Monday 19 March 2018

Draw to help Fiery Splendour burn off Agent

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Having already collected the Joe Dunne Memorial at Shelbourne with the brilliant Bearatipp, Owen McKenna returns to headquarters this evening with the target of winning the Best Car Parks Gold Cup with the market leader Fiery Splendour.

There is little between the big two, Fiery Splendour and Barefoot Agent - they even clocked identical times of 29.60 in winning last week's semi-finals. But there is a world of difference when it comes to the draw for tonight's final.

Fiery Splendour, which is owned by Davy Russell's sister Eimear and her husband Diarmuid Coffey, is the solitary non-inside seed and has the prospect of having the outside all to himself in the final. That is a massive advantage.

In contrast, Barefoot Agent has to find his way across from trap five but the impact may be lessened slightly by the presence of Noel Mullins' Stone Boy King in four, and he will be making a rather obvious route for the inside.

The other dog that comes well out of the draw is the Graham Holland-trained Elevenerife, which could well lead up the inside and is in this race with a massive chance.

Both Gerry Merriman's Highview Triumph and Adrian McPherson's Honour And Glory will have to do everything right if they are to figure.

While having massive respect for both Elevenerife and Barefoot Rocket, I side with Fiery Splendour (9.58) to continue McKenna's flying start to 2015.

Others that appeal on tonight's card at Shelbourne are Paul Hennessy's Barefoot Apollo (9.43) in the A1 final, Pat Guilfoyle's Magical Harry (10.13) in an AAO and Rachel Wheeler's Service Station (10.28) in the concluding 550.

One of the great traditional events in the country is the Guinness Trophy at Curraheen Park and this year's final has a fascinating line-up.

You could say that the race is dominated by Sunrise Ice and Captain Carnage (9.49), which have both reached the final with unbeaten records, but the chances of some of the others cannot be ignored, particularly Jim Morrissey's Graigues Kaino and Pat Kiely's Comeout Russell.

But, with the possibility of Leanne Rooney's Sunrise Ice being held up early, the vote goes to the Kieran Lynch-trained Captain Carnage to make the most of his perfect draw on the outside.

Blake shines

There was plenty of interest in Thursday's pre-racing trials at Shelbourne where BoyleSports Derby hero Laughil Blake had his first tune up for the Dandelion Easter Cup.

He moved impressively and stopped the clock in 18.57 for the 350 yards.

At the same session Anna Gleeson's Cox Cup winner Redwood Mick went even faster when clocking 18.56.

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