Ballydoyle Honey to stake her Derby claim
The BoyleSports Irish Derby has taken on a totally new complexion following the withdrawal of hot favourite Clares Rocket and as we enter the opening phase of the second round at Shelbourne this evening there is a new Classic favourite in the form of Droopys Roddick.
The new market leader won't be in action this evening but there will be stars in abundance on show.
The super bitch Ballydoyle Honey (8.58) is now the main hope of the 15-strong Graham Holland team and she goes in Heat 5 where she will take some beating. It is a heat that is not bubbling over with early pace and the Honey could well lead to the bend. When she leads, she wins and she is nominated to lead home the impressive Coolykereen Jack and Droopys Tee.
Disputing second favouritism with Ballydoyle is the Michael O'Donovan-trained Laughil Duke (7.58) and this half-brother to previous Derby winner Laughil Blake has the ability to win the opening heat at his ease. He wasn't overly impressive in the first round when he got up late to win but he is capable of better and he looks banker material to win a heat that includes Holycross Leah and Jo Jo Fantasy.
Droopys Smasher (9.12), another major fancy, goes in Heat 6 and the youngster looks too good for Must Be Jack and Tyrur Siucra.
Strong hand in Classic
Owen McKenna has a strong hand in the Classic and can be on the mark with Sober Call (8.28) which can lead all the way to beat Sidarian Pearl and Droopys Awesome.
Holland's Rural Hawaii (8.43) looks one of the bankers of the night in Heat 4 where he should be too good for Tyrur Van Gaal and Newlawn Luke.
Value bet of the night could be Holland's Sonic (9.28) in Heat 7. He lost ground at the bend last week but closed the gap on Trade Freddie and can overcome that rival this time. Ballyhooly Henry and Keplar Nine look the threats.
Mucho Macho Man (8.13) has been withdrawn by Paul Hennessy from Heat 2 and Skywalker Manner looks generously priced. He can lead home Farloe Joey and Leave At Dawn.
The withdrawals from Saturday's heats are Kilgraney June, Clares Rocket and Crohane Ronnie.