Slippery Fred favourite to land Best glory
Despite having failed to win his last two outings in the competition, Larry Dunne's Slippery Fred is as low as 7/4 favourite to capture the Best Car Parks Gold Cup at Shelbourne Park on Saturday.
In Saturday's semi-finals Slippery Fred finished second behind shock winner Painstown Chief but in the opening round, when drawn in trap one, he had clocked a brilliant 28.09. He has now drawn trap one again for the final and it really does look the ideal draw.
Fastest in the last two rounds was Sidarian Vega with flying 28.11 runs but he has a potentially awkward draw in trap four with his fast-starting kennel companion Proud Graham on his inside in three. Sidarian is solid in the betting lists at 3/1, while Proud Graham is 9/2.
One of the best drawn finalists in six is Francie Murray's Fair Taxes and his powerful finish gives him a real chance of winning for owners Caren Walsh and Noeleen McCreevy. He is a 7/2 third favourite in the betting.
Paul Hennessy, the trainer who has dominated this competition with seven winners, has two finalists in Jaytee Dutch and Painstown Chief and they are the 7/1 and 25/1 outsiders respectively.
History, though, indicates that it can be dangerous to underestimate Hennessy's runners in this competition.
By the way, in pre-racing trials on Saturday Ballydoyle Honey posted a fastest time of 27.98. Other Easter Cup contenders had trials and Sugarbear Barber was fastest in 28.65, while in sprint trials Swords Fern was fastest in 18.64 with Leave At Dawn clocking 18.65 and Shutthebackdoor 18.68.
The first round of the GMHD Juvenile Classic at Tralee produced some great performances, with the Fiona Reidy-owned Keen Move fastest with a scorching 28.12.
This son of Droopys Scolari and Momentinnewyork faces a tough test in the second round when he will be up against Pat O'Connor's Turree Bolt, which displayed great early speed in his heat win.
Just a spot slower than Keen Move was the Graham Holland-trained Sidarian Eska but he only just held the Paul Hennessy-owned Double Oh Seven by half a length in 28.13 and, amazingly, the two dogs clash again in the third heat on Friday.
Complicating matters considerably is the presence of another Holland winner Silverhill Pat in the same heat.