Monday 27 March 2017

Matt and Hawk can underline Derby credentials

The unbeaten Peregrine Falcon is a serious contender and may battle with Save The Dog for the other final spot, but it is difficult to fancy either Highview Apollo or Shutthe Backdoor (Stock image)
The unbeaten Peregrine Falcon is a serious contender and may battle with Save The Dog for the other final spot, but it is difficult to fancy either Highview Apollo or Shutthe Backdoor (Stock image)
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

In golf they call it 'moving day' and it is an appropriate description of the BoyleSports Irish Derby semi-finals at Shelbourne Park tonight, with the 12 contenders due to be divided into Derby finalists and Consolation contenders.

While the organisers must be neutral, one assumes they will be hoping that the big guns negotiate their way through to next week's final.

Since the first round, Ballymac Matt and Farloe Blitz have been the two dogs to beat in the classic and now for the first time they come head to head. The bookies are still undecided between them.

The draw has placed them side by side in the second semi and they are well drawn in the red and blue jackets respectively. Ballymac Matt (9.42) has done everything right in the classic - he is unbeaten to date and was fastest in three of the four rounds.

Yet we are not all fully happy with his recent running and he has looked a little flat. However, Liam Dowling reports him in good order and he is drawn to perfection.

Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz must lead by the opening bend if he is to win and, on all known form, he will do just that. But the question is, can he be far enough ahead to contain Ballymac Matt's superior strength?

The unbeaten Peregrine Falcon is a serious contender and may battle with Save The Dog for the other final spot, but it is difficult to fancy either Highview Apollo or Shutthe Backdoor.

We will reluctantly side with Ballymac to lead home Farloe and Peregrine.

Graham Holland's Gaytime Hawk (9.27) produced the fastest run of the classic last week when stopping the clock in 29.34 and a trap one draw gives him an outstanding chance of leading the way in the second semi.

Jaytee Jet has the perfect draw in six but has yet to hit top form in the classic. Tyrur Tommy ran well behind Gaytime last week and has the early pace to figure but he must lead Blue Cafu, on his inside, to the bend.

Don't be surprised if Farloe Rumble produces an improved run from his draw, while big-finishing Cable Bay will be devouring the ground at the end.

We'll side with Gaytime Hawk to win it from Jaytee Jet and Tyrur Tommy.

The draw for the final will be made immediately after the second semi-final.

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