Huge shocks make Duke the new Derby favourite
The punters must have felt punch drunk following a night of reversals when the second round of the Boylesports Irish Derby reached its conclusion at Shelbourne Park.
The result of it all is that Michael O'Donovan's Laughil Duke, which won the opening heat of the round on Thursday, in a fastest of the round 29.43, is now the 5-1 favourite with the sponsors to win the Classic. That would see him emulate his half-brother Laughil Blake which won this Classic two years ago.
Just one of the eight favourites obliged in the Derby heats and that sole success was for the Pat Buckley-trained Lenson Rocky in the first heat, where he displayed class and determination in holding Highview Event by a length in 29.72.
The biggest upset was the failure of English Derby runner-up Droopys Roddick to qualify in Heat 16. He was prominent to the bend but was crowded here. The heat was won by the PJ Fahy-owned Combo Sidney which shot to the front on the first bend and won by four and a half lengths from Skywalker Rory in 30.12.
We nearly had another shock as Ballymac Matt barely survived in Heat 12 as he got up on the line to take third place by a head. Victory went to the Marie Gilbert-trained Swords Ace which posted 29.72 in leading all the way for a two-length margin over Notorious Ben.