In four runs from trap five, Frances O’Donnell’s dog is without a victory but he broke really well in his two previous outings here and his all-round speed should prove too much for this company.
Paul Hennessy’s Priceless Sky has taken his form to a new level in this competition and he was particularly impressive when overcoming the potential hazard of trap five when winning in a fastest of the round 29.59 last weekend. He is certainly better drawn in tonight’s opening heat but he faces some stiff competition from the likes of Camas Crash and Tibetan Skies.
If producing his best break, he’ll make his more established rivals go to catch him.
Kennel companion Droopys Comedian has found his form recently and he should enjoy a clear run in the second heat. The lightly raced but impressive Cabra Buck and Dragon Shield offer stern resistance but the advantage of the inside line swings the verdict in favour of the inside runner.
Sparta Maestro indicated that he may be over the problems which plagued him between his record runs at Shelbourne and the start of the Leger when running away with his second-round heat.
There’s likely plenty more to come from Phil Gough’s dog and despite the apparent inconvenience of the trap two draw, he actually boasts a perfect record in the blue jacket (four from four).
Sure, he’ll move right in the early stages but if he can avoid an early clash with dual Betfair 600 winner Kingo, he should stride victorious into the semi-finals.
The Dolores Ruth-trained trio of Derby runner-up Cuil Cougar, Oaks winner Milldean Tally and 2011 Laurels winner and 2012 runner-up Razldazl Rioga join Waterford’s Gain Select Stakes at tonight’s semi-final stage and they add some much-needed class to proceedings.
While Cuil Cougar may not have been at his very best in the Laurels, his recent 28.55 trial suggests he’s on good terms with himself and he will certainly take beating in the first semi-final. Seamus Graham’s Eabhas Fantasy rates the danger.
The second heat should be dominated by Milldean Tally and Razldazl Rioga, with little to separate the pair.
The former was a smart winner of her first-round heat of the Leger but missed the kick and found all sorts of trouble last weekend. The consolation is that she’s back here contesting a €13,000-to-the-winner stake.
This race should be decided early and if she can prevent Razldazl Rioga from making it across to the rails, she should hold him all the way.
Over at Shelbourne Park,
Jerry Hennerty Memorial Unraced Stake winner Droopys Adelaide puts her unbeaten record on the line in the eighth race. Trained by Johnny Linehan for the Blarney-Ten Syndicate, she was a shade disappointing in last week’s trial but a return to the form of her Curraheen successes would make her the one to beat.
Kennel companion Droopys Carl, owned by Jimmy Barry-Murphy, enjoys an ease in grade for race nine and a return to winning ways would be no surprise.
Curraheen 330 yards track record holder Leeview Dave, trained by Graham Holland for Tommy Delaney, faces a real test of his ability in the second race but he is a potentially brilliant sprinter and will take beating. Big Casino also looks a top-drawer performer in this sphere and will make a real race of it, while Tom O’Neill’s Prop Joe reverts to sprinting after some smart four-bend victories.
It’ll be particularly interesting to see how the highly regarded Farloe Buddy gets on against the likes of Canford Rules and the unbeaten Airport Captain in race one.