Panda primed to takes on all-aged stars
Published 22/10/2015 | 02:30
Lenson Panda, arguably the best young dog in training, is a fascinating entry for the Gain Feeds Select Stakes, which starts with three heats at Waterford on Saturday.
The Pat Buckley-trained Lenson Panda was hugely impressive in winning the Texacloth Puppy Derby at Newbridge and was then unluckily eliminated from the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby at Harold's Cross.
He now goes straight into all-aged company and will be one of the favourites for this three-run 525 yards feature.
Three will qualify from each of the three heats and they will be joined by the three exempted runners in the semi-finals on Saturday week.
That trio will comprise Juvenile Derby runner-up Hee Haws Sheriff, Irish Independent Laurels runner-up Burgess Rumble and the highest available finisher available from the BoyleSports Derby.
Lenson Panda has been seeded middle but will run from trap six in the first heat, with Consolation Derby runner-up Lemon Miley and the flying Must Be Jack among his rivals.
In trial spins last weekend Panda clocked 28.47, while Must Be Jack ran 28.21.
The second heat looks a red-hot affair with three classic winners in the line-up: last year's Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup winner Crokers Champ, Gain Cesarewitch hero Paradise Maverik and Ballybough Mondo, which won the BIF Produce Stakes at Clonmel.
Add in Fiery Splendour, Go Dex Go and Gyp Rosetti and you have a real teaser.
Last year's Leger hero Paradise Silva will contest the third heat and went around in a brilliant 28.29 trial. He will be opposed by Mulvaney 600 runner-up Tynwald Rodney and Ballybough Mike, which flew around in a 28.33 trial.
Jerry Griffin certainly has no worries about travelling and the Abbeyfeale handler will be back at Shelbourne this evening with a few interesting runners.
One that can reward his patience is Justice Matters (9.43), which was unlucky last week in a 750 event and can come good this time in a D2/3 contest.
The final of the S1/2 350 should develop into a great battle between Michael Kelly's Droopys Southboy (8.43) and Larry Mason's An Tochar King. The latter's tendency to swing very wide into the home straight could be the deciding factor.
The step up to 575 yards should be a real bonus for the Francie Murray-trained Strike Plan (9.28) in an A2 seventh race. He finished strongly over shorter last week and can step up now.
Following their Tuesday night racing for the past month, Curraheen Park resume the Thursday racing schedule tonight (7.50).