Boyle's Hero can hit top gear to leave rivals in wake
The modern policy of running the heats of a major stake in the order that they are drawn will guarantee few latecomers at Shelbourne Park this evening. As a result, the first 11 races drawn on Monday will comprise tonight's card and many of the big guns will be in action early.
There are few bigger guns than Boylesports Hero (8.15), which is not just the biggest money earner in the field but is also owned by the sponsor John Boyle. He makes his Derby bow in Heat 2 and trainer Brendan Matthews is pleased with the way his preparation has gone.
He has no easy task with flying early pacer Indigojack, super-fast Emers Superstar and the very strong Ballyana Foxtrot in opposition, but if Boylesports Hero gets off to a reasonable start his pace can carry him to the front and he should stay there.
Skywalker Farloe (8.30) is one of the two joint favourites for the classic and he goes into action in the third heat. This fellow has received the familiar O'Donnell Derby preparation and comes in as a very fresh dog.
He has been fortunate with the draw with four of his rivals likely to be long odds, the exception being the young and progressive Tyrur Nathan. Nathan is also a wide runner and he could cause Skywalker some problems. However, such is the power of Skywalker that he can overcome such incidentals and make a winning start to the classic.
Leaving Droopys Nidge aside, as he runs on Saturday, the best of the young bunch in action this evening is probably Nathan's brother Tyrur Supermac (8.45) and he can make an early statement. PJ Fahy has been preaching this fellow's talent for some time and he should thrive on the 550 run to the bend and his inside draw. Clares Wonder is his biggest threat.
The age theory was thrown out the window when Ballymac Vic (10.0) won the recent Hamilton Architects Champion Stakes and Liam Dowling's veteran returns for what is his last competition before permanent retirement in Heat 9. There is no sign of any decline in his talent and he has the early pace and sheer class to dispose of Homeless Boy in Heat 9.
Last year's runner-up Cabra Buck (9.45) can be a winner for Graham Holland while Owen McKenna's Fiery Splendour (9.15) has the talent to dominate Heat 6.
The other selections are Droopys Norris (8.0), Kereight King (9.0), Skywalker Legend (9.30), Shes A Terror (10.15) and Vimmerby (10.30).
The Derby heats can be enjoyed via Inter Track at all tracks which race tonight. In addition, Tralee, Thurles and Kilkenny will be opening their facility to allow patrons to enjoy the Derby action. The Trio pool in all races tonight will be guaranteed to €1,500.
The Texacloth Puppy Derby at Newbridge has been put back by a week and the entries will now close on Monday for the 24-dog event which carries a winner's prize of €9,000.