Ballymac Matt fastest in English Derby trials
The Irish challenge for the English Derby reached a total of 29 greyhounds before the entry deadline on Tuesday.
Following a number of withdrawals yesterday, the total entry now stands at 234.
The draw will be made on Sunday at lunchtime and it is likely that a large number of first round heats will have only two qualifying for the next round, a situation that will not be very popular with Irish owners and trainers.
Irish Derby champion and Dog of the Year Ballymac Matt was fastest in yesterday's trial session in 28.25, railing tightly all the way. Last year's finalist Making Paper was just three spots slower.
Pat Buckley gave his joint Derby favourite Droopys Roddick a trial yesterday and he did quite well, clocking 28.59 after a pretty moderate start.
Buckley's Paradise Maverik went around in 28.44 while Lenson Sanchez did 28.66.
In sprint outings Lenson Rocky went around in 16.22 and Lenson Panda in 16.24. Buckley's team was increased by one with the purchase of Eightythreelarch for owner Robert Brinkley and he will run as Brinkley's King.
The first round of the English Derby will be run off on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week
Reaction of the firms to the first round of the BIF Produce Stakes at Clonmel is to make Clares Rocket the 4/1 favourite with his kennel mate and new track record holder Jo Jo Fantasy at 6/1. It's then 10 Skywalker Luke, Slipalong Champ, 12 Coolavanny Wendy, 14 Escapism, 16 Droopys Acrobat, Razldazl Tierna and Skywalker Gail, 20 bar.
The betting on the two big finals at Shelbourne on Saturday has Tom O'Neill's Ballyhooly Henry at evens favourite, while Graham Holland's Notorious Ben is at 9/2 with Hovex Blaze at 5/1.
In the Healthcare & Transport Puppy Oaks the betting with the firms is very close as Ballinakil Clare is quoted at 9/4, with Sidarian Pearl at 5/2. Airmount Tess is a 5/1 chance along with Holycross Leah and these are followed by Rockburst Riva at 6/1 and Slippery Louise at 8/1.
The best bet at Shelbourne this evening is Graham Holland's Redstar Captain (9.13) in an S1/2 350. He made a promising sprint debut when just shaded by Stefans Dazzler and he can lead home Clydal Rockey. Another worth noting is Dusky Biddy (8.43) which can make best use of his inside draw.