Ash can give O'Donovan overdue success
Clonmel is the focus of the greyhound world this weekend with the National Meeting kicking off this morning at Powerstown Park (11.0), while the three-day Racing Festival will get underway at the local track tonight (7.30).
The crowds were pouring into the South Tipperary town yesterday and the name on most lips was Blueview Rio, which is 7/1 ante-post favourite with the sponsors for the €50,000 to the winner BoyleSports Derby.
This fella is now trained by Ian Reilly after being bought by the KSS Syndicate on the strength of his victories at Trim and Old Kilcullen. He hasn't got the best of draws as he will be scheduled to meet the hotly fancied Portane Ash in the second round if things go according to plan.
Portane Ash is one of seven runners in the classic for Michael O'Donovan, who is long overdue a success in this classic. I suspect that this could be O'Donovan's year and I am siding with Portane Ash to triumph, though he also has real prospects in Black Barracuda and Im Wide Awake.
Others likely to run well in the dog classic are Brian Divilly's Crafty Toro and Crafty Tonino, Owen McKenna's Newinn Whisper and John O'Flynn's Somelittlestar.
The Oaks is being sponsored for the first time by the Horse & Jockey Hotel, and Graceandglamour is the favourite with BoyleSports at 7/1.
It is difficult to assess the Oaks form as many of the bitches have had limited experience and will arrive at Powerstown as largely unknown quantities. But we can only judge them on what has been achieved up the field and the two against the field may be the Gerry Holian-trained Laurdella Dani and Ashley Mangan-handled Banba Be Lucky.
Dani impressed when making it through at New Ross, while Banba Be Lucky looked smart when claiming her ticket at Abbeyfeale. We'll give the vote to Dani to go all the way.
Today's action will see one run through both the Oaks and Derby and the afternoon will conclude with the first round of the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stake.
Meanwhile, it's business as usual at Harold's Cross tonight and two that appeal are dogs that have been running at Shelbourne.
Joe Sweeney's Wheres Joe (9.10) will be well suited by the red jacket and he has performed at a much higher level in the past, while the Tommy Bolton-trained Master Moroney (9.55) was right in the shake-up in an A1 550 last Saturday and will find this grade more to his liking.