| 17.4°C Dublin

A crowded field in the race for Presidency

WHETHER it is the sport of kings or the sport of presidents, in the race for the Aras there have not been so many runners in the field since the Grand National, and there are almost as many dark horses.

The Labour Party stable has commendable form of late, and there was no major surprise when Michael D Higgins romped home yesterday, securing his party's selection for the coveted post in the park.

A close examination of bloodlines has been fruitless in determining who will wear the blue shirt for Fine Gael. Perhaps a more excessive use of the whip might have been in order.

With Pat Cox, Mairead McGuinness, Avril Doyle and Gay Mitchell all jockeying for position, the bookies will be chewing their pencils a little longer before deciding that particular handicap. Also reportedly weighing in are trans-Atlantic challenger Niall O'Dowd, and from the arts, Finbar Fury.

The Soldiers of Destiny have been slow to name their mount for the chase. Rumours that recent traumas associated with the Galway Tent have dampened their enthusiasm for high stakes encounters were dismissed by those in the know.

Seldom if ever has there been such an interesting card.

As to who is eventually first past the post at this remove, that is anyone's guess. No doubt the tactics will be interesting, and the going anything but soft.

To the ordinary punter regarding the outcome, the advice of Victor Hugo is apposite: " I don't mind what Congress does, as long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses."