Time for 'Good News' in derby semi-finals
The defection of the injured Clares Rocket has robbed the BoyleSports Irish Derby of the biggest drawing card but the 11 remaining contenders should provide thrills aplenty in the semi-finals at Shelbourne Park.
Native Chimes and Tyrur Harold are likely to joust for favouritism in the first heat, but the chances of Buckos Dream, Jaytee Barracuda, Black Farren and Hey Bound cannot be easily discounted.
Indeed, the early pace of Buckos Dream suggests he can lead Tyrur Harold to the vital first bend and that would set up a terrific finish.
My choice for this contest is the Johnny O'Sullivan-trained Native Chimes (8.57) which is sure to be close to the pace entering the back and has the strength to assert in the closing stages.
Don't be surprised if Jaytee Barracuda makes a bold bid for a final place.
Trap four will be vacant in the second heat and this can make for a cleaner run than expected to the bend.
The draw is particularly vital in a race of this quality and the best-drawn dog appears to be the Pat Guilfoyle-trained Good News which will wear the red jacket.
It almost guarantees him a clear run and he can get first run on the outright favourite Sonic.
The neighbours on either side of the Carlow/ Kilkenny border Kilgraney Ace and Jaytee Jet can play vital roles and both will be prominent. The three for the final can be Good News, Sonic and Kilgraney Ace.
The semi-finals will be shown live on RTé 2 between 8.0 and 9.30pm.