With a huge crowd anticipated for the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes.com Irish Derby, there will be the added attraction of super puppy prospect Milldean Panther trialling in advance of a race on Derby final night.
Trainer John O’Flynn and the owners had debated between heading to Harold’s Cross for the Bookmakers Puppy Derby or going to Shelbourne for the Derby meeting with the long term eye on the Comerford Cakes National Puppy Stake.
Said O’Flynn yesterday: “He looks a real Shelbourne Park dog and we came down on the side of giving him a run around there and then aiming him for the National Puppy Stake. He hasn’t had a gallop since he won the final at Thurles at the weekend but I would still hope he can do a good trial run“.
Both Derby semi-finals are tricky contests and the first looks a very hot affair with the market likely to be dominated by Razldazl George, Rockchase Bullet and super fast bitch Droopys Twirl.
The John Linehan trained dual Oaks winner won her opening round and, while not managing to get her head in front since then, has nevertheless been hugely impressive in pretty exalted company. However, history suggests she has it all to do as the last bitch to win the Derby was Spring Time in ‘99?
But Rafas Wee Pet and Peter Cronin’s duo of Hey Gringo and Rockview Head are well capable of causing an upset.
The Ronny Wuyts trained Rockchase Bullet has been the find of the Derby, having shown so much promise early in the year in the Juvenile Classic at Tralee and the Produce Stakes at Clonmel. He picked up a serious injury in the latter event but has obviously made a full recovery, judging by his superb performances on the last two weekends.
If Rockchase can make another smart start he should take a first bend lead and Razldazl George and Droopys Twirl would need to produce almighty efforts to overhaul him. It could be a thrilling contest and much will depend on whether Razldazl can get the better of inside runner Rafas Wee Pet to the bend.
The track is getting very testing following rain in recent times and this would be a worry for connections of Razldazl Bugatti. In a race where early pace is not exactly in abundance, Bugatti could open a very big lead and he would look banker material on a fast track.
Coolykereen Imp should be his closest rival early but the likes of the Tom O’Neill trained Dream Walker, Croom Star, Piercestown Sand and Krug Ninety Five are all powerful stayers and will be flying at the finish. Dream Walker would be my alternative to Bugatti should the ground go against Dolores Ruth’s charge.
The semi-finals of the Derby Plate will also be run on Saturday and Toberadora Holly and Smooth Daddy are put forward as a likely double.
The biggest fall-out from last weekend’s shocks was the retirement of both Tyrur McGuigan and Tyrur Big Mike, the first and second in last year’s Derby. Both sustained injuries in their races and PJ Fahy has retired both dogs.
The Track Bookmakers Puppy Derby will commence at Harold’s Cross next Friday, with entries closing on Tuesday. Michael Taggart’s Cornamaddy Shaw produced a smashing 28.63 trial run on Tuesday night while Pat Gordon’s Eden Rumble went around in 28.70 and Brendan O’Shea’s Crossfield Star 28.75.
The Hennerty Sales Irish Laurels at Curraheen is getting closer and Dolores Ruth’s Razldazl Rioga clocked 28.36 last Saturday when Owen McKenna trialled both Lanrigg Paddy 28.59 and Crossfield Jet 17.53 (sprint). Two nights earlier Mossie O’Connor put around a couple with Deerfield Music clocking 28.38 and Hernandez 28.70.
The new 525 yard traps will be installed on Tuesday next and so there will be no trials that day. As a result one presumes that many of the Laurels contenders will wait until after Tuesday for their trial runs so that they can have a run from the new box.
The final of the Liberty Mutual A1 600 will be run at Limerick tomorrow and can be won by Lemon Belle, though Tom Lennon’s bitch will have to reverse semi placings with Seamus Graham’s Pennylane Jedar. Confident Nestor and Cherrygrove Cool are also serious contenders. Also tonight the semis of the Langton House Derby will be run at Kilkenny with Jack De Man and Mickys Trickster put forward as possible winners.
On Saturday the final of the Gain Waterford Guineas will be run at Kilcohan and this very tricky race can be won by the Willie Finn trained Mines A Pint, though he must fly out to take the bend from Droopys Chris and Bombolini. The same night the third round of the Agri Store Fair Warrior Sprint will be run at Mullingar.