Red-hot clash in Texacloth semi-final
The battle to be crowned top puppy for 2016 is entering a crucial stage with the Texacloth Juvenile Derby semi-finals at Newbridge tonight and then the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby commencing at Harold's Cross this night fortnight.
The evidence thus far is that we have a formidable crop of juveniles and a few of the leading prospects will be in action at Newbridge, particularly the second heat which features all three impressive second-round winners.
It will be a five-dog race due to the withdrawal of Willie Coyle's Toss The Coin but any one of the remaining five is capable of going all the way. Whoops Jack, Joe The Pro and Bull Run Bolt were very impressive last week and they can prove a little too strong for Lenson Rambo and Mustang Kasco. Ollie Bray's Joe The Pro (9.45) has the early pace to grab the vital first-bend lead and that may be decisive.
Michael O'Donovan's Lone Bullet (9.30) lost his unbeaten record last week but managed to qualify. He is unlikely to miss the start again in the second heat and a trap one draw can see him go clear and claim victory from Beannacht Tagdh.
The Langton Hotel Derby at Kilkenny is geared towards the established trackers and the six first round heats will be run over the 525 yards trip. Midlands trainer Francie Murray has a particularly strong hand with Long Term (9.00) and A Day Late (9.12). The former has a 28.33 run around Shelbourne to his credit and he looks a banker, while A Day Late looked a real early-paced prospect at the start of the season and he should appreciate this circuit.