Dog chat: Jack's the lad as Irish on track for clean sweep
If things go according to plan at Wimbledon this evening, the formidable Irish team of greyhounds can establish a stranglehold on the Williamhill.com English Derby.
We have one-third of the remaining contenders and, for once, they have got an even split in the draw, generating genuine hopes of an Irish clean sweep.
The talk of London over the past few weeks has been the Dolores Ruth-trained Toomaline Jack. He has been surrounded by controversy since the start of the competition, but has been the star of this classic and cemented his position as outright favourite with a track record-breaking performance in Saturday's third round.
He looks set to dominate the third quarter-final, where the Fraser Black-trained Krug Ninety Five is another fancied Irish contender. The latter may encounter early problems with the fast-starting Roo Come On drawn on his inside, but no problems are envisaged for Toomaline Jack, which looks like banker material.
Seamus Graham's Mesedo Blue is another with banker written all over him in the opening heat, although he again faces Moneygall Obama, which was only a neck adrift on Saturday. The latter may find it difficult to get a clear run from four with John McGee's Oran Classic another possible qualifier.
Paul Hennessy's Barefoot Bullet and Pat Buckley's Slick Robert are the Irish runners in Heat 2 and they can dominate this contest, with the former another hot prospect.
The fourth heat is the dangerous one, but our runners Tranquil Time and Sevenheads Bay must have qualifying prospects. Indeed, with Lyreen Mover likely to move wide from traps, he could well help the Irish cause and Tranquil can lead them home. Also expect a big run here from the PJ Fahy-owned but UK-trained Tyrur Speedy.
The sad news over the weekend was the accident that ended Scolari Me Daddy's great career. Denny Lennon's dog smashed a hock in a trial around Newbridge in advance of the Cox Cup.
The Cox Cup begins on Friday and there is a high-class entry, while also on Friday will be the semi-finals of the Red Mills Champion Unraced at Kilkenny and the third round of the Lee Strand 550 at Tralee.
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