Derby entries may hit 'ideal' 192
The number of entries for the English Derby is dropping fast ,and it is possible that the final number of names in the draw on Sunday will be less than the preferred maximum of 192.
When the classic closed last week there were 210 entries in the book. But by yesterday evening the number standing was 194.
From an Irish viewpoint the highest profile withdrawal is the former Pat Norris-trained Bull Run Bolt which won the Texacloth Juvenile Derby at Newbridge last year as well as finishing third in both the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby and the Comerford Cakes 525. He is lame.
Meanwhile, Graham Holland's leading contenders were given another spin around the Towcester track on Wednesday and dipped under the official track record with a 28.98 effort while Kiss And Hug and Drive On Tipp did 29.29, Sonic 29.38 and Garryvoe Bobby 29.47.
The two fastest trials were the 28.96 from Droopys Bonucci and 28.97 from Bubbly Bluebird.
Despite drifting in the betting in the past week Clares Rocket is still the general 16/1 joint favourite for the Derby along with Paul Hennessy's Priceless Brandy and Droopys Buick in next in the lists at 20/1.
It is then 25/1 Bubbly Bluebird, Dorotas Wildcat and Dorotas Woo Hoo.
Top meeting tonight is at Dundalk where the heats of the Barber Kennels Stake will be run. There was a massive response to this competition which necessitates ten heats tonight and another two tomorrow.
The big race of the weekend is the final of the Red Mills Champion Unraced Stake at Kilkenny on Sunday evening with a winner's prize of €10,000.
The strong odds on favourite with BoyleSports is Buckos Dream at 4/6. This son of Superior Product and Dalcash Dvinsky is trained by Michael O'Donovan for Dave Buckley and has come through the preliminaries unbeaten and with a best of the competition 28.87 in last week's semi-finals.
He is consistent to the bend but will need to do everything right to lead Pat Guilfoyle's Tullovin Kim around the opening bend.