Five-star Ruth takes charge in Derby hunt
Five into four won't go, so trainer Dolores Ruth finds herself with two runners in one of the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes.com Irish Derby on Saturday night and one runner in each of the three other qualifiers.
It is an amazing position of strength for the Rathangan-based trainer, with her five survivors including the top three in the betting lists on the Classic.
Makeshift and Razldazl George will clash in the third quarter-final, which looks the most difficult of the four.
Also included are three other third-round winners, Rockchase Bullet, Airforce Roger and Pepsi Billy, while the line-up is completed by the well-fancied Coolykereen Imp.
"They are really bouncing and Razldazl Bugatti is also looking good," said Ruth of her dogs. "His foot held up super on Saturday when I thought he showed a terrific burst of pace after missing the start."
Conor and PJ Fahy find themselves with just two dogs remaining, but that pair just happen to be last year's winner and runner-up Tyrur McGuigan and Tyrur Big Mike.
And PJ was able to give his most positive report of the Derby thus far on the condition of the dogs.
"The vet checked them out on Sunday and he said they were better than last week," he said. "If they can improve as much this week with the treatment as they did last week, they could run very big races on Saturday night."
One dog that has tumbled down the betting lists is Pa Fitzgerald's Melodys Royal, now a best-priced 12/1 after his extraordinary performance against Tyrur George on Saturday.
The worrying thing is that he has walked out of traps in his last two outings, but the law of averages would suggest that he is due a quick one and he could be the dog to beat in the opening heat.