GREYHOUNDS: It’s Quarter-Finals time in the English Derby on Saturday whilst over in Shelbourne it’s the Semi-Finals of the Irish Oaks.
Ed Heads the Betting as 24 Remain in English Derby Hunt.
Ballinabola Ed is now as short as 6/4 to take this year’s English Derby at Towcester following another stunning performance when he was once again the fastest heat winner of the night. Breaking smartly from box five, Pat Buckley’s charge was soon in front and ran out a comfortable winner from Aussie Captain in 29:12. Buckley was also responsible for the next fastest heat winner when Singalong Sally showed fine battling qualities to beat Signet Ace.
We lost last year’s Derby winner Thorn Falcon in this heat as he could never recover from a slow start. Last year’s finalist Ballymac Fairone is still there, winning well in 29:54 for Liam Dowling. Other heat winners on the night were Global Vision (29:52) Savana Beau (29:55) Cape Cloud (29:38) Signet Goofy (29:55) and Kilkenny Santy (29:60). The four quarter-finals take place at Towcester this Saturday night, let us look at the heats.
Quarter-Final 1 (First three qualify)
Race 5 19:10 500m Flat (OR1)
1️⃣ KILDARE – Peter Cronin (Irish)
2️⃣ GLOBAL VISION – Seamus Cahill (Hove)
3️⃣ SIGNET ACE – Kevin Hutton
4️⃣ CAPE CLOUD – Peter Cronin (Irish)
5️⃣ COPPICE FOX (M) – Kevin Hutton
6️⃣ PRICELESS JET (W) – Paul Hennessy (Irish)
Verdict: Three Irish take on three English in the first quarter-final. Priceless Jet is a former track record holder around here in the past and has been one of the most consistent greyhounds in training over a variety of trip for the past couple of years. He is perfectly drawn in six and is sure to be on the premises at the business end. Kildare was a shade disappointing last week from four but is much better when in red. Its vital he holds his position early as you expect the middle pair of Signet Ace and Cape Cloud will be attempting catch me if you can tactics. Towcester is not the easiest track in the world to come from off the pace. Coppice Fox will struggle to get around the middle runners early and will have to do it the hard way. Global Vision is another who will be coming from off the pace and will need luck. I will side with the well-drawn Signet Ace to make all in heat one for Kevin Hutton.
Selection: Signet Ace.
Race 6 19:30 500m Flat (OR1)
1️⃣ BALLYMAC FAIRONE – Liam Dowling (Irish)
2️⃣ AUSSIE CAPTAIN – Patrick Janssens
3️⃣ HELLO HAMMOND – Paul Hennessy (Irish)
4️⃣ DEELISH FRANKIE – Patrick Janssens
5️⃣ BALLINABOLA ED (M) – Pat Buckley (Irish)
6️⃣ FAUGHAN REBEL (W) – Richard Yeates (Hove)
Verdict: Ballinabola Ed will once again be all the rage to take heat two, he is a general 7/4 shot for outright glory and as short as 2/5 to take this heat on Saturday. There is not a lot of early pace on show in this heat if the truth be told and a level break should see Ballinabola Ed lead comfortably, with only Aussie Captain and maybe Ballymac Fairone able to live with him early. Hello Hammond has been running the track well but is inconsistent at traps. Old man of the party Faughan Rebel is a real credit to connections and is running as well as ever as he approaches his fifth birthday. I can see Ballinabola Ed making all here with Ballymac Fairone most likely to follow him home.
Selection: Ballinabola Ed
Race 7 19:48 500m Flat (OR1)
1️⃣ BOBSLEIGH DREAM Pat Buckley (Irish)
2️⃣ MAKE NOISE Seamus Cahill (Hove)
3️⃣ SIGNET DENVER Kevin Hutton
4️⃣ ROMEO MAGICO Graham Holland (Irish)
5️⃣ DERRINASAFA BOSS (M) Seamus Cahill (Hove)
6️⃣ LAUTARO (M) Patrick Janssens
Verdict: Romeo Magico ran a blinder to get as close as he did last weekend, and he is much better drawn in four this weekend. All six dogs in heat three have a sub 4:18 sectional which suggests they can all come away racing on their day. Romeo Magico is due one of his better breaks and I can see it coming this weekend. He is one of the absolute best around when getting to the front early and at around about 3/1 he makes plenty of appeal in this. Record holder Lautaro will be a treat from six, but we have yet to see a dog fly out from six in the competition and have still only seen two heat winners from the outside box in the entire competition. Bobsleigh Dream and Make noise have chances from the inside boxes but will need one of their better exits. Romeo Magico to make all in heat three for me.
Selection: Romeo Magico
Race 8 20:05 500m Flat (OR1)
1️⃣ SAVANA BEAU – Diane Henry
2️⃣ KILKENNY SANTY – Seamus Cahill (Hove)
3️⃣ BALLYMAC BELVULT – Liam Dowling (Irish)
4️⃣ SINGALONG SALLY – Pat Buckley (Irish)
5️⃣ SIGNET GOOFY (M) – John Mullins
6️⃣ MICKYS BARRETT (M) – Jason Gray (Notts)
Verdict: The break will be crucial in the fourth quarter-final. If Singalong Sally can make one of her flying starts, she will head for the rails and may impede those one her left. The three on her inside are not renowned for fast starting or early pace so she has a definite chance to get across to the rails. Signet Goofy is unbeaten in the competition thus far and yet again finds himself with a dead railer on his left. The draw could not have been any better and he should turn second at worse. Every neutral fan is rooting for Mickys Barrett and his legion of owners, and he has a big chance of qualification. The prices for this heat would sway me towards Signet Goofy at 7/2.
Selection: Signet Goofy.
Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park.
The Sporting Press Online Edition Irish Oaks has reached the semi-final stage and the two semis are due to take place at the famous Dublin venue this Saturday night. Despite suffering defeat in the quarter-finals, Scooby Duchess remains the outright favourite. However, it is not an exaggeration to say any of the remaining twelve could win it. Let us look at both semi-finals.
1️⃣ BALLYMAC WHISPA
2️⃣ BALLYMAC MIRANDA
3️⃣ RAHA MOFO
4️⃣ DROOPYS GLOSS
5️⃣ RECKLESS NANNY (m)
6️⃣ TULLOVIN VITA (w)
Verdict: Ballymac Whispa and Droopys Gloss remain the only two unbeaten bitches in the competition. Ballymac Whispa is a bitch that possesses a huge finishing kick and ran a remarkable race to take Scooby Duchess in the shadow of the post last week, despite having her back legs taken from her up the home straight. Droopys Gloss is a former Juvenile Derby winner around here, she goes up well and stays strongly. Raha Mofo is a kennel companion of Droopys Gloss and trainer Murt Leahy will be hoping both can make it through to the final. Droopys Gloss has a good draw in four and will look to hold off the late challenge of Ballymac Whispa and Raha Mofo.
Selection: Droopys Gloss
1️⃣ BALLYMAC ART
2️⃣ DROPPYS NEXTONE
3️⃣ DARK AVA
4️⃣ SCOOBY DUCHESS
5️⃣ FLORENTIS (m)
6️⃣ FAHY DEVINE (w)
Verdict: Dark Ava holds the key to this race for me. Mark Robinson’s talented bitch is a snappy trapper on occasions but does head straight for the rails. Droopys Nextone and Ballymac Art will really need to be alert at trap rise. Scooby Duchess looks to have an ideal draw on the outside of Ava, and she should have a clear run in the early yards. Fahy Devine and Florentis face each other again from the same starting positions as last week, when Florentis proved too strong. The break is crucial, but for me Scooby Duchess has an ideal make up and could well make all.
Selection: Scooby Duchess.
Weekend’s Best Bets
Romeo Magico, two units win (19:48)
Ballinabola Ed, two units win (19:30)