I LOVE this time of the year, with the young dogs coming through and the planning in progress for the annual trips to Scotland and England.
We have been lucky at Shawfield as we have won the Scottish Derby three times, with Priceless Rebel, Tyrur Kieran and then Barefoot Allstar last year. Fingers crossed, we will be bringing Allstar back again.
When he won it last year, we were caught unawares by his lack of fitness in the early rounds and it almost cost us.
We are running him in the Kudos Supersprint at Curraheen and that should have him just right for Scotland, which will be just two runs this time. He handled Shawfield so well last year that we have to defend the title with him.
We will stay with Willie Frew again. He is a great host and was over here for Clonmel.
I don't know if we will bring anything else, but it will be all hands on deck for Wimbledon. Barefoot Allstar will be going there, if he is okay after Scotland, and Priceless Sky could well be our big hope.
Sky should come on a ton from Saturday's race and he has a nice draw in the second round of the SIS Live Gold Cup. It was also only his second ever race at Shelbourne Park and I feel he will come on in leaps and bounds. He looks the type of dog that should do well at Wimbledon.
On the home front, our big Shelbourne hope could be Money Talks. He is running in the SIS Live Gold Cup and will, hopefully, then go for the Easter Cup.
I wasn't totally happy with him last weekend and I feel he may have a small problem, but it should be easily rectified. He matured into a proper dog over the winter and I feel he could be a big performer.
Another I like is Priceless Rumble, and I think he could be at his best over 550 yards. He is a dog that produces the goods when things are right and I would hope that he will be a real Irish Derby type of dog by the summer. He stands over a lot of ground and has improved all the time.
It is lovely watching the pups coming through and we have a few nice litters. Priceless Bolt is a young dog I really like. We will probably aim him at the Red Mills Unraced and the Red Mills Juvenile at Kilkenny. But what we really need at this stage of the year is for our good dogs to stay sound.
TONY GRASSICK'S AOIFES HOPE made a huge impact in the recent Joe Dunne Memorial. Blessed with early gears, he will take a lot of beating in the A1 sprint (8.40) where Blue Smoke would look the danger.
Larry Dunne's LOLOS HURRICANE is due another turn in the A4 (9.10). He was caught on the line last time but can last it out now.