Champions abound in Night of Stars fields
The sheer quality of Saturday's Night of Stars meeting at Shelbourne is quite staggering with virtually every champion over the various distances in the line-up for the eight valuable championship contests. It is all enhanced by five high-class open races which make it a star-studded 13-race programme.
The presence of the Derby and Oaks champions is a huge boost to the card with Ballymac Matt going the Derby 550 distance route, while Ballydoyle Honey steps up to the 600-yard trip over which she won the Billy Mulvaney Memorial.
Ballymac Matt will have no fewer than three other Derby finalists in opposition in the BoyleSports 550, Gaytime Hawk, Farloe Rumble and Peregrine Falcon, while classic winners Paradise Silva and Skywalker Rory complete the line-up.
Meanwhile, Ballydoyle Honey will run from six in the Ballymac Stud 600 and her rivals will be Ballyhooly Henry, Offshore Bound, Paradise Maverik, Country Legend and Cable Bay.
Two British challengers will figure. The Mark Wallis-trained Ribble Atom will take on Ballymac Bonnie, Tradition and company in the Ted Hegarty 850, while Kevin Hutton's Swansalona Diva goes for the Track Bookmakers 750 where Vulturi and Fire Height Amy are among the home runners.
With Ballydoyle not involved in the Support Wimbledon Bitch 525, the mantle of favouritism could well go to Skywalker Rossa which won the Fitzpatrick Memorial Oaks at Newbridge.
Last year's winner Lenson Sanchez will defend the BIF 525 in his first race since being injured but he has trialled very well and faces quite a test with the likes of Slippery Fred, Quietly and Fair Taxes in opposition.
As a result of the increase in the number of races to 13 on Saturday, owners and trainers are warned of the earlier weigh-in and starting times. Weigh-in will be between 6.15 and 6.55pm while the first race will be at 7.27pm. There will be no trials before racing.
Fintan O'Murchu's Ians Tumble (10.00) has been very consistent in her regular visits to Shelbourne but her performance last week in an A3 final suggested that the strapping tracker would be better suited by a little bit of extra ground. She contests a 575 and a trap one draw really boosts her prospects.
The Beatrice Steiner-trained Jaxxon Parado (9.45) was noted staying on strongly over six bends last week behind Graigues Penny and a repeat of that running will see her go close in this open-looking 750 contest.
There will be a special "Golden Oldies" meeting at Kilcohan Park next Tuesday with racing between 3.0 and 5.0pm.