MICHAEL FORTUNE: Big Mike poised for big run in Laurels

One can already sense the buzz developing around this year’s Pat Hennerty Sales Irish Laurels and the first round action suggested that Curraheen Park patrons are going to be served up some wonderful racing between now and final night.

The presence of Tyrur Big Mike has added hugely to the classic and, though he may not necessarily win the event, his presence has given it a mighty lift. Don’t be surprised if he produces a big run in Saturday’s Heat 7 and shows that he is well capable of taming the circuit! He goes in a heat that is fraught with dangers, particularly John Linehan’s back-to-form Broadstrand Lad and Paul Hennessy’s Colorful Champ. The latter is a little far off the inside rail in his trap four slot but he is no mean performer. I will be surprised if Big Mike doesn’t produce a big performance this time.

Tyrur Enda remains the personal choice for outright honours. He was excellent in the opening round and can only get better. He had the rare experience of being led to the bend last week but still showed his class and he is likely to lead all the way in Heat 8, though the opposition includes the big early paced Produce Stakes winner Faypoint Dave.

For those who had seen him in action in the Derby at Shelbourne, the performance of Jonny Whitesox came as no surprise. This is another excellent early paced tracker that is ideally suited by Curraheen Park and the Laurels distance. But he faces a quite awesome task in Heat 6 where he will have two of Ireland’s best sprinters Sheepwalk Doc and Yes Boss on either side of him, while the bang in-form Pablo Supreme is drawn in the inside box. This a race to observe because whatever misses the kick in all likelihood will also miss out on the classic.

Another major first round talking point was the run of Tullymurry Act on Saturday. It proved that he was over his Derby final malaise but he now has to cope with a trap six draw in Heat 3. However he has the early pace to escape without any mishap.

There are other potential minefields, such as Heat 2 where the early paced quintet of Skip One, Gringos Verlingo, Dalcash Cardosa, Sevenheads Bay and Royal Tornado will battle it out up front and the big finishing Marked Urgent will be playing stalker. And what about Heat 5 where Tubbertelly Dubh and Guitar Moment are set for the early paced battle with Kiowa Myth and St Louis Spirit poised to strike?

Absorbing racing is guaranteed and one presumes – and hopes – the crowds will flock to Curraheen Park for a brilliant night’s racing.

Latest Cashmans’ betting on the Hennerty Laurels is: 5-2 Tyrur Enda; 9-2 Tyrur Big Mike; 6 Tullymurry Act; 8 Colorful Champ; 10 Dalcash Cardosa; 14 Pablo Supreme; Tyrur Bucko; 16 Sevenheads Bay; 20 Sheepwalk Mac, De Ex Factor, Kiowa Myth, Broadstrand Lad, Barefoot Admiral, Tubbertelly Dubh, Jonny Whitesox; 25 Tranquil Time; 33 bar.

The stars of the future, meanwhile, will be on show at Harold’s Cross tomorrow where the third round of the Track Bookmakers Puppy Derby will be contested. We have been thrown up a tremendous opening heat with the rematch of that thrilling Texacloth Puppy Derby final at Newbridge which saw Lolos Joe just edge out Kerrydale Lar. Both dogs have sparkled in the first two rounds of the puppy classic and they should serve up another epic here. From the draw Brian McCann’s Kerrydale Lar could just come out on top on this occasion.

Paul Hennessy’s Air Force Hawk is the dog to beat in the second heat while the third heat looks the easiest of the night and Pat Fitzgerald’s Melodys Royal could be the answer. James Roche has an exciting prospect in Mountjoy Rock and this son of Black Shaw gets the verdict to win a red hot concluding heat from Dream Walker and Saleen Return.

Paddy Power’s prices on the Puppy Derby are: 3 Lolos Joe; 4 Mountjoy Rock, Kerrydale Lar; 8 Air Force Hawk; 10 Westmead Maldini, Dream Walker; 12 Melodys Royal; 14 Saleen Return; 20 bar.

The bitches will battle it out at Kilcohan on Saturday night in the final of the Droopys Stud Munster Oaks and there is a high class field chasing the €5,000 prize. There is a lot of early pace and the draw could see Cartiers Dazzle take the bend in front from Back To Shannon and Calling Spice but I suspect that Michael Frayne’s Clearview Kelly may be the one in front at the business end.

Also on Saturday the semi-finals of the Agri Store Fair Warrior Sprint semis will be run at Mullingar while there will be the usual high class programme at Shelbourne.

The first official trials will be run at the new Limerick Greyhound Stadium next Wednesday from 9.30 until 11.30 am and again that afternoon from 4 to 6 pm. Entries are now being taken in the racing office for racing at the new venue. Three will be four 12 dog stakes run on opening night October 8th and 9 th with the finals on the St Gabriel’s School fundraising meeting on Saturday, October 16 th. These will be €1,000 Open 550 and the €800 A1 575, A2 525 and A3 525 (backgraders allowed).


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