Let’s hope extra exertions won’t hamper young gun Lex

The first prize on offer in the Laurels could be decided on Saturday night as the three remaining bitches in the stake have all been drawn in the same heat.

Let’s hope extra exertions won’t hamper young gun Lex

If it’s the case that two of them fail to qualify, then the bitch who makes it through will go into next week’s semi-finals having earned her connections a fine €3,000 bonus.

In the unlikely event that all three get knocked out, the bonus will be divided equally, as it was between Tafari and Prima Vera when they were both eliminated in the quarter-finals of 2012, when the bonus was introduced.

Given the quality of the three bitches remaining this term, it’s quite possible we’ll have to wait at least another week to determine the winner.

At this stage there is one reported non-runner from Saturday’s heats, Bruno Ya Know having been ruled out of the second quarter-final as a result of a bruised toe. That leaves a five-dog race and, with one firm choosing to cut the odds of the remaining five runners in the heat as a result of the absentee, red-jacketed Rastafari Vic is now second favourite in the outright market.

On Tuesday night the match race between last weekend’s dead-heaters, Mr Outback and Lads Lex, took place, and it turned into quite a contest.

In similar fashion to the other recent match at this track, between Sunrise Ice and Drive On Royal prior to the final of the Cork Oaks, the form of the race was all but repeated as only half a length separated the two. The lightly raced and progressive Lads Lex did enough to see off Mr Outback, in 28.94.

There was a time, not too long ago, when match races were far more common — though they were planned. They don’t always work out as competitive as the last two here have, but when they do they’re a great spectacle.

You’d have to be hopeful that Lads Lex won’t be affected by the extra exertions during the week, as he was seeing competitive action for just the seventh time in his career. As a July pup, Ger Mackey’s dog is, by some way, the youngest runner of the remaining 23.

DERBY FAVOURITE CONCERNS

Sidarian Blaze is favourite for the English Derby following his victory at the track last weekend. Third to the turn, he railed like a cat, took over at the second bend, and raced clear of Roxholme Ted.

From a positive perspective, he raced the inside line brilliantly and recorded a time, 28.15, which is just nine spots off Fiery Splendour’s track record.

That allied to the fact he’s a proven competition dog make him an attractive proposition but, being devil’s advocate for a moment, he just lacked that sharpness for the 525 test around Curraheen which was the difference between winning and losing last year’s Laurels.

As a prospective punter, that’s somethings which sits a little uncomfortably in the back of my mind. Odds as short as 12-1 don’t appeal.

Those serious about betting on the English Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon have a busy time keeping up with the trials and trial stakes at the track, but a quick search on the internet will find the Wimbledon Greyhound Owners Association website (wgoa.co.uk), where pdfs of the daily trials at the track can be viewed.

Although the results can be found individually elsewhere, they are well presented here, and include brief comments of how each greyhound ran.

The final of the Scottish Derby takes place this Saturday night at Shawfield and, despite three Irish representatives, the bookmakers believe the top prize will stay in Britain, courtesy of Swift Hoffman, who is 2-1 favourite.

The Pat Buckley-trained Coolavanny Jap is the most favoured of the Irish runners, at 10-3, with kennel companion Lenson Sanchez at 6-1 and Fraser Black’s Save The Don at 8-1.

The latter has Cork connection, having been trained by John Kiely for the Kranky Syndicate, Dublin Hill, when making a winning sprint debut at Curraheen Park in May 2014.

He did very well to qualify from the semi-final, having been short of room at a couple of pivotal points and, being lightly raced, is open to improvement. He should certainly outrun odds of 8-1.

CONFUSION REIGNS OVER TOTE

There was an unusual result in Harold’s Cross on Tuesday night, regarding Tote dividends. Around the smaller tracks we’re somewhat used to having carryovers and no wins, places, forecasts and trios on races, but it’s surprising when it happens at a track like Harold’s Cross.

In the second race, there was no win unit on Doonanes Miner, meaning those who backed the runner-up, Gortkelly Spud, on the Tote got paid.

But this is where it gets very confusing for punters: there was no place bet on any of the first three greyhounds and thus the place pool was divided amongst those who backed trap three, Daylens Fantasy, who actually only finished fourth.

Surprisingly, the forecast was won, but the Trio, unsurprisingly, was carried forward to the following race.

Although it seems safe to assume the total pool for this race was very small, the likelihood is that there were some people who, unknowingly, threw away ‘winning tickets’.

Most of us who are regulars at the track understand the basics of what is going on in these instances, but I wonder how many infrequent visitors get caught out this way.

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