Sunday 25 September 2016

Farloe Blitz can become Derby champion

Published 19/09/2015 | 02:30

Shortly after 9.15 tonight, the 2015 BoyleSports Irish Derby champion will be crowned at Shelbourne Park.
Shortly after 9.15 tonight, the 2015 BoyleSports Irish Derby champion will be crowned at Shelbourne Park.

Shortly after 9.15 tonight, the 2015 BoyleSports Irish Derby champion will be crowned at Shelbourne Park.

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It will be the culmination of a fascinating journey over the past five weeks which has seen the field reduced from 144 hopefuls to six finalists and, tonight, one outstanding champion.

It is the most open Derby decider we have encountered in many years and not one of the connections of the final six will travel to Dublin without genuine hopes of hitting the jackpot.

The big two in the classic have been Ballymac Matt and Farloe Blitz, while Peregrine Falcon and Gaytime Hawk have also won four of their five outings in the competition.

Will one of these make it five from six tonight or will that honour go to Cable Bay or Farloe Rumble?

It is hard to visualise anything but Ballymac Matt or Farloe Blitz lifting the €125,000 prize but the formbook shows that any one of these six is capable of racing to glory.

The strongest attribute of any of the finalists is the superb early pace of Farloe Blitz which virtrually guarantees that he will race clear into the back.

But there are other factors that could affect his normal ways, particularly the build-up and the huge roar which emanates when the mechanical hare begins its journey.

Will he make his usual flying start or will he struggle as he did in the final at Wimbledon where he was an odds-on favourite?

Somehow, I feel that the Farloe Blitz of the moment is a more settled and consistent performer than he was three months back.

Can he hold the almost certain challenge from Ballymac Matt? Last week only three parts of a length separated them after the gap was four times bigger out of the second bend.

Can Matt beat outside neighbours Peregrine Falcon and Gaytime Hawk to the bend?

Gaytime Hawk has been fastest in the previous two rounds and has peaked at a very opportune time but can he clear Peregrine and Ballymac?

Is Peregrine capable of maintaining his magnificent rate of progress or can Cable Bay produce one of his great finishing surges.

What about Farloe Rumble, which gives Owen McKenna and Paul Ellis a second chance of victory. Can he step up to the form of which he is well capable?

The answers will be provided at about 9.16pm when Farloe Blitz may race into the history books at the expense of Ballymac Matt and Gaytime Hawk.

Racing commences at 7.15pm with gates opening at 4pm and my best bets are Jumeirah Star (7.51), Ballymac Bonnie (9.52) and Ballyhooly Henry (10.37).

Irish Independent

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