Tyrur boost for Independent Irish Laurels
A late flurry of top names saw the final entry for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels at Curraheen Park rise to 66 and the draw for the 525 yards classic has thrown up the prospect of some red-hot heats in the opening round.
The biggest names among the late entries were surely those of the PJ Fahy-owned Tyrur Supermac and Tyrur Tommy. Neither dog has raced since last November but both have trialled extremely well around Shelbourne and are clearly ready to race.
We won't have long to wait for Tyrur Tommy to go into action as he has been drawn in the first heat where among his rivals is the Johnny Kavanagh-trained Vimmerby which won the Laurels in brilliant fashion last year but is also having his first race of the season.
Tyrur Supermac won't be seen until Heat 8 and this is a race he would be expected to win at his best but he will be at a disadvantage of a lack of experience of Curraheen.
The presence of the two Tyrur dogs in the draw gives the event a real fillip. Another high-profile late entry is Rachel Wheeler's Service Station which was originally listed as a possible for the Scottish Derby which also commences on Saturday night. But he now pops up in the red jacket in Heat 6 and Rachel has a great record in the Laurels in recent years and won it two years back with Lassa Exception.
One of the races of the round can be Heat 5 where leading fancy Coran Sky will be opposed by the likes of Bernard Coffey's Blue Cafu which was a very impressive winner at Limerick on Saturday and the very useful Kerry duo of Bruno Ya Know and Baile Mhic.
Qualification will be handier than usual with the first four qualifying from the 11 heats with four of the fastest fifths also going through.
Nine on Derby trail
There will be nine Irish-trained runners in the RPGTV Scottish Derby at Shawfield on Saturday with Pat Buckley's duo of Paradise Silva and Lenson Sanchez ranked the joint third favourites to win the classic. It had originally looked as though the Irish team would be even stronger but Owen McKenna withdrew both Fiery Splendour and Farloe Blitz due to minor problems and a few others also fell by the wayside.
The Irish runners are Lenson Sanchez, Tynwald Rodney, Indigojack, Save The Don, Droopys Odyssey, Coolavanney Jap, Tynwald Bish, Paradise Silva and Tyrur Arthur.
A really interesting race this evening is the final of an A3/4 at Shelbourne where a number of precocious youngsters will be in action. Wee Barneys Son is the pick on semi-final form but I honestly felt that Offshore Head (9.30) showed massive pace in defeat and may be worth a chance at a reasonable price.