Dutch and Honey can again be Shelbourne stars
The Comerford Cakes Stake has produced more than its share of major upsets over the years but it will be a massive surprise if Jaytee Dutch doesn't progress to this year's semi-finals when he contests the last of the third round heats at Shelbourne Park this evening.
Paul Hennessy's brilliant youngster has picked up huge experience in his early campaign and last week's excellent run suggests that he has found his ideal starting slot as an inside seed.
He was power and pace personified then as he toured the 525 yards in 28.15 and a trap three draw should be no problem this evening. Mind you, it is a tough contest but Jaytee Dutch (10.27) clearly has the beating of the improving Proud Graham and Razldazl Rince.
Owen McKenna, who has Aayamza Seve in opposition to Jaytee Dutch in the final heat, can have his own winner of Heat 3 in Farloe Joey (10.12) which lived up to his potential last week with an excellent from-behind 28.39 run. He may be drawn a little far out but he picked up fast-starting Creamery Bale and can repeat the effort here while Maglass Razzle and Anophelescan also figure.
The trap draw can be vital in the opening heat and best housed is Michael O'Donovan's early pacer Lone Scolari (9.42) which can lead home Toolmaker Scot and Thinly Veiled.
The remaining quarter-final features a fair sprinkling of early pace and the draw can again prove crucial with Graham Holland's Jo Jo Fantasy (9.57) poised to pounce up the inside with Scary Days the likely leader for the first half of the race.
The Shelbourne card also includes the second round of the Gain Christmas Oaks and that means another opportunity to enjoy Ballydoyle Honey (8.12) in action. In a race where Graham Holland may be tempted to close his eyes at times, Ballydoyle faces two excellent kennel companions in Skywalker Pearl and Rural Maui. If Skywalker can repeat her flying start of week it would likely allow Ballydoyle a clear run in behind and the Oaks heroine cannot be opposed.
Holland also has a big say in the first heat but Brendan Matthews' Follys View (7.57) gets the nod from her draw. Shane O'Gorman's Yahoo Perlena (8.27) can lead all the way in Heat 3, while Harry Sharpe's Greenhill Pearl (8.42) is capable of better than last week in the final heat.
Also tonight the Macroom Motor Services Open 575 gets under way at Curraheen Park and the nominations for the heats are Francie Murray's Leezie Lindsay (9.16), Pat Guilfoyle's Skywalker Rory (9.46) and John Kiely's Newlawn Simon (10.01).