Laughil Blake and Mind The Net new Derby favourites
It is now all change at the top of the betting for the Boylesports.com Irish Derby at Shelbourne Park following an enthralling third round session on Saturday night. The new favourites at 5/1 are Laughil Blake and Mind The Net but the possibility of a veteran winning the classic is growing more likely by the week.
The Michael O'Donovan-trained Laughil Blake was mighty impressive as he won his heat in 29.43 where he flew from traps and won by eight lengths from the strong-finishing Vulturi. It was the second time in the classic that the winner had posted this time.
In contrast, there had been a similar 29.43 return in the previous heat from the unbeaten Paradise Maverik and he posted an identical first split. Yet the Pat Buckley-trained Paradise is still available at 16/1, or more than three times the price of the dog which did an identical time!
Paradise Maverik is getting better with each run and couldn't have done things more professionally than when winning his heat by a length and a half from the English challenger Droopys Ward.
Buckley was completing a double - his seventh heat winner in the classic - when Mind The Net won the final heat in 29.54. This Scottish and English Derby finalist missed the break but showed excellent early pace to lead before the bend and went on to win by two-and-a-half lengths from Shopping Basket with Ivy Hill Prince qualifying in third.
Few had considered the possibility of a dog in his fifth year winning the classic but it is a definite possibility with both Ballymac Vic and Tyrur Sugar Ray impressively making their way through to the quarter-finals.
In Ballymac Vic's case, he flew out of traps and never looked like being troubled as he won by two-and-a-half lengths and the same from Borneo and Green Prince in 29.61. The English challenger Holdem Spy finished fourth here and went out of the classic.
Tyrur Sugar Ray took a totally different route to the quarter-finals. He had a dreadful trap six draw and made an instant path for the inside. The fast-starting Kisses For Cloda avoided him and raced away to win by four-and-a-half lengths in 29.51. But Tyrur Sugar Ray got to the inside rail on the opening bend and shot past his rivals down the far side to chase home the winner.
The other heat winners were El Flutter in 30.06, Jaytee Osprey in 30.18 and Ballyana Foxtrot in 29.56.
Having set a new mark in the opening round, the Phil Gough-trained Sparta Katy beat her own record when a runaway ten-length winner of the Gain Feeds Cambridgeshire over 750 yards at Limerick on Saturday. Her time of 41.51 was eight spots faster than her previous time of 41.59.