Shakervilz a bulletproof pick
THERE are grounds for believing that Shakervilz, rather than Zaarito, ought to be favourite for a fascinating feature Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse today.
One of two runners from Willie Mullins' barn in the race, Shakervilz has Ruby Walsh's assistance and -- even in a fiercely competitive race on paper -- he looks perhaps the most solid option. Moreover, he is expected to improve on what he has shown so far in his fledgling novice career.
The problem with Zaarito is that he has fallen in half of his six chase starts. Most recently, he never looked like hitting the deck at Naas but that was a much weaker race and the small field would have meant there was little pressure on his jumping.
He probably would have beaten Roberto Goldback if standing up previously at Leopardstown, whereas Jagoes Mills is held by Kempes at Thurles. Shakervilz is the horse coming into the race with an unbeaten record as a chaser and both wins were over inadequate trips.
The son of Villez stayed three miles as a hurdler, finishing fourth in Punchestown's Grade One stayers' race, having previously hacked up in Navan's Grade Two Tara Hurdle. His form clearly shows a preference for deep ground, which he will get today.
The seven-year-old has looked a natural since tackling fences, beating the useful Sorceror on his seasonal bow. Then, he won the Grade Two Flying Bolt at Navan over two miles, with the smart Major Finnegan second and subsequent Arkle third Osana filling that spot.
In conclusion, he is a bulletproof pick and at 4/1 merits some support. Let Yourself Go should ensure a good gallop, which will emphasise the selection's staying prowess.
Shakervilz to win the Powers Gold Cup,
1pt win at 4/1 (general)
GALWAY welcome back their Portumna contingent today and it would be a major shock if they could not beat Dublin in Pearse Stadium as Anthony Daly's side have been inconsistent. The Tribesmen were probably deserving winners last Sunday in Kilkenny and Paddy Power have seen fit to chalk them up at just 5/4 to win the National Hurling League.
After Dublin, they host present leaders Cork, who are at home today to third-placed Tipperary. Just two points separate first and third, so clearly none of the three is certain to reach the final.
However, Galway should have all the momentum going into the Cork game and may not even need to win that to qualify for the decider.
There is very little between Galway and Tipperary in my view and John McIntyre's men would probably have close to a heads-or-tails chance against the Munstermen in an NHL final, whereas they would be favourites against Cork. Take Ladbrokes' 7/4 outright.
Galway to win NHL Division 1
2pts at 7/4 (Ladbrokes)
KEN Doherty returns to The Crucible on Saturday week after two years out and the Dubliner's doughty characteristics will make it very hard for Mark Selby.
Selby was, perhaps, a shade fortunate to win the Masters and he may be a bit short at 1/3 to get the better of the resurgent Irishman. Doherty's form has generally improved this season and he was quite impressive in qualifying, trouncing Jimmy White 10-3, and two-time Crucible semi-finalist Joe Swail 10-1.
Clearly, the 40-year-old's best days are behind him but he is still a rival who the top players would very much prefer to avoid so early in the tournament. If Swail is any way complacent, and Doherty is on his game, this could be very close.
The match-up prices and ante-post markets generally are well worth analysing, with Mark Allen interesting at 20s outright. The confident Antrim native is not in an especially tough quarter, unlike Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Lay Mark Selby to beat Ken Doherty
4pts at 1.33 (1.33pt liability, Betfair)
YEAR TO DATE
Profit to €10 stake: €143.43
Still running: €280