Sunday 17 December 2017

Clonbrien set to strike in Laurels semi

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Clonbrien Hero remains at the top of the market for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels at Curraheen Park and he can confirm that position by winning the opening heat this evening.

Clonbrien was noted for his early pace at Clonmel when winning the BIF Produce Stakes but to date he hasn't yet managed to lead in any of his three heats. He has been running on strongly in each of his outings and he has to defy a trap-six draw this time.

Such a draw is no help to an inside seed but it could actually work to Clonbrien's advantage this time. Ela Alecko, third in the final of last year's Classic, is in trap five and he will definitely be heading inwards on the run up. That can play in Clonbrien's favour and he earns the vote to lead home Ela Alecko and Away Jet. Drive On Razer (injured) is an absentee from this heat.

Last week Kilgraney Denver did us a favour when winning at 3-1 and he is definitely the dog to beat in the second semi.

Tom Buggy's charge has taken to the Cork circuit and his split times suggest that he can lead Unknown Vision, Beannacht Tagdh and Loskeran Vardy into the back straight. We'll side with him again.

The semi-finals of the Champion 550 will be run on a high-class Shelbourne programme and they can be won by Javielenko, Native Chimes and Coolavanny Pet.

The final of the Kasko Dog Food Novice Stake will be run at Thurles this evening and the selection has to be Crinkill Jake following his brilliant 28.72 run in last week's semi-final.

Entries for the Bar One Irish Sprint Cup close at Dundalk this evening with the first round to be run next Friday. Ireland's leading sprinters Ballymac Bigmike and Aulton Jet have been entered as well as three British entries; Toolmaker Rambo, Fweshfromthesesh and Ela Ela Genie.

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