Dog chat: McKenna has trio primed for Derby assault
There were encouraging reports from the leading kennels yesterday in advance of this week's second round of the Ladbrokes.com Irish Derby at Shelbourne.
The one real negative from the opening round was the unfortunate career-ending injury to Tyrur Brennan, which means that there will be just five runners in Heat 9 on Saturday, a race that can be dominated by Colorful Champ.
However, Colorful Champ's kennel companion, He Told Ted, is doubtful for Heat 12 due to a slight injury. Trainer Paul Hennessy will give the dog time before deciding whether he can run.
Owen McKenna is in the glorious position of having three of the favourites for the Classic under his care and he expressed himself as very happy with all his runners yesterday.
"The two Farley dogs (Farley Blitz and Farley Turbo) went very well and I feel that Thurlesbeg Joker will come on and get better through the Derby," McKenna said. "He could do with a pound or two off him to be at his best."
While Farley Blitz has been drawn in that nightmare Heat 7 on Thursday, McKenna is hopeful that the race will work out okay for him.
"He won't be inconvenienced by trap four and Matt's (O'Donnell) bitch Skywalker Queen will stay wide. There might be a bump between the two inside dogs and I'd be hopeful that he will survive okay."
Taking the best prices available from Irish-based firms, the latest betting has Farley Blitz as the 12/1 favourite, with his litter brother Farley Turbo next on 14/1. The top of the market reads: 12/1 Farley Blitz; 14/1 Farley Turbo; 16/1 Definate Opinion, Fatboyz Tyson, Tyrur Enda; 20/1 Thurlesbeg Joker, Tullymurry Act, Makeshift; 25/1 Mesedo Blue, Tyrur Big Mike; 28/1 Barefoot Bullet, Krug Ninety Five; 33/1 bar.
The first eight heats will be run on Thursday, with the remaining eight on Saturday night, and the draw for the third round will be made after racing.
Elsewhere this week, the finals of the Paddy Byrne Memorial and the Con Murphy Memorial will top a very interesting card at Tralee on Friday.
However, the big weekend happening will be the final of the two-bend Classic, the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup, at Dundalk next Sunday. The semis were run last night and the competition is working up to a thrilling climax.