Curtin poised for further glory

PAT CURTIN is enjoying an amazing year, thanks to the achievements of Shelbourne Aston. He is now back in another classic final, with Droopys Arsene safely qualified for next Tuesday’s William Hill St Leger at Wimbledon.

Droopys Arsene finished third behind his litter brother Bubbly Totti in the first semi-final in by far the best time of 40.85, the pair divided by Midway Skipper. Arsene’s time was actually 18 spots faster than the second semi-final winner, Lenson Earl. The big surprise here was the elimination of ante-post favourite Lenson Joker after early trouble.

Four of the six finalists in last weekend’s Cashmans Bookmakers Irish Laurels will be back in action in the Gain Waterford Masters, which starts this weekend. However, only three of them will actually run on Saturday as Derby and Laurels runner-up Slip The Lark is one of the three invited runners which will have a bye to the semi-final.

Cashen Legend and local qualifier Belmore Bob form the exempted trio and it is quite a bonus with semi-finals places hard to come by. It is a high-class competition with late additions Tyrur Laurel and Mardocs O Shea adding to an already formidable entry.

There is tremendous quality in the entry to suggest this could be one of the best Masters competitions. There should be a fantastic final on Saturday, November 8, a meeting that will be televised live by Setanta Sports Ireland.

Draw for Gain Masters:

Heat 1: 1 Attykitt Admiral; 2 Cabra Cool; 3 Almost Chilli; 4 Tyrur Laurel (m); 5 Compass Smash (m); 6 Castlehill Pat (m).

Heat 2: 1 Mardocs O Shea; 2 Mardocs Heinze; 3 Last Bid; 4 Large Mac (m); 5 Ballymac Under (m); 6 Side Bet (m).

Heat 3: 1 Dysert Poldark; 2 Lemon Zamora; 3 Callums Lad; 4 Boherna On Air; 5 Archaton Pine; 6 Machu Picchu (m).

There is classic action of a different type at Harolds Cross tomorrow with the four second round heats of the Vetsearch Irish Grand National down for decision. There is a big Irish challenge but the running of the likes of Leading Layer, Veras Diamond, Call Late, Time Me and Woodys Express on Monday suggested that there must be strong hopes of the prize staying at home.

Draw for tomorrow’s National heats:

Heat 1: 1 The Other Outlaw; 2 Call Again; 3 Razldazl Shrek; 4 Ballymac Okee; 5 Time Me; 6 Billsdad Bill (w).

Heat 2: 1 Comans Joe; 2 Tahina Leah; 3 Smooth Turbo; 4 Kildare Lark; 5 Tommy Bahama; 6 Distant Legend (m).

Heat 3: 1 Ranch Pacific; 2 Razldazl Adam; 3 Leading Layer; 4 Veras Diamond; 5 Sawpit Samura (m); 6 Woodys Express (w).

Heat 4: 1 Priceless Paddy; 2 Hi Flying Ryan; 3 Glenbryan; 4 Razldazl Denys; 5 Call Late; 6 Bubbly Magic.

The big race in Ireland this weekend is the IGB National 750 final at Shelbourne on Saturday with a prize of €10,000. The favourite for this one will be Droopys Quiff with the ideal trap one draw and an excellent semi-final performance behind here. She was very strong last Saturday when storming home in 41.76.

However, now that Hello Hippy has found the habit of winning there is no knowing just how good this bitch can become. She came from a mile back to win in 41.93 last week and is entitled to give the favourite a big run for her money.

There will also be huge interest in the continued progress of College Causeway in the North West Derby at Lifford. He contests the semi-finals on Sunday and, despite a really hot draw, he is expected to gain another emphatic victory.

The second round of the Munster Puppy Cup will be run at Clonmel on Sunday while tomorrow night will see the second round of the Moran & O'Donnell Newbridge Oaks at the Kildare venue.

On Friday next the Newtownshandrum GAA folk will be travelling in force to Curraheen Park for their gala sponsored meeting. There will be the traditional €1,000 feature contest, this time an Open 550, while other feature races include A2 550, A3 525 and D4 750. Entries close on Saturday.

Next week’s Getting Out Stakes will be an A1 550 and entries close on Tuesday, which is also the closing date for a 12 dog €800 A3 550. Looking further ahead, there will be a sponsored meeting in aid of Grenagh Community Sports Complex on Thursday, November 6 when the big race will be an Open 575.

There was some really fine racing at Youghal last Friday, including that dead-heat to the Diarmuid Coffey Open Unraced but there will be some interesting racing in the coming weeks also. The Mick O’Keeffe Veterans A2/3 525, for 24 dogs whelped in 2004 or 2005, carries a winner’s prize of €1,200. The heats will be run on Friday, November 4. Coming up a little later is the Knowsley A3 Stakes for 24 dogs and a winner’s prize of €1,200. It will commence on Friday, November 31.


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