“We got a few quid back, after the wipe-out of the previous week,” admitted sponsors’ representative Damien Lonergan. “All the accumulators were anchored around Ballymac Matt, Farloe Blitz and Amazing Dude, which all won, but there were plenty of results which scuppered the roll-ups.”
Looking to the third round, all eight heats of which are on Saturday night, he added: “The heats are much more competitive this time, and there aren’t too many very short ones.
“In fact, one of the very first bets we laid when we priced up the third-round heats, on Monday, was on Ravenswood Emily, at 33-1 in heat three. You can see the logic in that, as she’s a classy bitch and has her preferred draw, next to the rails.
“It’s a very tough competitive heat, however, with Ballydoyle Honey our favourite, at 6-4. She was a little disappointing last time, but it’s far too soon to write her off.
“Some of her kennel companions also ran a little below their best last week, but we need to remember it’s hard for greyhounds to hold their form through six rounds, and maybe that was their blip. I’m expecting a better run this time, and think she could prove well drawn, out in trap five.
“But, it’s a red-hot heat. Tyrur Tommy impressed me in defeat last week, and I expect him to take a step forward with each round. If he can clear Ravenswood Emily, he could be the one to beat. He came in for support in the long-odds book as soon as we priced up after round two, and the 3-1 available for the heat is likely to prove popular.”
One of the heats of the round is the opener, in which a number of dogs with genuine claims for outright glory, including Rural Hawaii, Jaytee Jet and Tom O’Neill’s Ballyhooly Henry. The open nature of the race is reflected by odds of 5-2 the field.
Added Lonergan: “Ballyhooly Henry went into many notebooks when taking a couple of lengths out of Ballymac Matt from the second bend last week. He’s ideally drawn this time, and is likely to make plenty of appeal at 3-1.
”Secreto hasn’t got everything right at Shelbourne Park yet and there isn’t much room for error in this one, but he’s very young and has plenty of scope for improvement. However, Rural Hawaii is our favourite, from what is a good draw, provided he can clear Jaytee Jet early.”
Fair Taxes is a dog which went under most radars prior to the start of the Derby, but Francie Murray’s runner has impressed most observers with the versatility which goes with his ability. He’s 11-8 to win the second heat.
“He won from trap one in the first round and the way he ran from six last week, you’d have to think he is a big player,” said Lonergan. “As a supporter, you wouldn’t be afraid where he gets drawn - and that’s a real bonus. Big things were expected of him last year, and he’s really fulfilling that promise now.
“He’s going to be popular in all the accumulators this time, but the banker will certainly be Ballymac Matt, who has a great-looking draw in heat four. He’s already 3-10, from an opening show of 4-11.
“He seems to have changed his style of running. At the start of career, he was the type, as a bookie, you’d like to lay every week because he could miss the kick. But he must have picked up plenty of confidence from his wins in the Gain 600, and now looks a different type of dog.
“We put him in at 6-1 in the ante-post book following the second around, but that proved popular. We’re still a standout price at 11-2, not because he can’t win it, or because he hasn’t been backed – he’s a loser in our book – but because you have to take on something and he could get an outside draw next time, and that would make his task much more difficult.
“The other one for the accumulators is Farloe Blitz, in heat five. He’s a brilliant early pacer, but the question mark hangs over his draw, and how he’ll handle trap six. If he does, he’ll be hard to beat, but Gaytime Hawk could be joker in the pack. Cable Bay was one of the most impressive heat winners in round two, and is another danger.
“I quite like the chance of Peregrine Falcon in heat six. In a race with plenty of early pace, he has the best of the draw. Heathlawn Tiger won from trap five in the past but it’s not ideal, and he has Creamery Bale to clear. The latter went to bend with Sidarian Vega in the Champion Stakes, which was an incredible achievement for a young dog coming from graded races in Youghal. He’s an exciting pup.
“One of the specials which proved popular before the start of the stake was the 7-1 for the winner to go through the Derby unbeaten. At this point that’s still a possibility for Ballymac Matt, Farloe Blitz, Peregrine Falcon, Fair Taxes and Amazing Dude.”
On Friday, September 11, Youghal track will be hosting a benefit night in aid of the Heart and Lung Transplant Unit at the Mater Hospital.
Billy Dunne, who is a prominent owner in Cork and has enjoyed plenty of success, most recently with the prolific Oaklands Paddy, was the beneficiary of a heart transplant recently and is keen to try to give something back.
For those who can go, or those who wish to support the night but cannot make it, tickets are available in advance, from Cloyne Post Office.
* There is no racing tonight at Curraheen, with the first of the live meetings from the track going into the betting shops next Tuesday night.