Panther set for trial ahead of assault on Gold Cup
Almost all the big guns have re-emerged from the winter break and the excitement is building in anticipation of what could be an exceptional SIS Live Tote Gold Cup, which will commence on Saturday week at Shelbourne Park.
Many of the top contenders were given trial spins before racing last Saturday and others will trial through this week.
Sensational puppy Milldean Panther will have his first trial of the year at Shelbourne this morning, with trainer John O'Flynn still to decide whether it will be over 525 yards or the SIS distance of 550.
O'Flynn will also give Dear Pa a sprint spin.
Dolores Ruth will be giving her SIS Live Tote Gold Cup and Easter Cup runners preparatory trials on Thursday morning and this bunch could include the reigning Irish Derby champion Razldazl George.
Definitely lined up for the Thursday session are the other Razldazls -- Will, Kingo, Dimagio, Barack and Houdini.
Last year's Derby favourite Rockchase Bullet is definitely SIS Gold Cup-bound with another trial at Shelbourne on Saturday but a surprise entry will be 2010 Derby runner-up Tyrur Big Mike, recently busy at stud but in sparkling form on Saturday last when he posted a 28.52 trial spin.
The big race of the week will be the final of the Vetsearch Recharge Open 525 at Limerick on Saturday and the question is whether anything can put a halt to Calling Spice's winning ways.
She is going for four on the trot on Saturday and a trap-two draw suggests she will take the world of leading in this contest.
However, Ogie Tom is a very serious rival, having taken two spots off Calling Spice's track record at the weekend.
He had a phenomenal first split of 2.15s on Saturday but it will be mighty difficult to repeat that clock and the selection is Calling Spice.
The semi-finals of the Guinness Trophy will be run at Curraheen Park on Saturday, while Tralee will host the second round of the John & Mary 'Killeacle' Dowling Memorial 575 on Friday night.