'Boy' and 'Rumble' can progress to Laurels decider
The battle will be on for next week's six final tickets for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels at Curraheen Park tonight with Farloe Rumble and Curious Boy still the clear ante-post favourites to claim the €30,000 prize.
Right from the start of the classic these two dogs have dominated this competition with a series of great performances and it will be a surprise if they don't make it through to the big night.
Gerry Holian's Curious Boy (9.48) suffered his first defeat of the classic last week when missing the kick and then being outstayed by the remarkable veteran bitch Twilight Tear. He faces a huge early-paced battle with Ian Reilly's Quietly in the first semi and can afford no slips at the start. Quietly flies to the third bend but is not the strongest home and the likelihood is that both Curious Boy and Quietly can make it through to the final and the well-drawn Rural Hawaii could also make it.
Owen McKenna's Farloe Rumble (10.03) must rank as one of the unluckiest dogs ever as far as trap draws are concerned. He loves the inside slot but he invariably gets the draws to suit a wide seed. Would you believe that he hasn't drawn the inside box for almost a year, July 15 last year to be precise!
Farloe goes from trap five in the second heat and the premium once again will be on his stunning pace from the second bend where he normally manages to get to the inside. He clearly has the winning of this race but will he get the run? We'll take the easy way out and nominate Farloe Rumble, Gyp Rosetti and Must Be Jack to make it to the final.
Shelbourne racegoers can enjoy the best of both worlds as they can savour the action in the ECC Timber Open 550 as well as the Inter Track coverage of the Laurels action - and Toolmaker Scot's Sunderland run also on the big screens.
The emerging stars will be in action in the ECC and there will be increased attention focused on Paul Hennessy's Priceless Brandy (9.42) as a result of his messed-up start last week. The new star of the track recovered magnificently last week to finish a two-length third behind Keplar Nine.
He again occupies the inside box in the first semi-final and is expected to get away much better this time and to seal victory over the likes of Sober Call and Coolavanny Mason.
Owen McKenna has a strong hand with Sober Call and Keplar Nine (9.57) in the semis and the latter appeals as the dog to beat in a tough second heat where Kiss And Hug and Bull Marker appear to be the main dangers.
Over at Sunderland tonight the Robert Gleeson-trained Toolmaker Scot (8.42) contests the second semi-final of the William Hill Classic which can be viewed live on RPGTV. Willie Hyslop's dog was hugely impressive when winning the first round and he can overcome both Bubbly Turbo and Hiya Butt this time.