Clares Rocket can live up to bookies' Derby billing
The BoyleSports Irish Derby got off to a good start on Thursday night but it should go into orbit tonight at Shelbourne when the remaining 12 heats will feature the initial appearance of many of the leading fancies.
Chief among these will be Clares Rocket (10.12), which goes into the classic as one of the shortest ever ante-post favourites. Sponsors BoyleSports stand alone in offering 5/1 about the Graham Holland-trained flying machine, while the other firms are solid on 4/1.
It is a very short price as we know the pitfalls that can lie ahead but if this dog continues to break in the style to which we have become accustomed he will take an awful lot of stopping.
By his standards he has a relatively easy task in Heat 21, where he should lead all the way and probably be chased home by kennel companion Sonic.
A number of other high-profile contenders swing into action and the prime position has to be awarded to Jaytee Jet, which in his latest race won the English Derby.
Toms The Best is the only dog to have done the double but, really, Shelbourne should suit Jaytee Jet better than Wimbledon.
Paul Hennessy's dog may be short of a run but the trainer is very happy with him and he can race to victory in Heat 13 from Skywalker Rory and Farloe Rumble.
Jet's litter brother Jaytee Dutch goes in Heat 14 and he has a really hot battle in prospect with Pat Buckley's English Derby runner-up Droopys Roddick (8.42). The pair of them can dominate the contest but Roddick has the benefit of a recent run and that may swing it in his favour.
One of the races of the night can be Heat 12 where St Leger winner Skywalker Manner and English Derby fourth Lenson Rocky (8.12) go head to head.
But don't discount the chances of Cahir Castle, Must Be Jack and Leave At Dawn, any of which could make the principals work very hard for victory.
We must mention that marvellous bitch Ballydoyle Honey (9.42) which can strike a blow for the females with victory in Heat 18.
Looking through the remaining heats strong cases can be made for Farloe Joey (7.42), Milldean Puma (7.57) , Droopys Nine (8.57), Borna Sounds (9.27) and value bet of the night Dromscarra Ruby (9.57).
The final of the Red Mills Unraced will be run at Curraheen this evening and Burgess Dubh (8.20) gets the vote, while tomorrow evening at Dundalk the final of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup will round off a fine dual raceday.
Robert Gleeson appears to have the answer to this event with both Ballymac Bigmike and Toolmaker Scot set to dominate.