Dogs: Next stop the Masters for Laurels king Razldazl Rioga
Fresh from his victory in the Hennerty Sales Irish Laurels at Cork, Micheal O Muircheartaigh's Razldazl Rioga will aim to complete a quick double with the Red Mills Waterford Masters the next target.
Trainer Dolores Ruth yesterday confirmed that the 550-yard event at Kilcohan Park will be the next stop for the brilliant early pacer.
However, as Laurels winner, he gains exemption from Saturday's first round and gets direct entry to the semi-finals on Saturday week. Similar dispensation also goes to local qualifier winner Piercestown Con and the highest placed Derby finalist Dream Walker.
The draw for the Masters first round will be made tomorrow morning with 18 dogs chasing the nine places on offer in the semis. Among the entries up to yesterday were Puppy Derby hero Sparta Maestro, Croom Star, Piercestown Sand, Pepsi Billy, Colorful Champ, Airforce Newyork, Airforce Roger, Hey Gringo, Lemon Hammer and Mines A Pint.
By the way, Razldazl Rioga could also be an intended runner in next year's English Derby at Wimbledon. Ruth said yesterday: "I haven't spoken to Micheal about it yet but I think he would be an ideal dog for the English Derby and he could accompany my other dogs on that mission."
One Ruth star that won't be seen again is Makeshift, an older half-brother to Jayfkay, George and Rioga. This Champion Stakes and Easter Cup winner will be leaving the Rathangan kennels this week to join Michael Dunne's stud team in the Frightful Flash Kennels.
Another weekend star that won't be racing in Ireland in the future is Shaneboy Fantasy, winner of the Mannion Builders Supplies Open 750 at Shelbourne on Saturday. He has been bought by Dave Smith and will be joining his kennels in Colchester.
There will be a slight lull in the schedule this week after the hectic action of the past few months. The Irish Grand National final will be run at Harold's Cross on Friday and the same night the second round of the Michael Fitzpatrick Oaks will be run at Newbridge.
On Saturday, there will be a number of open races at Shelbourne while the Masters first round will be decided at Kilcohan Park. Up north, the semi-finals of the Tennents Gold Cup will be staged at Drumbo Park on Friday.