Dowling eyes English stay for Vic Derby tilt
To stay or not to stay? That is the dilemma facing some of the Irish trainers involved in the English Derby at Wimbledon, and it appears that some of them will opt to remain in England for the duration of the Classic if they manage to safely negotiate this weekend's second round.
One of those is Liam Dowling, who has the joint favourite Ballymac Vic under his care.
He gave a positive report of his dog yesterday but did say that "while the dog is a good traveller, it is a tiring job and we might decide to stay on this weekend if we are lucky enough to qualify".
Ballymac Vic is now 8/1 joint favourite with another protege of the Dowling kennels, Ballymac Eske, and he goes from trap five in the third heat on Friday. Dowling admits to being impressed with Droopys Jet's run in the first round and warned: "He could be the one to beat in this Derby yet.
"He didn't have things easy right through the race but kept on very well."
Droopys Jet's trainer Fraser Black was also delighted with his dog. "He had a tough passage and he came through it well. He needed that run badly and I am thrilled with him". He is now a clear fourth favourite at 16/1.
The third favourite at 12/1 is another Irish challenger, Kereight King, and his handler Pat Curtin is also satisfied with his progress.
"He has no problems so far and I am happy with the draw. But my other dog Whizzing Around could be in trouble in his heat," he said.
One of the early-season stars that had become something of a forgotten dog was Oran Maestro, but he made an impressive return when winning his first-round heat of the Munster Derby at Clonmel on Sunday evening.
The Davy Reynolds-trained son of Ace Hi Rumble, formerly known as Leamaneigh Story, hadn't run since finishing second in the Kirby Memorial at Limerick but showed all his old class as he led all the way en route to a fastest-of-the-round 28.50 success.
Best of the rest was the Ronny Wuyts-trained Droopys Kirani with a 28.60 run, while another notable effort was the 28.63 spin from Michael Dalton's Express Slide.
The Liam Hughes-owned Cuil Liam (10.28) led all the way when narrowly winning an A4 contest at Shelbourne last Thursday.
If he can break as well from the inside box then he can be the best bet at Harold's Cross this evening.
The entire first round of the Kerry Group A3 will be run at Tralee and one that should relish the current grade is Liam Dowling's Piu De Pep (9.40), which has previously contested at a much higher grade.