Bonnie to be crowned Queen of the Stayers
There will be classic action at two venues this evening, separated by just over 50 miles, but pride of place on this occasion must go to Harold's Cross where the stayers will be battling it out for the €12,500 prize on offer in the final of the Gain Dog Food Corn Cuchulainn.
Up at Dundalk, meanwhile, the four quarter-finals of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup will bring the speedsters into action in what should be a most interesting session.
As the betting suggests, the big two in the Corn Cuchulainn field would appear to be Fire Height Amy and Ballymac Bonnie and the two Kerry bitches have earned their positions.
Prior to the opening round I nominated Ballymac Bonnie (9.40) as the outright fancy and the Liam Dowling bitch remains the choice.
This is a powerful stayer, if frustrating at times. We can be sure she will be coming from the rear of the field and hoping she then gets a clean enough passage around the final two bends when she will be going her strongest. If she does gain a clear passage then she should win.
The likelihood is that Henry Kelly's Karlow Master can get away in front and cut out a strong pace. There is so little between all the runners that there could be traffic congestion as Ballymac challenges on the fifth corner with Fire Height Amy sure to be going nicely.
The Brendan Maunsell-trained Fire Height Amy is likely to hit the front at some stage but Ballymac Bonnie can overhaul her in time for the judge! Karlow Master and Nigel McGarry's Whaoo Wheoo can battle it out for the minor money but Esther Kiely's Shaneboy Sue and James Robinson's Uncle Paul cannot be discounted.
There is a terrific card at Harold's Cross where it also includes the BoyleSports Derby Trial Stake and the four heats of the GM Concrete Puppy Oaks. Fraser Black's Save The Don (9.25) could well take the Derby ticket from Ravenswood Emily and House Doctor, while the first heat of the Puppy Oaks promises to be a real thriller with Donal Murphy's Badminton Maid, the Robert Gleeson-trained pair Droopys Sambuca and Samiya and Maria Kennedy's Local Dancer in the line-up.
Bar One heats
As reported earlier in the week, Shocked will be an absentee from the first heat of the Bar One at Dundalk and here David Kennedy's Trinity Forest (8.50) can edge out Dungill Rocket.
Peter Cronin, trainer of Dungill, can have better luck with Tynwald Bish (9.05) at the expense of Catherines Drico in the second heat. Fechin Mullen's Lislevane Swift (9.20) can again beat Bellmore Neymar in Heat 3 and Murt Leahy's Produce Stakes winner Ballybough Mondo (9.50) has the all-round pace to see off Blue Cafu in the final heat.