The summer season gets underway in Youghal tomorrow, with the first night of free entry to the track.
Again, this promotion is thanks to the continued support of the Youghal Track Supporters’ Club, and will cover all racing, Mondays and Fridays, until the last Friday in August. It is a great night for the promotion to begin as the racing features the final of the Connolly’s Red Mills and YTSC Unraced Bitch Stake.
The six runners will have quite a bit to live up to if they’re to bear comparison to last year’s finalists, as winner Skywalker Rossa went on to win the Newbridge Oaks, and third-placed Witches Belle has developed into one of the best bitches in training, winning the Irish Oaks and the Joe Dunne Memorial, as well as finishing third in the Kirby Memorial.
Of course, it’s not to say they couldn’t compare favourably, as the winning times in last weekend’s semi-finals were the result of the track running slowly rather than being a fair reflection of their respective ability.
A look at their breeding tells us much of what we need to know.
Butterbridge Bel, who will race from trap one, is out of Madam Shaw, who was a litter sister to former Derby runner-up Dream Walker.
Mustang Swift, who led all the way in her semi-final, is out of a half-sister to former Corn Cuchulainn winner Jaytee Harry (then Fleeting Image), while the litter sisters in three and four, Race On Sugar and Race On Spice, are both out of Race On Angel, who was a half-sister to former Kingdom Derby winner Pablo Supreme, and also a half-sister to Laurels finalist Footprintsinsand.
Rising Pride, who wears the orange jacket, is a half-sister to 2015 Consolation Irish Oaks winner Sidarian Nell, while striped-jacketed runner Express Crystal is from the first litter of Express Berry, who is from that remarkable Express Mist (out of Airport Express) line which needs little introduction.
While the semi-final times were disappointing — if taken literally — it’s clear the bitches are capable of much better. I expect the track will run normal this time, and the clock bear truer reflection of the promise of the finalists.
The final is the seventh race on an eight-race card, which gets underway at 7.48pm.
With the Derby in mind, the first round of the €10,000-to-the-winner ECC Timber Open Puppy 550 at Shelbourne could host the most significant action of the weekend.
Cahir Castle, who got favourable mention here last week, is ideally drawn in heat three, and can enhance his reputation, but there are numerous exciting prospects in the stake, including Priceless Brandy, Sober Call and Tyrur Siucra, to name but a few.
The two greyhounds, Curious Boy and Farloe Rumble, which broke the track record in their respective second-round heats of the Irish Laurels last Saturday night now top the betting for the Curraheen classic, at 4-1.
As both are quite well drawn in their quarter-final heats, the odds seem reasonable, but the value surely lies with Quietly, at 9-1.
He came back to the field quite dramatically in the last 50 yards of his second-round heat, but Ian Reilly’s dog posted 28.13, and, more importantly, will lead almost every heat he contests.
If the track continues to run fast, that will play to the Supersprint winner’s cause.
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