Sparta the one to fear in lucrative showdown
Published 08/11/2011 | 05:00
The two major events on the tracks this week will be the finals of the Red Mills Masters at Waterford and the Michael Fitzpatrick Oaks at Newbridge, which both take place on Saturday.
The Masters boasts a prize of €13,000 for the winner and there is the unusual situation of three co-favourites in the list issued by Paddy Power. They quote Dream Walker, Piercestown Sand and Sparta Maestro on the 15/8 mark and then go 14/1 bar.
Seamus Whelan's Piercestown Sand was the star of the semi-finals with a 29.52 as he led home his litter brother Piercestown Con, owned by Whelan's daughter Sharon. In the other heat, the Tom O'Neill-trained Dream Walker took it up before the third bend when winning in 29.70.
But the connections of both will be worried about local hope Sparta Maestro, which was slowly into stride on Saturday last and then took a very hefty bump at the first bend before running on strongly to qualify.
He is capable of so much better and remains the choice.
Racegoers are reminded that the Newbridge Oaks final will be staged on Saturday night, rather than the traditional Friday date.
It will form the main feature of the official opening of the track under its new management, with Minister Shane McEntee set to do duty.
Tyrur Monica and Beaming Olive dominate the betting and are listed as 7/4 joint favourites by Paddy Power.
The meeting is a benefit for palliative care on the Curragh and motor neurone research. Tickets, which cost €10, will entitle you to admission as well as participation in a free raffle for a marvellous VIP package for two to the Grand National at Fairyhouse, including transport by helicopter and top-class entertainment.
Meanwhile, the new Irish Greyhound Board is expected to be named this week.