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SATURDAY NOVEMBER 4th
RACE 2 TRAP 5 CHUBBYS CAVIAR A tough punting heat given that any of the six could improve greatly for last week's debut, especially Honthehill if he was to break more adeptly but in the faster semi-final, the selection would have to be deemed unlucky when twice significantly checked. A very eye-catching display, she would certainly build on that if given a clear run. Hopefully she can be working man odds but I certainly would not be backing against her if she got too short either.
RACE 4 TRAP 6 MAGICAL DANCER I'm usually very wary of getting too carried away when impressed by dogs who come flying home from off the pace but the selection is young and open to progress with every outing. Making stealthy inroads in the fastest semi-final last week, she can almost be excused her ponderous start because if anything, it was her neighbour making plenty of noise and driving early at the trap door which put her off her break. She showed pace at all points once in full stride and although breaking is a concern, I willing to have go at getting back the few bob I lost on her last week.
RACE 9 TRAP 5 SLIPPERY THELMA This might end up just a watching brief, depending on how the bookies are faring by off time and she is a bit of an obvious selection. She wouldn't have to get much right from traps to contain what are a respected crop of top graders but being a quality AA0 star at her best, A1 should be a gift. If 1/1 flashes up just once, I'll devour it....but I have a fear that she may be too short.
RACE 12 TRAP 5 HOVEX MICK There is no doubting that a few of these, most notably Borna Account, deserve huge respect but the selection appeared as good as ever in the Leger until a sower break brought traffic last time. I'm willing to back him from a draw where many might not because I believe he can control the outside if back to his better Leger breaking form.
SATURDAY SEPT 23rd
There's plenty of swatting-up to be done before our assault on the bookies for the 2017 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby Final meeting when again we are live on RTE for five races which will culminate with the crowning our industry champion for the coming twelve months.
It has been a simply brilliant Derby with an astounding strength in depth and whoever does manage to claim the title will have completed one of the toughest assignments a greyhound could ever be tasked with. Let's hope for a cleanly run race, and may the best dog win!
RTE TV RACESRACE 4 Open 750
A few runners renewing rivalries from last week here when the ever entertaining Jaytee Patriot proved too strong in the home-straight and he will surely be very popular in the market again now. Having said that though, I would imagine that most bookies would be happy to lay him at short odds, as they would any runner who is almost guaranteed to be negotiating traffic in the latter stages.
Conversely, I'm reluctant to plough in with a dog at short odds for the same reasons and am looking elsewhere for the winner while fully fearful that Patriot could make me look silly. There are no prices available as I type but I suspect Liscaha Brett may be second favourite with Redzer Ruby and my selection Kiltrea Brian next in.
The latter is no slouch in the early stages of 6-bend events and posted his best ever 4-bend clock in a cracking 600 run at Enniscorthy last time out. That came soon after a game 750 win on his sole visit to Cork which allays some of the concerns about racing at Shelbourne for the first time but the exciting new recruit to staying events broke the 725 yard record at Kilkenny at just his second attempt over 6-bends in July.
New recruits to Shelbourne can often be a touch dismissed by those who form the markets and I'm hoping we might see that now. I would like to see him clear the two runners on his inner before the first bend but if left to race independently, I expect him to be in control by the third turn while in advance of some strong types who could complicate Patriot's inevitable late challenge.
RACE 5 OPEN 550
Such a high class event and it will be interesting to see where the market settles but three runners stick out for me and I'll plump for arguably the unluckiest runner of the entire Derby. Becoming a real contender in the main event, Droopys Cabaye was beginning to display all the attributes you would wish to see in a prospective champion before unceremoniously stopped in his tracks when Tyrur Harold decided Trap 5 was way too far from the rails when leaving the boxes in the quarter-final.
He didn't do much wrong out the boxes then and was coming away very well in the early rounds. A fortnight off should have him primed and I can't see the runners either side encroaching on his early racing line now. Of course there is danger in the race and the biggest is Vancouver Shea who I am a big fan of, but he is too hard to predict! When he gets it right at traps, he's sensational. He could have this over after 50-yards if he breaks like he did the last night, but in this company he may have to!
The highly respected Swithins Brae will need to contain Milldean Skip on the run to the bend if he is to deny the selection and we're in a spot of bother if he breaks well but it has to be Cabaye for me as the most likely to give his running.
RACE 6 OPEN 575
A mouth-watering affair with a few names that would not be out of place in a Derby Final list although all bar one are venturing into unknown territory, albeit only by 25 yards! Outsider Knocknacree Sky is the only runner to have raced beyond 550 with a career best in Tralee last time and 25/1 may be a little too dismissive of a runner from the Dan Brassill kennel which always merits respect.
However, he is up against it here with high class opponents and immediately Cahir Castle sticks out as a runner who will relish 575 yards. I did think he was a bit flat footed in the early strides when exiting the Derby second round though and he will need to be sharper here as there is a runner I don't believe he will pass if getting behind.
Drive On Tipp is on my short-list of the very elite greyhounds currently racing, as is Native Chimes beside him. Tipp can make an odd mistake and seems to get thoroughly punished when he does but he was unluckily crucified at the first bend in the Derby quarter-final and the long run to the bend now can see him gain compensation if repelling Native Chimes early on.
That's not to adamantly say that they will be in the lead at that stage because both Fweshfromthesesh and in particular Whoops Jack will be expecting to be vying vigorously for the chance to turn first. Whoops Jack is a special talent but oh so inconsistent and this appears an attempt to get him back on the bunny. If he breaks well, he will lead but even then I'm not convinced he will stay the 575. I'm not convinced Native Chimes will be powering home to the 575 yard finish line either and although Drive On Tipp needs to lead Cahir Castle to halfway, of the unknowns, he is as likely to relish this test as any else while no slouch in the early exchanges when given clear space either. 5/2.
RACE 7 DERBY PLATE
Fast Fit Alex has had good draws in this event and is taking advantage. Again he is drawn on the right side of danger here and can come away better than he did last week so defending the rails against Jaytee Dutch is highly likely. Last week's flying exit from 2015 Czech Puppy Derby winner Ballymac Galway is far from certain to be repeated and we are likely to see a repeat of last week's semi-final with Alex trying to chase down slick early pacer Cometwopass.
Alex would not want to find his back-side blocking his challenge at the closing bends for if so, Dutch will close right up and be back in contention with his power-packed finish but overall it is folly to ignore game runners of high quality when presented with an ideal draw....and that's what Alex is here! Around 6/4.
2017 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby Final
I'll keep it simple for the final, I'm with Good News and the deciding factor is that he seems to be taking the runs as well if not better than any in the field. He'll be plenty short enough at 7/4 however and I would like to be holding a ticket from an earlier stage.
The big concern for the favourite is the runner on his inside and if we could swap traps with Hey Bound, I think Good News would prove too strong to contain. In the opening round of the Derby, we had Sonic in Trap 6 with Hey Bound on the inside of Good News. Sonic enjoyed an easy win but was all of ten lengths in advance of the selection because Hey Bound went to the bend on the inside of Good News and the pair endured plenty of bumping before he eventually got round the plucky Cronin runner.
That's the big task that Pat Guilfoyle's hopeful faces upon leaving traps now. He must lead Hey Bound by enough to turn cleanly, probably three parts of a length needed to shy him out of it. If he can accomplish that, he is expected to run down likely leader Buckos Dream. Good News presented as a very fresh dog last week and for that reason I'm sticking with him to produce under pressure.
My main contention ahead of the race is that only two dogs can win this Derby.....those being Buckos Dream and the dog that turns in second place. For the rest are strong runners and if occupying second position on the back-straight, are unlikely to be passed.
Black Farren can win if Hey Bound shoves Good News out at the bend; he can sneak beneath the pair and possibly turn second before running down the leader.
Jaytee Jet's one and only way of winning is by breaking well, preventing Sonic from flying around the outside at the bend before setting off in chase of Bucko.
Sonic can win by tracking Bucko for a clear run around the bend but he will have to do it off a decent break to make sure nothing comes running off the bend into his path.
The realistic chances for our finalists are more wide ranging than the market would suggest for I don't think Sonic and Good News have massively more plausible claims than say Black Farren or Buckos Dream and the latter in particular has the simplest path to victory. We could be watching a complicated tussle at the bend to see who can possibly turn second, but that tussle may be for minor places because their is no guarantee that Curly Mike's blistering early pacer will stop in time to oblige the stronger runners.
That's my version of brief.......but you could write a novel on this race before even touching on some of the wonderful stories that are behind our finalists. The best of luck to all....here's hoping it Will be Great!! (It better be....I'm missing my pups trialing in Kilflynn for this!!)
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 16th
An hugely exciting night ahead and for now we will just concentrate on the positives in our sport at a time which was due to be a celebration of excellence and all that is good in our sport. The fastest professional athletes on the planet will do battle for a place in the final of the most prestigious greyhound competition in the world.......and that's all I'm concentrating on today!
For the first time in twelve months, we are back on mainstream TV with five live races on the RTE coverage from 8 to 9.30pm. The first of those is a classy 550 yard event with runners who all contested the Derby itself.
Race 3 Trap 3 Barefoot Painter. Knocked out in the first round of the Derby behind Concrete Jungle who re-opposes tonight, the selection is confidently put forward to get us started in profit. Yes there is some early pace to his inside but he is plenty capable of matching them in the early strides and anything approaching a clear run would see him too strong for that pair beyond halfway.
A threat here would be Me Phat Daddy if returning to his best break but a concerning draw in Trap 5 may be enough to negate that threat especially when considered that in contrast, Painter has his ideal draw. He is 4 from 5 when wearing the white jacket and unlike his opponents who went deeper in the Derby and all ran in the last fortnight, he has had a month to re-assess and is likely to present fresher than any. Expect him to start around the 2/1 mark.
Race 4 Trap 2 Fast Fit Alex. Quite an amount of early pace here which includes reserve Toolmaker Obama in Trap 3 after the withdrawal of Tyrur Hugo and the draw can prove key for the selection. Toolmaker will be kept busy with his attempts to repel brilliant early pacer Cometwopass on the run to the bend and this pair are a major complication for the much respected Ballybough Dad who will be expected to contest close to them on the outside upon turning.
The task for Fast Fit Alex is much more straight-forward than all those mentioned who will be sweating a clear run. Alex can outpace Slippery Billy on his inside for command of the crucial rails pitch and his claims for a clear run are much more plausible. He could possibly lead but even if Cometwopass turns in front, a likely handy position in behind should see Alex pick him up close home at around 9/4.
Race 5 Trap 2 Elusive Heights. Yeah I know, I'm tipping a 14-race maiden to win the semi-final of a Derby Plate but I can see this happen. The selection ran a cracker last week when simply not close enough at the second bend to use his powerful stamina for victory. However, he can turn closer tonight and we will be hoping that the favourite gets everything right from the boxes. Expecting Jaytee Dutch to run wide off the first bend (which he is given to do lately), this heat does not house much early pace and he could hold up the field just enough for the selection to close right up on the inside. In this scenario we would have realistic claims to see the strong stayer gain a deserved first career success at around 11/2.
I won't have a bet in the first semi-final of the Derby, for the simple reason that I can't be adamant about what will happen from traps but I can see how the fancied duo of Native Chimes & Tyrur Harold could find a problem or two. If I do put my hand in my pocket, it will be small change coming out and it will go on Buckos Dream for I believe that he can lead to the bend again. 6/1 is big enough to risk small money while hoping for trouble behind to collect.
If he does, he gives dangerous runner Jaytee Barracuda the opportunity to track him with an ideal tow to the back-straight and as long as Jaytee has Bucko to aim at, he will be so difficult to overhaul for anyone who ends up behind him. Of course Native Chimes and Tyrur Harold are the big two here. A concern for both is how Harold moved markedly towards the rails form Trap 5 last week which was a little surprising. Hard pressed, I'd say he won't do that again....but he could I suppose. If he did, that could spell big trouble because although an outsider, Hey Bound can move to the bend and backing either of the favourites at 6/4, you do not want him on your inner when preparing to turn, especially if your main rival is also paw to paw with you as Bucko cuts the nose off everyone.
I expect the class of both Native and Tyrur to get them out of any potential trouble and a fast break for either would settle the race. In fact a fast break for either would almost certainly help the other by affording extra racing room. But with the respected Black Farren ideally drawn, a question or two at trap rise along with the enigmatic Barracuda with a heaven sent draw, there is just too much for my brain to work out here and I'm leaving it alone.
This may have just five runners with the loss of a superstar but it is still a compelling likely thriller with simply amazing exponents of the art. To think that a dog who went under the track record for 550 at Longford in June could be 25/1 in a five runner race, well, that's just testament to Drumsna Star's opposition here.
As ever, the draw is key and that is the reason Good News earns the vote. There have been many runners in the Derby who would expect to lead the main players here on the run to the bend but in reality, Good News, Sonic and Kilgraney Ace probably all average the same from boxes to the turn. In that situation you would always like to be on the inside when arriving at the bend and fancying Good News is as simple as that. The three mentioned are expected to contest the lead and given clear runs, are the three I would select to qualify......but, we have learned not to ever discount the mighty Jaytee Jet.
He will again be flying close home and any problems for the leaders will see him pounce on a qualification spot without hesitation. It's going to be a fascinating watch but the draw says Good News at around 7/4.
**I have a few passes for Shelbourne tonight so call to the kennels during the day if you're close to me. Otherwise just get in touch before entering the track but make it early, I will be tied-up from about 6.40 onward.
See you all tonight, from this angle!!
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 9thThe nerves will be starting to jangle for connections of all remaining runners in the 2017 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby ahead of tonight's quarter-finals, not that I'd feel sorry any of them or anything, they are after all exactly where the rest of us all want to be!
We got our treble up last week and we'll have another go tonight for it appears the draw offers the opportunity to cash-in again, albeit quite a bit tougher. The selections will again omit Clares Rocket however with the main reason being lack of value but also because the outright favourite has his most dangerous task of the event thus far from a tricky closing heat.
Stick me to the wall and I still say he'll win but this time he has runners capable of matching him to the bend and the star of the show so far may see a dog tonight for the first time in a month! If Typical Ash was breaking well, Rocket's draw would be even worse but despite his vicious early pace, the Holian runner has to improve his break to bother the favourite. One that can bother him though is Buckos Dream and I would be surprised if he is not on Rocket's inner at the bend.
Although plenty far away in Trap 3, Skywalker Manner could well be upsides that pair at the bend also if back to his early paced best and that's not even considering the possibility that Good News could fend off Manner to the bend; a line of runners approaching the bend in tight quarters is certainly a possibility.
A word of caution though and something that must be looked out for as the hare approaches traps is whether Clares Rocket repeats his mis-timed break of last week. Some may have missed it but he made a very early drive at the trap door a week ago. It was so early that he had time to reset himself for the eventual trap rise but this was a heart-in-mouth moment that his legion of supporters will not want repeated.......settle lad!
Heat 1 Trap 5 Sonic. The heat appears to be a good make-up for Sonic who should not be inconvenienced by Jaytee Barracuda in the opening exchanges. It must be a bit of a nightmare for Graham Holland with three in the same heat but his Clona Kid looks assured to command the inside and regular readers could probably guess what I think will happen at the bend once Drive On Tipp has a backside in his eye-line.
I expect Drive On Tipp to switch out and move off the bend in search of a sight at the hare; with both Pension Plan and Hey Bound highly likely to be on his right at this point, bumping is very possible. Even Sonic may be in danger of a small tip despite being wider out but he is very much fancied to get around in second place or very close to it and Clona Kid would want to be gone a long way in front to entertain fending him off. You could probably find a more straight-forward 8/11 shot somewhere today but if he's going to win, we have to have him! 8/11 Boyles
Heat 2 Trap 6 Kilgraney Ace. It pains me to go against Native Chimes here, especially after he lined our pockets last week but the Ace is back on song and with an ideal draw tonight, looks assured of clear passage to the back-straight where his slick early pace can have the heat settled before turning for home. Expect Chimes to power around the inside runners at the second bend before going in pursuit but Ace is clocking well and should last home. 11/10 Boyles
Heat 3 Trap 4 Droopys Cabaye. The one to make the treble value but not selected solely on those grounds. Cabaye faces into a very tough heat where again, some supreme talents are in danger of elimination. Housed beside fellow unbeaten runner Tyrur Harold, who was in our treble last week, crucially Cabaye is on his inner. At first glance it looks lethal with Burnt Beans on the opposite side but the selection has not put a foot wrong at traps so far and if these race in tight quarters to the bend I would want to be on Cabaye every time.
Having stood close to the first bend, especially in Round One when he had threatening company alongside, Cabaye behaves live a scary monster entering the turn and is thoroughly willing to take the ground of any and all runners without any regard for his own safety....it other words, he really wants it! If I wasn't backing him in this heat, I wouldn't back any of the others for that very reason, I just couldn't be against him. Backing him to win that early battle amounts to backing him to win the race for if he turns first, he will not be passed and even that last comment was hard to type when you know Jaytee Jet is going to be powering from halfway....some heat! 3/1 Boyles
TREBLE pays 13.5-1 on Boyles
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 2nd
It's always one the most exciting nights on the racing calendar when the action converges to a single programme of eight third round heats and the 2017 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby will reach the halfway point tonight at Shelbourne Park.
The outlook of the event will become much more polarised come 10.30 pm with just 24 runners remaining, although some would contest that it had already been narrowed even beyond that form the very first exchanges and few could present a reasonable case to contradict those who claim that the Derby already lies between Sonic or Clares Rocket.
Sonic was simply awesome when extricating himself from a perilous first bend position while posting 29.62 last week and was arguably even more impressive than Clares Rocket in his scorching 29.15 success. The latter can again threaten the record if the expected rains can hold off until after Heat 6 but either way, he appears assured of clear passage tonight which can see him remain unbeaten. At odds of around 1/5 however, there's hardly even any point in sticking him in among your other accumulator selections.
At a similar price in a 5-runner Heat 2, Tyrur Harold can also justify a banker tag. From Trap 4, he will have an empty box to his left and likely to break sharper than he did last week, should only have Black Farren on his inner at the first bend while containing those on his outer. A clear run looks highly plausible and he is another favourite who should convert while confirming his very competitive outright claims.
While a drift left can't be ruled out, he has in the past and will now happily race outside runners to the bend; as for example when housed in Trap 5 for the Con & Annie Kirby Final. Tonight, Concrete Jungle is likely to dominate the early exchanges on the inner while Clona Kid would be the fancy to match or track him from Trap 5. The latter is an ideal rival to have on Chime's left in the context of this race and expect the Johnny O'Sullivan monster to range alongside him before setting off in chase of Concrete Jungle down the back. Somewhere between 7/4 & 2/1, he'll do for me!
TREBLE PAYS over 6/1 with BOYLES
HEAT 2 TRAP 4 TYRUR HAROLD
HEAT 3 TRAP 6 NATIVE CHIMES
HEAT 7 TRAP 6 SONIC
In the outright market, it's hard to recommend anything at this stage, and I won't! If you're on the Rocket or Sonic, fair play! And if like me you are on one of the others, it does look like we are going to need a poor break and/or a complicated draw for that pair before it is all over if we are to collect, an assertion, hot a wish!
That said, it's not even halfway yet and while they look unstoppable at present, you are never too far ahead of a supremely talented posse in the Irish Derby. It's far from a two-dog race and if there is one who I wish had in my ante-post portfolio at this point it would be Tyrur Harold....and I wouldn't put anyone off him at 14/1.
For the record my own betting hopes are with Native Chimes 33/1, Jaytee Jet 33/1, Swithins Brae 66/1. Keep her lit boys!
Saturday Aug 19th
I say at this point of every Derby, keep your heat betting to a minimum in the first round. It is always unpredictable and rarely as kind to favourite backers as Thursday's session was. That said, we are all going have a bet of some sort but mine will be a treble with fancied favourites that has real claims of clicking.
HEAT 11 JAYTEE YANKEE :- We have to respect Burnt Beans here and Brinkleys Blaze could possibly pose an early threat also but it's difficult to see a scenario where Yankee doesn't lead the trio to his inside on the run to the bend and that should bring safe passage, enough to justify favouritism at 11/10 on Boyles
HEAT 12 COLLEGE PARADISE :- These days I doubt there is very much between the selection and Jaytee Dutch on the run to the bend from a 550 yard box and the rails pitch should be enough for the Dowling runner to defend the inside line on his main rival before staying strongly for victory. 13/8 Boyles
HEAT 15 JAYTEE JET :- No disgrace in his latest Champion Stakes semi-final third and the make up of this heat gives Jet every chance to open with a win. Yes we have to be concerned about the intriguing Pension Plan and what he may achieve with a slick start but Cometwopass can cut out the running from Trap 5 which will ideally suit the selection. The Cronin runner will not drift out to inconvenience Jet and if Cometwopass sweeps the bend in front, Jet should have an ideal tow into the back-straight to set up his inevitable late surge for victory. 6/4 Boyles
Treble on Boyles pays almost 13/1
Saturday July 22nd
A busy night ahead with so much Open action around the country as the Bar One Sprint Cup completes Round 1 at Dundalk with their four remaining heats as the Tipperary Cup gets underway at Thurles. But for this week's Barking Buzz Column in the Irish Daily Star we concentrated on the final of the 2017 Irish Independent Laurels at Curraheen Park where Kilgraney Denver justified his selection over the past weeks and can convert in tonight's final.
RACE 8 TRAP 1 SUPER JESSE Win
RACE 9 TRAP 6 KILGRANEY DENVER lost
RACE 11 TRAP 2 CHEER FOR ME lost
RACE 8 TRAP 1 MOHANE ZARA Win
RACE 3 TRAP 4 BALLYREGAN TOURI lost
RACE 6 TRAP 1 BALLYGIBBA GAP lost
RACE 12 TRAP 4 KEEPERHILL MEGAN Won
RACE 11 TRAP 3 RASTABOOMBASTA lost
Saturday June 17th
So this week we prepare for the return of racing to Shelbourne Park and with a turbulent few months behind us, my greatest wish over the impending transition period for ex Harolds Cross patrons is that the personality clashes, differences of opinion and strained relations which were an inevitable part of the ongoing debates can now be repaired and set aside.
From a boy, the personalities and entertaining sporting characters were as big a draw to this sport as the greyhounds themselves. All in the one boat whether victorious or conceding defeat, in agreement or at loggerheads, they left a legacy of sportsmanship and acceptance of all views whether in agreement or no...but most of all, every night at the dogs was an opportunity to make a new friend and they invariably did, wherever their competing pride and joy took them.
Whatever side of the fence you were on throughout the cessation of racing at Shelbourne, I believe all in the sport are much more at ease with racing back in the capital but it must be said that those who believe the picket achieved little, are wrong!
Harolds Cross is lost and the IGB Board still in place but what the DGOBA and supporting groups have done is bring unprecedented political attention to our industry and ensured that the current board, or any future board, will be required to conduct their work under much more heightened scrutiny going forward. Even for those tasked with running our industry on any level from the top table to kennel sweeper, this is surely a welcome consequence of what was admittedly a very strained period for Irish Greyhound Racing.
However, returning to the opening sentiment I reiterate my wish that relations between all stakeholders can reach a calm balance going forward and that all can work together, from the same side off the fence!
Records keep tumblingIt is fair to say that Open class runners were devoid of suitable opportunities during the suspension of racing in Dublin but what that situation did bring was a greater focus on the Open events around the country in the interim as regional venues hosted feature events which are the mainstay for the vast masses whose racing experiences rarely if ever involve a trip to the capital.
We saw record breaking performances in the Race Of Champions at Tralee last weekend and last night, Killinan Rosie pulled off a shock in the final as the Buckley camp continued their brilliant winning sequence in finals. The stout stayer was always going to be difficult to contain when finding her best break and posted a slick 29.62 in a length victory over Cahir Castle with record breakers Native Chimes third; and Good News taking a concerning tumble when upsides Rosie at the opening bends. Speaking with connections, Good News appeared none the worse for his fall in the immediate aftermath.
Just a fortnight ago we saw Airmount Tess post new figures for the 750 yard trip at Cork in her march to Barrys Tea victory and last night at Longford Badminton Ciaran added further to the record breaking exploits around the country when scorching to 29.45 in his heat of the A1 550 Yard Longford Derby. The event however is A1 in name only after last night's second round as Drumsna Star had already posted 29.51 while Droopys Arieta clocked 29.61 in a subsequent heat so even with a new track record to his name, Badminton Ciaran has a job on his paws to claim outright success.
I love sprinting and would like to see ever increasing opportunities for superstars like Aulton Jet and Ballymac Bigmike to compete for major prize money. These speed freaks are a thing of beauty in full flight and Bigmike was at it again in Dundalk last night as he completed victory in the Open 400 yard final. Holding a half length advantage over Rathnasnare Champ on the run to the bend, he effectively secured victory by forcefully sweeping the first bend when hampering the Kirby finalist. That's four on the spin for Robert Gleeson's sprinting machine since his return from a seven month absence and his record reads more like a highly ranked boxer with 27 wins and just six defeats!
Some very tight heats in the Derby tonight where it's difficult to take adamant opinions about any of the heats and having done so, yet more difficult to get ample value. That said, 5/2 about Ballymac Matt is plenty attractive enough in Heat 6. He faces the track record holder and yes, if Tyrur Shay breaks like he did last week it's curtains for Matt in victory terms but head-on viewers last week will have seen Shay drive at the trap door, 3 times I believe, and he may have been a touch lucky to catch it just right on the third drive. From an Irish point of view and for PJ Fahy, I hope he does it again but if returning to the breaks we saw in trials and in Round One, Matt's 5/2 will look very appealing on the run to the bend from a suitable Trap 1 because this superstar of racing appears as good as ever at present and is exuding an heir of reliability at Towcester.
Heat 8 looks a very tricky assignment for Pay Buckley's Coolavanny Mason with interference among the inside runners highly likely. He has the all round pace to get himself out of trouble in qualification terms but the make-up of the race offers realistic claims for The Other Reg to lead around from Trap 5 and he has to be a betting proposition tonight at 11/4.
I will admit that when the draw was made I immediately drew a mental line through Heat 5 as a betting opportunity with two Irish big guns side by side but I'll get off the fence and suggest that Priceless Brandy has been exemplary so far and can land this heat. He needs to trap a bit sharper than last week but then so does Clares Rocket and so too does the best drawn dog in the race, Fweshfromthesesh in Trap 6. A clean run race please........but Brandy to command the inside on the back of the early pace he showed last week and hopefully lead home and Irish tri-cast because Yankee could make them all go if repeating his smart start of Round Two.