Dog chat: Millie set for Oaks favouritism
IT'S going to be a massive week on the tracks with the finals of both the Irish Oaks at Shelbourne and the Northern Ireland Derby at Drumbo Park on Saturday, while the semi-finals of the Race of Champions will be staged at Tralee on Friday night.
With a host of other top action around the country, it is going to be a busy time for greyhound enthusiasts.
A cracking field of bitches will line up for the Oaks decider at Shelbourne, where Graham Holland's Cabra Millie is likely to go off favourite despite the firms making Milldean Tally their general market leader.
Unusually, the only trainer involved in the final to have previously trained an Oaks winner is John McGee, who has won it twice with Shelbourne Becky and Oran Majestic. This time he has Solo Star, which has been made the outsider of the party.
The field is completed by Tantallons Kay, Rockburst Delta and Millbank Lola and it is quite possible to make a legitimate case for any of the six finalists.
The draw for the Drumbo Derby decider has thrown the cat among the pigeons with the normal early paced runners drawn in the four outside boxes. Ronnie Craven, who first came to prominence as an All-Ireland final footballer with his native Roscommon, has a huge chance of lifting this £25,000 prize with his brilliantly consistent Lolos Joe.
Lolos is the only dog to reach the final unbeaten and he has been virtually untroubled throughout, though he did have to come from behind in Saturday's semi-final when he beat the staying Ruthless Man.
Captain Scolari burst on the scene with a bang in the semis, while Devilacare and Royal Patrol will also be motoring to the bend. The big finishers in the race are last year's runner-up Star Head and the ante-post favourite Ruthless Man.
The racing from Drumbo Park will be shown live on Sky Sports and the top-class supporting card closes to entries today.
There are at least 14 names in the list for this morning's draw for the semi-finals of the Betdaq Race of Champions at Tralee. The semi-finals of the big one and other supporting competitions will be run on Friday and the final will be on Saturday week.
Some of the names in the book are Bubbly Phoenix and Young Sid from England and the home-trained Dear Pa, Droopys Jet, Razldazl Rioga, Power Of God, Airforce Diva, Shelbourne Geoff, Cashen Mafuma and Quail Hollow.