Sonic and Sidarian Pearl to book Derby final berths
Following a classic of unprecedented shocks, the semi-finals of the BoyleSports Irish Derby will be run at Shelbourne Park tonight and it could well be a case of the favourites leading the way, with Sonic and Sidarian Pearl nominated to credit Graham Holland with a double.
Racegoers are reminded that racing will be starting at 7.27pm which is 15 minutes earlier than normal due to Live TV coverage and a 13-race programme.
One of four June '14 whelps to reach the semis, Sonic can maintain his powerful progress by winning the opening heat. Bidding for four successes on the trot, he is well-drawn in five, with four inside-loving rivals on his inner.
Owen McKenna has three runners in the heat and the strong-staying Escapism will wear the striped jacket which guarantees him a clear run.
In the circumstances Sonic should get a clear run to the corner and he can lead all the way to win.
Defending champion Ballymac Matt looked more like his old self last week and he can qualify for another final date, while either of the McKenna runners - Farloe Rumble or Escapism - should also make the final.
There seems to be a universal belief that Sidarian Pearl is drawn too far out in trap five in the second heat but if this lady can make one of her flying starts she is more than capable of taking the bend comfortably.
What is probably overlooked is that she has won three times from trap four and twice from trap six and clearly has shown her ability to handle a wide draw.
Her kennel companion Rural Hawaii has a dream draw and is guaranteed a clear run. It is hard to see him not qualifying for the final.
The other finalist can be Holycross Leah, trained by Gerry Melia for his niece Mary. Like Sidarian Pearl, Holycross was an Oaks finalist and she stays the 550 yards well.
Gyp Rosetti and Roxholme Barkley will need to fly from their middle berths to qualify, while College Paradise has a tough task despite a favourable draw.
The Shelbourne card also includes the final of the BoyleSports Derby Plate, which looks a most open affair. The one to be on is Owen McKenna's Keplar Nine.
There are two intriguing finals at Waterford. A high-class field go for the Noel Ryan Munster Oaks decider.
Ballintee Annie and Bar The Sizzler could dispute the early lead but the strength of Skywalker Rossa and Airmount Tess should see them emerge as the main contenders, and the fresh Skywalker Rossa can take it for Ray Patterson.
The Eamon Moore-trained Hatfield Hammer has impressed in the Casey's Caravan Park Open Unraced and his big finish can be too much for Chief Lad and Knockeevan Grove.