No clear favourite emerges in Lee Strand
Published 01/05/2015 | 02:30
Normally at this stage a young dog would have established a grip on the highly valuable Lee Strand A3 at Tralee but this year's event has been an exception to the general rule so far.
The first two rounds have produced some fine performances but no stand-out candidate for favouritism as in other years. Perhaps tonight's quarter-finals will put that straight! The marginal favourite in the lists is the Pat Buckley-trained Droopys Hip Hop which gained his first career victory last week and stayed on nicely at the business end.
Droopys Hip Hop (8.58) is due to run in the first heat and will meet fastest first-round winner Dromscarra Ruby which is trained by John O'Sullivan for Noreen Clifford.
Ruby moved wide to the bend last week and could be well suited by trap four this time. The inside runner Common Man, trained by Ray Fleming, could be a danger to both on the way he was finishing out his race last week.
Shane O'Neill's Touchdown Jacko (9.13) showed improvement last week and if he can repeat it could win Heat 2, while the third heat could be between Larry Enright's Musical Dawn (9.28) and Michael O'Leary's Kenmare Slippy.
Sean Dowling's Sarista (9.43) lost her chance at trap-rise last week and may step up at the expense of Pat Leahy's Happy Endings and Pat Collins and David Galvin's Impact Mixture.
Bolton's double hope
There will be the usual big crowd at Harold's Cross this evening with a few very big Trio dividends as is par for the course.
It could be a good evening for Tommy Bolton who has strong hopes for both Iceroad Driver (9.55) and Reef Raider (9.10). Iceroad Driver has terrific early pace and was only run out of the Laurels reckoning on the run-in last week. Reef Raider won here last week after missing the kick but is due a much better start.
Others that catch the eye at the Cross are Noreen O'Donovan's Noirs Passion (8.40) to beat Killacolla Mary and Ray Melia's Ballintine Star (10.25) in the A2 550.
There will be a late start at Newbridge tonight due to the Punchestown Races. The first race at the track will go off at 8.30pm while the weigh-in will be between 7.30 and 8.0pm.
Owen McKenna gave his English Derby team sprint trials at Wimbledon on Wednesday when Farloe Blitz was fastest in 16.14, while Fiery Splendour did 16.26, Go Django 16.23 and Farloe Rumble 16.51.
Paul Hennessy gave spins to Jaytee Jet 16.40 and Jaytee Dutch 16.44.
Both trainers will be back at Wimbledon tomorrow when they will be trialled over 480 metres. Graham Holland will have Sidarian Blaze, Riverside Pat and Millbank Stevie in Trial Stakes.