dog starts off in heat eight, where Razldazl Apollo, litter brother to Laruels finalist Allen Master, is amongst the opposition.
Another member of that Forest Master and Forest Daisy litter, Forest Ralph, runs in heat six. Dragon Sheild, Danmar Benny and Shelbourne Geoff are three more noteworthy participants and they face each other in heat 11, while dual Cesarewitch winner Kingo and beaten favourite in the 2011 Derby, Rockchase Bullet, lock horns in the final heat.