Droopys Roddick can overcome tough Derby task
Since the withdrawal of Clares Rocket on Monday the new favourite for the BoyleSports Irish Derby has been Droopys Roddick and Pat Buckley's dog faces a tough test when he contests the concluding Heat 16 at Shelbourne Park this evening.
The English Derby runner-up has been in tremendous form all season and he was a runaway winner in the opening round in 29.62. The time was a trifle disappointing but many of the returns that night were slower than anticipated and if Roddick can get a clear run this time he should post a hot target for the others.
But Roddick (10.12) has a difficult draw in trap two with his main rivals Peregrine Falcon and Skywalker Rory on either side of him. Peregrine Falcon has already contested two Derby finals but didn't impress last week. In contrast, Skywalker Rory led all the way and the St Leger hero showed the way home to Jaytee Jet. He is a major threat but Droopys Roddick can prove too strong.
There won't be many leaving Shelbourne early as the English Derby winner Jaytee Jet (9.57) is due to contest Heat 15 and he also has a tough task in hand. His major danger will surely be the Owen McKenna-trained Cahir Castle which goes from trap two with an empty box on his inside.
There's no doubt Cahir Castle is an impressive youngster and is sure to run a big race. But Ela Alecko may give him enough to do early and Jaytee Jet won't need much outside assistance. He is likely to break faster this time than he did last week and Paul Hennessy's dog can push home his claims for a Derby double.
Also in action tonight will be last year's champion Ballymac Matt (9.12) which was a little below par when winning his first round heat in 30.02. However, Liam Dowling has reported the dog to be in top form and he is hoping for a big run from the champion.
A major danger can be the Hennessy-trained Jaytee Dutch which was a semi-finalist in the Wimbledon classic. If he can avoid giving away ground on his bends he will run a blinder and is the obvious danger to Ballymac.
A third English Derby finalist will be in action with the Buckley-trained Lenson Rocky (8.27) contesting the opening heat. He has the early pace to lead around the bend and it would be difficult to see him beaten from there. Highview Event looks his major danger.
Hennessy has another major hope in the young dog Priceless Brandy (8.42) which posted a brilliant new record at Kilkenny. He had a little setback prior to the opening round but the trainer reports him in good condition and he can win Heart 10. Others to note are Hovex Blaze, Milldean Puma and Farloe Rumble.