Irish set to dominate English Derby semis
The draw for Saturday's semi-finals of the William Hill English Derby has worked out pretty well from an Irish viewpoint and there are genuine hopes that we can have three or even four finalists at Wimbledon on Saturday week.
Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz is now a strong favourite to win the classic and is priced between 6/4 and 2/1 by the firms.
He will occupy the two box in the first semi-final, which clearly looks the hottest heat. But, with his sizzling early pace, he looks the dog best equipped to deal with the challenge.
Blitz has Danny Riordan's smashing dog Rio Quattro on his inside but he has previously led this fella to the bend and can do so again.
The second favourite in the betting is Liz McNair's puppy Eden The Kid and he is a huge talent, but the August whelp looked jaded when lying prone after his Tuesday exertions. Can he recover in time for this latest task?
Geelo Vegas, in four, is a noted sprinter but Farloe is on his inside and he should also deal comfortably with the two outside runners Diego Flight and Roxholme Ted.
McKenna is very happy with his dog and reported yesterday: "He came out of his kennel well this morning and he is actually livelier than he was on Sunday after the previous round.
"But I went easy on him last week and it is helping him now. I'm happy with the draw as he is on the inside of Geelo Vegas and that could be vital".
Kennel-mates face off
Pat Buckley is one of two trainers with dual representation - the other being Liz McNair - and his two are also drawn against each other in the second semi.
It is the third time that Paradise Maverik and Lenson Sanchez have met in the classic and the score is one each.
They are well housed with Paradise in trap one and Lenson Sanchez in four and both can qualify.
The other Irish hope, Peter Cronin's Tynwald Bish, is in trap four here and his early pace could see him fly from five and lead for the majority of the journey.
Don't be at all surprised if all three Irish qualify from this heat as the other three runners - Making Paper, Millwards Davy and Viking Jack - are not exactly world beaters, though the last named will be dangerous.
There are two finals down at Shelbourne this evening and Menapi (9.43) looks the likely winner of the ECC Timber A2 final if he can repeat last week's winning effort, while in the final of the Dublin Coach A3 575, Thank Me (9.28) can edge out Head Model.