MICHAEL FORTUNE: Big Mike ready to produce big run

There’s no doubt about the big event on the Irish greyhound calendar this week, it just has to be Saturday’s Town View Foods Champion Stakes final at Shelbourne Park.

An extremely open field with the bookies going 3-1 the field but it is a really high class affair and will assist in sorting out the pecking order in advance of the Derby which commences in exactly two weeks time.

While Farley Blitz is currently the 3-1 market leader there is no guarantee that he will go off as favourite as there will be strong support on the night for Makeshift and Tyrur Big Mike. It would be no surprise if the latter shortened considerably from his current quote of 7-2.

While personal commitments kept me away from Shelbourne last Saturday, study of the video action left me very impressed with the powerful galloping Tyrur Big Mike. His performance down the back straight was quite awesome and if he can make one of his fast starts from the six box, then P.J. Fahy’s dog will take some beating.

Farley Blitz has settled in magnificently for Owen McKenna and is unbeaten in three runs since moving from the UK. But what worries me about him is that a two draw leaves him sandwiched between ideally boxed Sevenheads Bay and Makeshift with big early paced Mesedo Blue out in four. Really, can any of these get a clear run to the corner given the draw and the early pace involved?

Dolores Ruth is getting a very sweet tune from Makeshift and he is getting better all the time while I am convinced that Graham Holland’s Sevenheads Bay is the best drawn dog in the race and represents incredible each way value at 14-1. If Seamus Graham’s Mesedo Blue, best priced 11-2, can make one of his good starts then he will lead into the far side and he would take some catching.

On the outside we have old rivals Fatboyz Tyson and Tyrur Big Mike and it could go either way between them. Pat Gordon will be bidding to complete a Fatboyz double in this competition and at his best Tyson would take all the beating. But this time I suspect that Tyrur Big Mike is ready to produce a really big run and he gets the vote to win what can be a real thriller.

There is a high class supporting card with the Champion Plate and the two Consolations and a total of ten open races. Where in the world could you match it?

Also on Saturday night the semi-finals of the Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup will be run at Thurles and we can look forward to two cracking contests. It is amazing how often you find the draw throwing up lopsided semi-finals and this is no different with three of the four heat winners lumped together in the opening heat.

Scart Legend was fastest last week but he has the rails-hugging Carib King on his inside in one while Lemon Jet is in four. But the race also includes the strong finishing Big Appetite and Shelbourne Dawn to ensure that nothing can be taken for granted. Somehow, I can’t see Carib King failing to make the final.

John Kiely’s Chicken Supper made most use of his backdoor reprieve last week and the reigning champion has a perfect inside draw in the second heat. He can quality for the final from this draw but the one to lead them home could be Sean O’Brien’s northern raider Hurry On Black, a dog with a smashing turn of early and a blistering 1.69secs split last week.

While on the subject of Saturday night the Molloy Butchers Ardkeen Guineas final at Waterford has a really interesting look but Michael Pomfret’s Freedom Seacrest could be the banker of the weekend. She has been breaking slowly in this six bend competition but this lady has shown that she can bomb out at times and this could be the occasion. One way or another, she can emerge triumphant from a race where Tommy O’Donovan’s Surf Silver looks the main stumbling block.

Racegoers at Curraheen Park on Saturday won’t miss any of the football action as the game will be shown live on the big screens and the gates will open at 6.45 pm. The card features the finals of the D&H Greyhound Supplies, the Odds On Dog Food A6 and the A4 575 as well as the Getting Out Open.

Top event tomorrow is the final of the Ger Canty Opticians A1 575 at Newbridge. Fraser Black and Seamus Graham are both doubly represented and it could be the latter to collect with impressive semi-final winner Block Cross which is owned by Ned Daly.

Monday has made a big resurgence as a race night after becoming highly unpopular a few years back. Next Monday there are two high class meetings at Youghal and Dundalk. The semi-finals of the Premier Fantasy Southern Oaks will boost the attendance at Youghal and again three of the heat winners clash in the first qualifier. Clearview Kelly may just get the better of Tooquicktoocatch and Inshaarla. Ballymac Mitsy can win the second but Triangle Beyonce and Borna Del will have their say.

Up at Dundalk the eight second round heats of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup will be contested and Sheepwalk Mac can justify his position at the top of the market. This competition will continue on Mondays until the final on Sunday, August 15th.


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