Rush of entries for Independent Laurels
The situation regarding entries for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels has improved in the past 24 hours and when the draw is made at noon today there will be a minimum of 60 dogs and bitches pursuing the 525 yards classic when it commences at Curraheen Park on Saturday night.
Yesterday afternoon, racing manager Brian Collins revealed that, with entries being accepted up to 11.0am this morning, the final figure could yet reach the 66 mark.
"Thankfully, we received a number of entries this morning with Paul Hennessy coming on board with a number of runners, while Blue Cafu was entered by Bernard Coffey after his great win at Limerick," said Collins.
Blue Cafu really caught the eye when beating Go Ahead by three lengths in a very fast 28.32 on last Saturday's Kirby Memorial Card at Limerick. He is a young dog very much on the upgrade and one imagines he will be among the top half dozen fancies for the classic.
With the bonus of €3,000 on offer for the top female in the classic, it means that if a bitch gets to the final she will be pursuing prize money of up to €33,000 and the leading candidates for that prize at the moment must be Rastafari Chic, winner of the Hennerty Sales Cork Oaks on Saturday, and Dan Frayne's Southest Suzie.
But when the draw is made today one suspects that the big fancies to join the illustrious list of past Laurels winners will be Johnny Kavanagh's defending champion Vimmerby, Graham Holland's duo of Gaytime Hawk and Coran Sky and Liam Dowling's Balllymac Matt.
Young guns on show
It's just an eight-race card at Shelbourne this evening but there are some very interesting puppies in action in the two heats of an A5 competition. Don't be surprised if a potential champion emerges in these heats with a few of the top kennels represented.
One of the young litters of the year must be the Brett Lee/Kildallon Maid litter and we have two more members in the separate heats of the Dublin Coach A5.
In the first heat, the Reggie Roberts-owned and -trained Urban Gossip (8.30) makes his debut and he gets the nod to lead home the Owen McKenna-trained Roxholme Eliza.
But McKenna may have better luck in the second semi where his runner Roxholme Sinead (8.45) will come up against a few useful-looking prospects in Samiya and Paradise Mendes.
McKenna has another very interesting runner in the concluding A3 525 where the Michael Byrne-owned Catunda David (9.45) moves up in distance following a promising strong-finishing second placing behind Nickys Assassin in a sprint here.