English Derby to restructure prize format
The decision by the British authorities and the sponsors William Hill to restructure the prizemoney distribution for the English Derby is a very interesting one and will certainly satisfy the demands from many quarters for a fairer distribution of the cash.
The obsession in the past has been with the mega winner's prize and this saw the winner of the 2015 English Derby receive a whopping £250,000. The result was a massive entry of 255 this year and saw that ridiculous situation where only two dogs qualified from a number of heats.
Under the new arrangement for next year, the winner will receive £150,000 but prizemoney down the line will be increased. Strangely enough, the runner-up prize will be reduced from £25.000 to £20,000 but the other finalists will receive much bigger money with the last-placed finalist taking £10,000, compared with £4,500 this year. Also heat money all the way through will be improved.
Unfortunately, it would appear that the "two to qualify" stipulation will remain for a number of heats and I suspect that overall the changes could mean fewer Irish entries than were received this year.
By the way, the final of the English Derby will be on June 4, the same day as the Epsom Derby.
Like brother . . .
Droopys Roddick is very much in the headlines these days following his massively impressive start to his career. Well, indications are that there could be another superstar member of that Droopys Jet/Droopys Start litter!
At yesterday morning's trial session at Shelbourne, Roddick's litter brother Droopys Awesome clocked 28.54 in his qualifying trial. It was his first time over 525 and came on the back of an 18.82 sprint run a few weeks back. By the way, another litter brother, Droopys Approve, went around in 28.94 yesterday and previously had a 28.72 spin.
The litter brothers are owned by the Paschal Taggart-run Diamonds Are Forever Syndicate and trained by Fraser Black. No firm plans have been made yet but it will be a surprise if we don't see them in the Red Mills Unraced in the first days of January at Clonmel.
This is a relatively quiet Friday night but there is a nice programme on offer at Harold's Cross and the bet of the evening could be Fraser Black's Kevin Patrick (10.10) in an A2 event. Relatively lightly raced, he was a semi-finalist in the Produce Stakes and an inside draw should bring the best out of him.
Ollie Bray's Knight Invader (9.40) would be better than current opposition on his best form and will appreciate the ease in grade, while Leonard O'Hanlon's Ballymac Galtee (8.25) must have prospects on his Enniscorthy form.