Maverik leads Irish hopes in Wimbledon heats
The Irish challenge for the William Hill English Derby got off to a reasonable start at Wimbledon on Thursday night when seven of our 12 runners qualified for the next stage, with four of them racing to victory.
But there were a few high-profile casualties, with Crokers Champ, Toolmaker Scot, Farloe Joey, Mucho Macho Man and Jaytee Patriot all eliminated.
Paul Hennessy completed a double with Jaytee Dutch in 28.24 and Jaytee Jet in 28.43; the other Irish winners were Joe Hurley's Blue Cafu in 28.49 and Fraser Black's Droopys Awesome in 28.72. The major surprise was the defeat of Droopys Roddick but he qualified in third behind Ginas Lad in 28.48 and will improve as the classic progresses.
Meanwhile, the last eight Irish runners will be in action tonight but there are no bankers among them.
Perhaps the shortest priced of our runners will be Pat Buckley's Paradise Maverik (10.35) in the concluding Heat 39. Tarsna Havana is reported to be a non-runner in this heat and so the race is likely to be between Maverik and Scottish Derby winner Hot Pipe.
There will be strong Irish interest in Heat 29 where Lenson Rocky and Kereight Dodger meet, and also in Heat 35 where Must Be Jack and Brinkleys King are our runners. The other Irish in action are Ela Alecko, Tommys Shadows and Wonder Millie.
There is no sweepstake action at Shelbourne tonight where a large number of Sporting Oaks contenders will be on show.
Liam Twomey's Witches Belle (9.57) can enhance her classic claims when she meets Brinkleys Kate and Leamaneight Mags in the tenth race. The meeting of Slippery Fred and Laughil Duke (8.57) looks a potential highlight in the sixth race over 550 yards.
Clares Rocket (9.30) goes into tomorrow's BIF National Produce Stakes quarter-final as the 9/4 favourite following his sensational track record breaking performance at Clonmel last Sunday night.
Graham Holland's dog has been handed a trappy draw in the third heat but he must be fancied to get the better of Slipalong Champ, Anopheles and Coolavanny Wendy.
His kennel companion Jo Jo Fantasy (9.45) remains second favourite at 5/1 and he meets the third favourite Escapism as well as the flying early paced A Day Late in the last of the heats. Jo Jo Fantasy needs to break to win.
The opening heat can see Dolores Ruth's Razldazl Tierna (9.0) bounce back from last week's defeat by leading home Droopys Acrobat and Mountaylor Queen.
That leaves us with Heat 2 where Pat Buckley's Droopys Nine (9.15) has the early pace to clear his rivals. Skywalker Manner and Rivervale Pal are serious rivals.