Sunday 26 February 2017

Derby pointers on show at Shelbourne Park

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Curious Boy has been extremely impressive in the past two rounds and in the semi-final he came from behind to lead home Black Tom and previously unbeaten Boherna Pedro (Stock image)
Curious Boy has been extremely impressive in the past two rounds and in the semi-final he came from behind to lead home Black Tom and previously unbeaten Boherna Pedro (Stock image)

We are in that valley period between the end of the Champion Stakes and the commencement of the BoyleSports Irish Derby but, nevertheless, Shelbourne Park this evening should be a very informative place.

There will be a strong team of Derby contenders going through their trial paces prior to racing and then a large number of other classic challengers will be involved in the subsequent 12-race card which kicks off at the usual 7.42pm starting time.

There are a number of interesting races on the card but the most intriguing can be the concluding AAO 550 where Trial Stake winners Affane Scolari, Ballyana Foxtrot and Blue Navajo will be involved against Gaytime Hawk, Slippery Snowy and the highly regarded puppy Secreto. Moss O'Connor's Secreto came to Shelbourne with a very big reputation last week and there was a mixed reaction to his running when beaten just over three lengths by Ballybough Mike in a flying time.

Personally, I felt that Secreto ran very promisingly on his Dublin debut, his first race outside A3 grade and first time under lights. He looked lost at times in the race as he eased on his bends and he could improve this evening by leaps and bounds. Gaytime Hawk is a very formidable tracker but Secreto (10.27) earns the vote. There were some flying trials on Thursday with brilliant Oaks winner Ballydoyle Honey going around in 28.29, while Murt Leahy's Material Man went even faster with a superb 28.23 run.

Tipp Cup final

The big meeting of the year takes place at Thurles tomorrow with the final of the €7,500 Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup the highlight of a classy meeting due to commence at 7.30pm.

The trap draw has made this a really open race with Gerry Holian's Curious Boy (9.45) bidding to add this prize to the Kerry Hospital Stake he won at Tralee.

Curious Boy has been extremely impressive in the past two rounds and in the semi-final he came from behind to lead home Black Tom and previously unbeaten Boherna Pedro. The inside runner Tynwald Rodney also comes right into consideration while The Other Major and Lemon Miley complete the field.

The Clonmel card includes three finals headed by the Tullymurry Act @ Stud Open Unraced where Tim O'Donovan's Fairway View (9.15) makes most appeal. He is easily the fastest of the finalists with a 28.58 run last week and a trap one draw should be an added bonus. Brendan Maunsell's Big Time Ruby looks the main danger.

The card also features the BoyleSports Derby TS where Owen McKenna's Believe (9.00) may claim his direct entry to the classic.

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