This weekend must rank as just about the busiest of the year, with five major finals for decision and 21 Irish dogs in action in the Williamhill.com English Derby at Wimbledon.
Rathangan trainer Dolores Ruth will be very much involved as she has the red hot 4-7 favourite for the Hegarty Bookmakers 600 at Shelbourne in Kingo as well as being four-handed in the Derby.
The 600 final has thrown up big surprises in the past but defeat for Kingo would be quite a shock. He has been outstanding in this competition with an unblemished record.
Kingo, of course, can afford no errors with the likes of Droopys Joe, Master Blaster, St Louis Spirit in his last race, Fatboyz Tyson and Pool Hawk in opposition but he must be a strong fancy to lead all the way.
The Shelbourne card also includes the finals of the Larry Dunne Open 525 and the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks with Owen McKenna’s hugely exciting Tubbertelly Dubh a banker in the former while the puppy final looks a potential classic with a very hesitant vote going to John Linehan’s Droopys Twirl.
The supporting card will also be full on interest with Tyrur Big Mike and Broadstrand Lad entered as well as a number of leading Oaks contenders.
The other Saturday final will be the Barry’s Tea 750 at Curraheen Park and we hear that fastest semi-final winner Millabbey Peejay is now known as Air Force Peejay and is under the care of Michael Hallahan of the Shanagore Kennels in Inishannon.
The dog was bought after the first round of the stake by Keith Doherty and Peter O’Toole from Tom Kearney and it was obviously a very shrewd purchase.
On semi-final running Millabbey Peejay is the dog to beat but this is a very open contest and all six can play a significant role. I thought Kevin McLean’s Kerryroad Baba also ran a cracker in the semi.
Everybody at Curraheen on Saturday will receive a raffle ticket for spot prizes, including a special Barry’s Tea hamper and family admission passes to the stadium.
Tomorrow night will be a special night at Kilkenny where the final of the valuable Broadway Pet Foods McCalmont Cup will be backed up by the second round heats of the intriguing Red Mills Champion Unraced as well as a few finals and open races.
Tom O’Neill can be in pole position in the McCalmont final with his smashing tracker Turbo Charge who undoubtedly has a winning chance. However, the son of Black Shaw must get away better than he has been doing in the past few weeks. There are a few early paced performers in the line-up, such as Jumeirah Joe and Ballygur Ted while De Ex Factor, Glenske Bond and Welesbourne Dan are renowned finishers.
Another major event tomorrow night will be the Lee Strand 550 at Tralee where the eight second round heats will be run.
There are plenty of very interesting contenders but all eyes will be on Des Kiely’s Shaneboy Fantasy after his sensational 28.67 run last weekend in just the second race of his career. This fellow looks a real champion in the making and he has to get the vote in a race that includes smart sorts in Movealong Penny, Telepathic, Jack De Man and Lughill Dawn. It is quite a contest but Shaneboy should dominate.
The other sub 30 first round winner was the Peter Cronin trained Glideaway Ace and he can follow up in Heat 5 where Rattling Tank and Knockane Rebel look the main rivals.
The IGB has announced the launch of a new Sponsorship Initiative in which players within the industry are invited to seek sponsorship from within their contacts.
There will be rewards to the extent of 15% of all sponsorship raised in the form of admission or restaurant Vouchers for use in the stadium.
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