Dog chat: Skywalker poses real threat to Dvinsky's Oaks claims
There is quite a contrast in the credentials of the two main contenders for Saturday night's Sporting Press Irish Oaks final at Shelbourne Park.
Rated the 5/2 joint favourites to capture the bitch Classic are reigning champion Skywalker Queen and her young rival Dalcash Dvinsky. But, whereas Skywalker Queen is the oldest finalist as a March 2007 whelp, the September 2008 puppy Dalcash Dvinsky is the youngest.
Winner of the Puppy Oaks prior to this event, Dalcash has won all her preliminary rounds and is seeking a seventh victory on the trot on Saturday. Skywalker has yet to win in this year's Oaks and hasn't managed to win in her past 12 races.
All these facts would suggest Dalcash deserves to be a clear favourite, but the sheer talent possessed by the Frances O'Donnell-trained Skywalker Queen entitles her to the height of respect.
It is a tremendous line-up with strong cases to be made for Shelbourne Dawn, Cartiers Dazzle, Clearview Kelly and Casual Steps. Amazingly, the latter has yet to win a race after nine outings, but she is an Oaks finalist for Reggie Roberts and could well be worth her weight in gold.
The Oaks final will be the highlight of a tremendous card at Shelbourne and a huge crowd is anticipated.
Meanwhile, Dolores Ruth reports that Toomaline Jack is in brilliant form after his record-breaking run in the first round of the Williamhill.com English Grand National on Friday.
He is as short as 1/2 favourite in places and could well break his own record in Friday's semi-finals.
Also on Friday, the Gain Feeds Corn Cuchulainn will commence at Harold's Cross and virtually every top stayer in training is in the line-up.
Ferdia Bound is likely to go off favourite, but the opposition will include the likes of Barry's Tea 750 principals Cooladerry Fizz, Kerryroad Baba and Schofield Sam, as well as reigning champion Corporate Attack and Sunday's Kilkenny winner Kiltrea Kev. Entries close this morning and the draw will be made tomorrow.