'Sanchez' the choice to go distance in Easter Cup
There is no respite in the greyhound world at the moment and the more top action the merrier!
A week ago, Slippery Fred landed the €20,000 Best Car Parks Gold Cup and here we are with the same dog setting off in pursuit of the €25,000 Ladbrokes Easter Cup at Shelbourne tonight.
Shelbourne regulars don't realise how lucky they are to have the world's best racing on their doorsteps each week and this latest Saturday special offering is a really mouth-watering teaser.
Three firms have opened betting on the Easter Cup, BoyleSports, Paddy Power and sponsors Ladbrokes and they are united in their opinion that Ballydoyle Honey is the favourite to become the outright winner. She is best priced 6/1 with Boyles and Ladbrokes, while her nearest rival is Jaytee Jet which is best 8/1 with Powers. Much as I respect both - and I expect them to go right to the final at least - my choice to win out is the Pat Buckley-trained Lenson Sanchez which is a 10/1 chance with Boyles and Ladbrokes.
Looking at Ballydoyle Honey (9.42) first, the Oaks heroine goes from trap six in Heat 3 and she should prove too strong for Slippery Snowy, Sword Fern and Jaytee Valencia.
Lenson Sanchez (9.57), which Buckley trains for Len Ponder, appears to have an ideal draw in the fourth heat and rates banker material. He missed much of last season through injury but has returned in top form and is expected to outpace his rivals to the bend and to win from wide running Rural Hawaii.
Pat O'Brien's Derby finalist Peregrine Falcon hasn't run since the Night of Stars but he trialled well in 28.70 last week and if he can reproduce his early pace of last year he would at least go to the bend with Sidarian Vega. They look the big two in the contest and the draw gives Peregrine Falcon (9.12) a marvellous chance of returning with a win. Highview Apollo is another sure to be prominent.
The second heat is a most competitive affair with Laughil Duke, Ballyhooly Henry and Skywalker Rory the big three. All three can qualify but Tom O'Neill's Ballyhooly Henry (9.27) is a real favourite, though he would prefer further, and he can be good value.
If there is a relatively easy heat then it must be the fifth qualifier and here Declan Byrne's Black Tom (10.12) looks to be the one to beat, and indeed he represents one of the bets of the night.
The only notified absentee as we go to print is Highview Event at 10.27 and a reserve may run. Slippery Fred goes from four here but it is a tough draw and the vote goes to Paul Hennessy's flying Jaytee Jet to lead them all home.
The second round of the Greyhound & Petworld Supersprint will be run at Curraheen and the fancies are Hee Haws Sheriff (8.20), Must Be Messy (8.35), Ballymac Bigmike (9.05) and Toolmaker Scot (9.20).