Derby favourite Roddick the big attraction
It may seem a long time away at this stage but the path to the English Derby will commence at Shelbourne Park tonight for the ante-post favourite Droopys Roddick which is a red-hot favourite to win the classic at this stage.
The betting lists currently have him at a best price 16/1 - and a worst price 12/1 - to win the Wimbledon classic and his nearest rival is quoted at 33/1.
Those may seem to be very cramped odds but in all his outings to date in his brief career Droopys Roddick has impressed as an exceptional talent. He displayed huge pace in the Future Champions at Enniscorthy and then looked a world-beater in winning the English Puppy Derby.
Tonight's second heat of the Joe Dunne Memorial will see Roddick making his first appearance in a race at Shelbourne. Trainer Pat Buckley advises caution. "He is in perfect order but he has done nothing apart from his two trials and this is a very hot race for a starting point," he says. "We have to be happy with the draw but he can afford no mistakes".
This is a race full of potential champions with Liam Dowling's Juvenile Derby winner Anopheles and Graham Holland's new charge Greenhill Pearl likely to be his main rivals. We will side with Droopys Roddick (9.42) but it is a very tough season-opener.
Disappointment was expressed regarding the small entry for the Dunne Memorial with just 12 going into the hat but there is no disputing the sheer class of the entry and the opening heat is another corker.
Graham Holland, who has assembled a powerful team, has Clares Rocket and Riverside Chip in the line-up and both look top drawer. Clares Rocket (9.27) was positively brilliant when winning by ten lengths in 28.35 last month and he gets the vote. A word of caution is also issued regarding Robert Gleeson's Droopys Tee as she looked a real prospect when coming from well behind to win last week.
On the supporting card the Dolores Ruth-trained Razldazl Oisin (8.12) made a mess of the start on his comeback last week but can step up to the plate in the A1 third event, while the Tom Buggy-trained Kilgraney Forty (8.27) is put forward as the night's banker in the sprint contest.
The Gain Cup begins at Curraheen where the search will be on for emerging talent. The best betting proposition may be the Richard Newell and JJ Fennelly-owned Newlawn Luke (8.16).