Four Irish challengers survived the cut in the quarter-finals of the William Hill English Derby at Wimbledon last night with Farloe Blitz and Paradise Maverik both winning and they were joined in Saturday's semis by Tynwald Bish and Lenson Sanchez. Farloe Blitz has hardened to 6/4 favourite with the sponsors following his latest victory.
Owen McKenna's charge retained his unbeaten record in the classic but he really had to battle hard to win the opening heat in 28.32.
For once he didn't enjoy the clear run to the bend and he had to track magnificently around the bend to head Evanta Fantasy by the second bend.
Graham Holland's Clares Wonder was second down the back and looked a threat to the leader. But he faded slightly on the run-in and Farloe Blitz won by a length from Millwards Davy with Diego Flight finishing fast to be a short-head third and a similar distance in front of Clares Wonder.
There was no Irish runner in the second heat which turned into a thriller and saw Liz McNair's Eden The Kid just edge out Rio Quattro in a very tight finish.
Rio led at halfway but Eden The Kid joined him around the bottom and just got the verdict by a short head in 28.24 with Making Paper a length-and-a-half third.
The two Irish runners in Heat 3 missed out on qualifying. Carl Perry's Geelo Fantasy led all the way to win in a terribly close finish where he beat Viking Jack by a head with Roxholme Ted a short head third. The unlucky Jaytee Jet lost out by just a short head .
Droopys Nidge was an absentee from Heat 4 after being withdrawn lame and it turned into a benefit for our runners as we claimed the three qualifying places.
Peter Cronin's Tynwald Bish cut out a very strong gallop but was caught late by the big-finishing Pat Buckley-trained Paradise Maverik which won by a length-and-a-quarter in 28.28. Lenson Sanchez stayed on strongly to be a half-length third.
Will Ballydoyle Honey be the shortest price ever for a classic final? The latest betting shows have the super bitch at a best price 1/7 and you can bet any of her five rivals at 10/1 and much bigger.
Enniscorthy will run a special meeting on Saturday, June 27 in conjunction with the local Credit Union on the occasion of the Strawberry, Culture & Food Festival and the Féile na Peile which takes place in the town that weekend.
Last year the Credit Union 50th Anniversary Meeting broke all records at the track and a massive turn-up is anticipated with the Credit Union providing free admission tickets for all who apply.