Blitz owner Ellis 'not counting chickens'
Connections of all six finalists in the BoyleSports Irish Derby had positive reports on their charges when they turned up at Shelbourne Park yesterday for the traditional pre-Derby lunch.
The owner with the strongest hand is Derry butcher Paul Ellis, who has both Farloe Blitz and Farloe Rumble in the final.
While most owners spend a lifetime hoping for a Derby runner, let alone a finalist, Ellis will have had three Derby finalists in the space of a few months.
Farloe Blitz was strong favourite for the English Derby final and now the same dog will be contesting the Irish decider along with his younger half-brother.
Ellis feels privileged to be in such a position and credits trainer Owen McKenna and the dogs' breeder, the late Dessie Loughrey.
Ellis missed out on seeing his two dogs qualify - he was thousands of feet in the air when he received the news that both had made it through to the final.
After the heartbreak of Wimbledon, where he finished fourth behind Rio Quattro, Farloe Blitz is the 5/4 favourite at Shelbourne, with Farloe Rumble the 20/1 outsider.
"Blitz has a great draw but we are not counting our chickens by any means," said Ellis. "I actually have a much bigger bet about Rumble."
All six unbeaten semi-finalists were declared clear for the BoyleSports Consolation Derby when the draw was made.
Jaytee Jet was the solitary wide seed and he runs from six. The draw is: 1 Highview Apollo, 2 Shutthe Backdoor, 3 Blue Cafu, 4 Save The Don, 5 Tyrur Tommy, 6 Jaytee Jet (w).
Dublin Coach Derby
Fresh from his victory at a wet Newbridge on Friday in the final of the Texacloth Puppy Derby, Barnfield Panda will have a run around Harold's Cross today in preparation for the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby, which starts on Friday.
Trainer Pat Buckley confirmed that the dog will be contesting the Juvenile Derby and he will be a live contender. His early pace should be ideal for Harold's Cross, and he also stayed on well when challenged by Badminton Rossa and Skywalker Rory as he won in 28.47.
Buckley expects to have a few runners in the competition.
The news from Harold's Cross yesterday was that there are over 60 entries in the book and they are hopeful of achieving the required 72 in time for tomorrow morning's draw. All 12heats will be run on Friday.