Dunne's Slippery duo eye Wimbledon prize
The Irish challenge for the William Hill English Derby is shaping up and two more of our prospective team visited Wimbledon yesterday for trials around the Derby distance of 480 metres.
Larry Dunne sent over Slippery Fred and Slippery Fran and in their first look at the track they performed satisfactorily when clocking 28.67 and 28.75 respectively.
Slippery Fred is a very interesting candidate having run Sidarian Blaze to a length in the final of the Dandelion Bar & Nightclub Easter Cup at Shelbourne and he had clocked a brilliant 29.49 for the 550 yards in winning his first-round heat. Slippery Fran is a puppy on the upgrade and he is well capable of improving hugely on his form to date.
The list of the weekend trials has not yet been released but it is expected that a number of Irish-trained dogs will be in action.
The English Derby is scheduled to commence on either Wednesday, May 27 or Thursday, May 28 with the final down for decision on Saturday, June 27.
Mention of that date reminds that there is a bad clash as far as Irish owners and trainers are concerned as the final of the Gain Open 600 will be run that night at Shelbourne Park.
What a pity that the finals of two such high-profile events should be run in opposition.
Looking for potential winners, I am concentrating on the latter half of the card at Shelbourne where the final of the Gain A2/3 is the top race. Here Maureen Finnegan's Nushkas Sean Og (10.06) is very much the one to beat. He has top early pace and can lead around the bend and go on to victory.
We've mentioned Larry Dunne's Wimbledon runners earlier in this article and he can be among the winners at Shelbourne also. Slippery Snowy (9.52) is a comrade to Slippery Fran and really impressed me with a powerful finish last Saturday night. A repeat performance should see him win this A1 event. Another that makes appeal is the Graham Holland-trained Hovex Princess (9.38) which is a lassie with a lot of potential .
The Enniscorthy St Leger reaches the semi-final stage and two intriguing races are in prospect. The first heat provides us with a re-run of last week's great battle between Coyote Sea (9.15) and Knight Bite but with the added presence of such as Kacys Blu and Luminous Rock.
The second semi features the heat winners Skyview Blue (9.30), General Idea and Ballinabola Ace and there is little between them on the clock. If Eugene Dempsey's Skyview Blue can make one of his flying starts, he should be the one.