Dog Chat: Academy can see off red-hot St Leger final rivals to land classic prize
It's always a tricky situation when five inside seeds qualify to contest a major final.
Such is the case in the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger, which reaches its conclusion on Saturday night at Limerick Stadium.
Judicial Academy has been made the 7/4 favourite by Paddy Power to land the prize of €25,000, but Pat Daly's dog is not helped by a trap-five draw. However, this lightly raced tracker has been the model of consistency through the classic with three wins from the four preliminary rounds.
It could be quite a close battle to the first bend with all the finalists -- bar Farley Turbo -- likely to be very much in contention. Ironically, the outsider of the field Nicken Shaw could be the crucial runner in that he's a consistently fast dog to the bend and probably the one to lead.
The trap-one slot will play to Beaming Dilemma's strengths, while Hare Mack is the other perfectly drawn runner on the outside.
Westmead Bolt needs to make a flying start, while we can anticipate the usual surge down the far side from Farley Turbo.
The Leger final tops a high-class programme and the RTE 2 cameras will be there to relay the action in a live broadcast going out between 9.0 and 10.0.
And by the way, as a means of ensuring that the track will be in the best possible condition for the weekend racing, there will be no trials at Limerick this week.
The other big meeting this week is at Harold's Cross on Friday, when the semi-finals of both the Ted Hegarty Marathon and the Tote Gold Collar will be run.
There were a few real shocks in the Hegarty Marathon at the weekend and this will add to the intrigue in this competition.
Seven Hills Lady was a revelation as he ran right away from Ferdia Bound and they have been drawn to meet again in the first heat. The third and fourth from last Friday's race are also in there in what is a very decent heat.
Fast first-round winners Fabulous Babe and Slaneyside Havoc will meet in the second heat with Ooh Black Betty the only heat winner in the third qualifier.
Ballymac Tipp is drawn to reverse placings with Razldazlbroadway in the semi-finals of the Tote Gold Collar, while the other heat could rest between Wise Signal and well-housed Aranock Hand.
Thursday's meeting at Newbridge will be a major fundraiser for Motor Neurone Research and a top-class card has been assembled. This is a fixture well worth supporting.