Rocket the top dog in Holland's Kirby challenge
Trainer Graham Holland will have a full vehicle when he sets out for Limerick this evening. The Golden-based trainer has seven greyhounds still involved in the quarter-finals of the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake, while he has an eighth runner at the meeting with Skywalker Archie contesting the semi-finals of the Barrington's Hospital Treaty Cup Sprint.
Holland is represented in each of the four Kirby heats with his perceived leading hope, Clares Rocket (8.55) one of his three runners in the third heat. Rocket is owned by the local Full House Syndicate and is as short as 11-4 favourite to win this competition outright. He has been foot-perfect in the competition to date with victories in 28.27 and 28.13 and he can extend that winning sequence this evening. Kennel companion Skywalker Manner could be his main rival.
Holland has big hopes with another of the leading ante-post fancies, Jo Jo Fantasy (8.40) in the second heat. This fellow has drawn a really tough heat but can emerge victorious against the likes of Lenson Rocky, Witches Belle and Eightythreelarch.
Clares Rocket's main rival in the long-odds betting is the Pat Buckley-trained Droopys Roddick (8.25) and he has had to pull out all the stops to reach this stage unbeaten. He will have to do everything right in the third heat where Double Oh Seven, Coolavanny Wendy and Silverhill Pat will be seen as major rivals. Peter Cronin's Tommys Lord (9.10) could represent good value in the other heat.
For once, there will be no major competition in progress at Shelbourne but there is a top-class card and one of the bets of the evening can be Two Bens (9.12), which is trained by Ann and Mick Moran for Victor Knight. This fellow is a consistent stayer and he can take an early lead to lead home Shaneboy Doc and Mineola Meercat.
There will be huge interest in the running of Dolores Ruth's Boylesports Duke (9.57) in the first semi of a Dual Distance. One suspects this fellow will be better over further than 525 yards but he can lead home Sword Fern and Ballinakil Clare.
The other heat can resolve into a battle between Owen McKenna's Black Alder (10.12) and Holland's Rural Hawaii while others to appeal on the card include Painstown Chief (7.42), Fantasy Jack (8.12), Farloe Cody (9.27) and Country Legend (10.27).
The RPGTV Scottish Derby will commence at Shawfield tonight with seven Irish runners and the action can be watched live on Sky 468. Peregrine Falcon has been reported as a non-runner but there should be a few Irish winners, particularly Fair Taxes and Cable Bay.
The second round of the Gain Cesarewitch will be run at Mullingar and best bets can be Peter Cronin's Milldean Puma (9.03), Robert Gleeson's Droopys Tee (9.18) and Pat Buckley's defending champion Paradise Maverik (9.33). The latter looks the banker of the meeting.