Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cronin has Irish Derby target for sizzling Jack

This year's National produce Stakes at Clonmel will have a new sponsor and record prize money on offer
This year's National produce Stakes at Clonmel will have a new sponsor and record prize money on offer
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

METRO JACK, the 10/1 outsider, sprang a surprise in the €20,000 International at Dundalk on Saturday and now has his sights set on the Irish Derby.

This was a tightly contested race with Metro Jack always to the fore and he held the local favourite Boylesports Hero by the minimum margin in 30.11.

It was the complete outside Atitboy which led to the bend from Metro Jack on the inside and the rapidly improving market leader Sidarian Blaze joining him on the bend.

The race changed here, with Sidarian carried wide and he was fighting a losing battle.

Metro Jack joined and headed Atitboy early in the back straight with Boylesports Hero suddenly looming large as he improved down the outside.

There was a great cheer when Boylesports Hero joined Metro Jack at the front on the third bend, but he drifted wide on the final corner and Metro led again by half a length.

Boylesports Hero battled back bravely and closed all the way to the line, but the photo showed that Metro Jack had just shaded it by a short head in 30.11.

It was then a length and a half to the fast finishing Mind The Net in third.

Owner Larry O'Shea wasn't present as he was just finishing his holiday on the continent while trainer Peter Cronin was on duty at Thurles, where he turned out Tynwald Bish to win a heat of the Tipperary Cup. The trainer confirmed yesterday that Metro Jack will be one of his six or seven runners in the Irish Derby.

Nidge prevails

The Robert Gleeson-trained Droopys Nidge justified his odds of 4/9 in the final of the ECC Timber Champion 550 at Shelbourne but he had to dig deep to take the prize of €6,000.

Droopys Nidge missed the break and it was the flying starter Con Te Partiro that raced clear to the bend from Tyrur Supermac with Elevenerife and Droopys Nidge disputing third.

Con Te Partiro continued to lead down the far side but Tyrur Supermac moved up fast to challenge into the third bend.

He challenged on the outside of the leader and this proved costly as he was held up and Droopys Nidge opted to challenge on the inside.

Nidge got through and went on to win by two lengths from Con Te Partiro in 29.71, with Tyrur Nathan a head back in third. The Derby will be the next target for the winner as it will for the other finalists.

Thurles ace

The Michael Maguire owned Torpeys Ace repeated his 29.06 first-round run when leading all the way in the second round of the Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup at Thurles on Saturday.

He had a length and a half to spare over Barefoot Agent. The other heat winners were Tynwald Bish in 29.17 and Star Ace in 29.12.

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