Derby draw unkind to raiders' gang of 22
No fewer than 22 Irish-trained greyhounds figured in the draw for the second round of the English Derby and two of them, Paradise Silva and Fiery Splendour, dominate the betting lists following brilliant first-round performances.
Pat Buckley's two dogs, Paradise Silva and Kippers Usain, have been drawn in opposition in Heat 13, while Owen McKenna's record-breaking Fiery Splendour appears to have a relatively handy task in the concluding Heat 16.
The next Irish dogs in the betting, Ballymac Vic and Vanrooney, have been drawn together in a Heat 12 which also contains El Salvador and heat winners Pinpoint Finas, Express Master and Swift Perth.
The draw has been unkind enough to the Irish squad with three dogs drawn in opposition in no fewer than three heats.
The second-round heats will be run on Friday and Saturday and the top of the market now reads: 7/1 Paradise Silva; 10/1 Fiery Splendour; 14/1 Swift Keith, Holdem Spy; 16/1 Vanrooney, Ballymac Vic; 20/1 bar.
Entries for the Produce Stakes will close at 10.0am today; the draw will be made immediately afterwards. By yesterday afternoon, the number of entries had risen to 80.
Eddie Anderson is planning on running a 72-dog event and the likelihood is that all 12 heats will be run on Sunday.
A surprise name among the entries isSidarian Blaze, which made his exit from the English Derby at the weekend and is due to rejoin trainer Graham Holland from Charlie Lister today. However, it is unlikely that he will receive clearance to participate because of the two-trial rule.
Among the later entries are Boylesports Hero, Jacks Ace, Emers Superstar, Sidarian Blitz, Runaway Rover, Droopys Der, Droopys Rafael. Laughil Blake, Dragon Doom, Service Station and Borna Native.
In trials last Sunday, Jacks Ace clocked 28.62, Boylesports Hero went around in 28.90 and Emers Superstar 16.06. Laughil Blake won a race in 28.73 and Service Station in 28.74.
Graham Holland's Coolavanny Pandy was the fastest qualifier from the semi-finals of the Holmes O'Malley Sexton Solicitors Oaks at Limerick when winning in 28.55, while the other heat winner was Paul Kiely's Billys Hope in 29.09
Holland also had the fastest qualifier in the Lee Strand 550 at Tralee, with Hooverville winning in 29.92, while the other heat winners were Soviet Kenny in 30.00, Vanfrankie in 30.08 and Mr Outback in 30.13.
Jerry Melia, who has Greenwell Hulk in the final of the Gain 600 at Shelbourne on Saturday, can be among the winners at Harold's Cross this evening with Jennys Oak (9.0) drawn to run a big race from the inside box. Melia can also be on the mark with Manners Matter (8.45), which is well-drawn in the sprint contest.