Clares Rocket to head 'Produce' market
A late flood of entries saw the BIF National Breeders Produce Stakes reach an impressive 72 greyhounds and so Sunday's first round session at Clonmel will comprise a high-class 12-race card.
As anticipated, Graham Holland and Pat Buckley came in with some formidable late entries and between them they are likely to account for three of the top four in the betting lists.
Likely outright favourite is Clares Rocket, which missed the break in the final of the Kirby Memorial at Limerick last Saturday week. He is drawn to run from trap five in Heat 8 where he will be a short-priced favourite.
Holland also has last Saturday's Shelbourne disappointment Jo Jo Fantasy in Heat 12, while Buckley's top hope is the brilliant early paced Droopys Nine, which goes in the opening heat.
Owen McKenna has the other likely market topper in Escapism and he goes in Heat 6 from an inside draw.
At least seven Irish trainers will be making the trip to London for the William Hill English Derby which starts in two weeks. A team of 25-30 Irish challengers is expected.
Trainers who plan to travel include Fraser Black, Peter Cronin, Pat Buckley, Paul Hennessy, Owen McKenna, Robert Gleeson and Pat Curtin. Most of these are regular Derby challengers but Gleeson will be paying a first visit. He is planning to give three dogs trials this week: Toolmaker Scot, Droopys Latina and Pass Remarkable, which is a recent addition to his squad for the Wimbledon trip.
The biggest numerical challenge is likely to be mounted by Cronin, who could have double-figure entries and the team will include the 2014 English Derby third Crokers Champ.
As far as the betting lists are concerned, the Irish trainers with the best chance of winning the English Classic are Buckley and Hennessy.
Buckley has the current favourite Droopys Roddick and Lenson Sanchez among his squad, while Hennessy has the exciting Jaytee Jet as his team leader.
Wednesday night racing resumes at Shelbourne this evening following the extended winter break and the initial offering is an eight-race card.
There are a few interesting runners and one that makes particular appeal is the Kevin Losty-trained Coolhill Bound (9.22), which has yet to win a race.