GREYHOUNDS: Look ahead to the first-round heats from the second night of the Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park
Verdict: We kick off Saturday night with the battle of the ladies. Recent six bend classic winner Crafty Kokoro is obviously better over further, however she really powers home over this trip. She flew home here last week when Bockos Crystal was gone beyond recall. Crystal again reopposes tonight and will try to employ similar tactics.
Cushie Concorde is well capable on his day while Ballygraigue Jim is another who will be doing his best work late. Bockos Crystal is drawn to go clear early and look to hold of the flying finish of Crafty Kokoro.
GAA GAA CARLA
Verdict: Heat fifteen is packed with strong running trackers and the early lead may well be up for grabs. Manalishi Chief has some fine sprint form and looks a likely leader with Rowlers Road another who can go up strongly. Hoodoo Brown is exceptionally fast and could well have some room to operate early as the early birds set off for glory.
Bobsleigh Dream is another powerful lady, and she too will be flying from halfway. Gaa Gaa Carla will be looking to get first crack at the pace setters from an ideal draw and last weeks performance was a career best. I’ll take a chance Hoodoo Brown can navigate a safe passage early before showing his stunning pace down the far side.
TOMMY TOO MANY
Verdict: Maries Wedding went under 28 seconds earlier in the year and its safe to say luck has deserted her on more than one occasion. A lightly raced bitch she remains one to keep on the right side of and could go deep into the competition. Droopys Gravy is an interesting runner, he ran well in the recent sprint cup at Dundalk and always looked like the step back up in trip would suit.
Galloping Sydney has won seven of his eleven starts and is well drawn for his Shelbourne debut. Tommy Too Many is one I like here. He ran well in the Kirby Memorial at Limerick and at big odds I would not put anyone off having a few quid on Tommy Too Many for outright glory.
Verdict: Battle of the early pacers here. Bockos Budsit has exceptional early speed when he comes away in good style, but new kid on the block Velasco is another with blinding early speed. Budsit has the stronger form in the book, but he will have to be on his A game to lead up Velasco.
The wonderfully named Pablo Escobark now has the unwanted tag of “fastest maiden in training.” He is incredibly fast but gives away vital ground in the early yards. Storys Peewee is another who will be doing his best work late on and the draw may well work in his favour.
Verdict: Heat eighteen sees another English Derby finalist, Hello Hammond. He returned to winning way last week in his usual last to first style at Kilkenny. He can come away racing on occasions and he is certainly hard to predict. His kennel mate Illnotbeback has impressed in her recent trials and is well drawn out in six as the sole wide seed.
The inside trio of Cape Cloud, Flaminmoneybags and Macho Pride are all top performers who will be seen to best effect when leading. A chance is taken that Cape Cloud can make the most of the trap draw and resume winning ways.
Verdict: Plenty of big hitters battle it out in heat nineteen. Last year’s favourite and finalist Explosive Boy comes here in red hot form after winning the recent Dundalk international. His recent prep trail around Tralee was stunning. Born Warrior was a runaway winner of the recent Boylesports Champion Plate and has an exceptional race record of nine wins from twelve starts. He has blistering early pace and is second to none when it comes to bend running.
Skywalker Cilla won the consolation Derby last year and amazingly is the fastest in this line-up over the trip, Cricket Score will finish fast.
PEACH TREE EAST
Verdict: Kilgraney Sydney loves the fence and is a tough nut to crack when able to dictate. For a dog of his ability its disappointing he has only won on four occasions. Sunshine Dream in two was an eyecatcher in a recent Derby trail session and can go up strongly. Ross Dame is another to come from the Sprint Cup in Dundalk and he will be looking to make an early bid for glory.
Crafty Bonanza has an experience edge on most of his rivals, he ran well in the recent red hot Champion Stakes and has won plenty of top-class races around Shelbourne Park in recent months. He sets a good standard and can take this at the expense of Kilgraney Sydney.
Verdict: Glendalough was a fine winner on Derby final night last year and posted a flying run in a recent Derby trial session around here, he may struggle to lead a couple of theses but has plenty of pace. The beautifully bred Ballymac Leon caught my eye in the recent Champion 550 around here and looks to have a good draw to operate from, I feel the best is yet to come from Ballymac Leon. Magical Kuba has huge ability when everything clicks but personally, I feel he may just lack a yard of early pace when we get to the latter stages. He should lead up out wide and will hope to secure a good run into the back straight.
Twoinarow was runner up in the recent Champion Stakes behind One Time Only and has featured at the head of the Derby betting since late last year. It will require a flying start from him to lead up Ballymac Leon. I will side with Ballymac Leon to make all in heat twenty-one.
Verdict: In heat twenty-two we see last year’s Juvenile Derby winner Droopys Gloss take on last years National Puppy stake winner Scooby Prince. For me Droopys Gloss is the more consistent of the two and has gone on to slightly better things. She has an experience edge over most of her rivals in this heat.
Ballymac Bronze is the youngest runner in this year’s Derby at just nineteen months old and is open to any amount of improvement. Callaway Masters was a good winner over further last time at the expense of Athlacca Zette who reopposes again tonight.
STREAM OF SYDNEY
Verdict: For many this is the heat of the round, Ballymac Fairone is a former English Derby finalist, Droopys Nextone was an unlucky third in the Oaks final. Vincenzo was a brilliant winner of the recent Champion 550 and out in six we have Champion Stakes third and recent 575 track record breaker Senimental Lad. Stream Of Sydney and Dream Step would be strongly fancied to win most of the other heats! It really is an exceptional race.
Its almost impossible to find the likely leader. On their best runs you would have to say Vincenzo or Stream Of Sydney, but Ballymac Fairone is well able to flash out on occasions. Sentimental Lad is incredibly powerful from halfway. Its impossible to call. I will be watching this one with no bet if I am honest. Tentative selection, Ballymac Fairone at a price.
WI CAN DREAM
Verdict: Wi Can Dream looked a superstar early on in his career but has a few small injuries that have curtailed his career thus far. He will be having only his seventh outing of his career in this and is expected to improve on last weeks Shelbourne debut. Its not the strongest of heats with most of the field stepping up in class.
Kilgraney Clang has run well around here in the past while Midfield Deano was impressive on his Shelbourne Park debut last month. It would be disappointing if Wi Can Dream was not involved.
Verdict: Kennel mates Singalong Sally and Ballinabola Ed clash in the penultimate event of the first round. Singalong Sally was runner up in this last year behind Suzie Sapphire while Ballinabola Ed is the current ante-post favourite at 13.0. Ed ran so well in the recent English Derby and has moved impressively in his recent trials around Shelbourne Park, however, he has yet to race around Shelbourne and that is always off-putting for me.
Droopys Edison was a finalist in the Juvenile Classic as well as contesting the final of the Kirby memorial at Limerick. He impressed in a recent sprint trial around Dundalk. Singalong Sally has run well around here in the past and her experience could tell in this red-hot heat.
CALLAWAY PRO AM
Verdict: The last of the first-round heats. Bockos Leah won well here a few weeks back during the worst of the weather and that run can certainly be up graded. That run was officially marked as .30 slow but that may well have been an understatement. Ballymac Ben is well drawn as the sole wide side but will need to improve on his recent trial effort.
Urban Fire has been in fine form recently and always gives his running. For me Bockos Leah is just a step above her rivals and can take the last heat.
Weekend’s Best Bets:
Good Cody (21:04 GMT) two units win
Coolavanny Calvn (21:24) one unit win
Hoodoo Brown (19:29) one unit win Wi Can Dream (22:09) three units win