Droopys duo set for Irish Derby challenge
The first shots in the Ladbrokes.com Irish Derby were fired yesterday at Shelbourne when the draw was made for the opening round which starts tomorrow.
The Classic could hardly have got off to a more auspicious start, with 150 entries -- these will contest 25 heats. All the top names are in there as well as two formidable British challengers in Droopys Oscar and Droopys Greg.
The two hottest heats could well be the first and the last. A tasty looking first heat has recent Champion Stakes winner Uncle Eoin and his predecessor Makeshift opposed by highly rated Nicky Savva-trained raider Droopys Oscar.
Much to the relief of Conor Fahy, last year's 1-2 of Tyrur McGuigan and Tyrur Big Mike were drawn for Saturday. They picked up minor muscle injuries in trial spins last Saturday.
"They are improving by the day and their late heats on Saturday will be a help," Fahy said yesterday.
Big Mike has been drawn against dual Derby finalist Barefoot Bullet and the flying bitch Mozzletoff in the concluding heat.
Dolores Ruth has a six-strong team with Razldazl Jayfkay her No 1 hope. He is the general ante post favourite and he looks to have a favourable draw in Heat 9 on Thursday.
Four will qualify from 21 heats, with three qualifying from Heats 3, 6, 10 and 18.
Peter Cronin, who has a strong team in the Derby, collected a major prize on Sunday when Glideaway Ace won the final of the Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup.
It was a brave effort from the son of Ace Hi Rumble as he got up on the line to pip Coolard Chief by a short head in 28.75seconds.
There is plenty of other top action this week. The Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup semi-finals will be run on Saturday at Dundalk, with Graham Holland's Cracking Man the overwhelming favourite following a brilliant third-round effort.
The final of the Greyhound & Pet World Irish Puppy Oaks will be run at Harold's Cross on Friday and here Ballymac Razl is a firm favourite, although she is due to contest a Derby heat tomorrow night.
Also on Friday the final of the Paddy Byrne Memorial will be run at Tralee, with Star Crash the one they have to beat.