Droopys can set pace in Irish Independent Laurels
The new summer setting for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels has provided the 525 yards classic with a real boost, and a splendid entry will chase the €30,000 winner's prize when the event begins at Curraheen Park this evening.
The defection of the in-season Witches Belle has robbed the Laurels of a real local drawing card but there are still plenty of Cork trackers to represent the Rebel interests.
My long range fancy for outright honours is the Pat Buckley-trained Droopys Nine (8.08) in Heat 3.
Curraheen Park is all about early pace and maintaining an inside route throughout. Droopys Nine fulfils those requirements but he has been handed a difficult first round task where he goes from five and has a few serious early paced trackers in opposition.
Curious Boy is the main danger but Droopys Nine is taken to advance.
Sharing ante-post favouritism with Droopys Nine on 10/1 mark is the Graham Holland-trained Sidarian Eska (8.50) but he has a serious experience deficiency going into such a competitive stake. He has serious gears but will have to get away slickly to avoid the potential pitfalls in Heat 6 provided by the likes of Carrigmore Young and Berkey.
Owen McKenna's Irish Derby third Farloe Rumble (9.20) has been steadily recovering top form and he can lead them home in Heat 8, while Ian Reilly's Quietly should find this course and distance ideal when he contests Heat 10 from an unfavourable draw.
Moss O'Connor won this classic last year with Midtown Raffa and he has a serious contender this year in Senans Forever (10.05), which ran a blinder behind Droopys Nine at Tralee.
For once there is no sweepstake action on the Shelbourne card but it is an interesting meeting and one of the bankers of the night can be Holland's Fantasy Jack (8.27) in an A1 550. This fella was a little disappointing in his last two runs but is drawn on the inside to bounce back in style here.
Liam Dowling's Ballymac Bonnie (9.42) is one of the most popular racers in training and the UK TV Trophy winner can please her followers with victory in a competitive Open 750, where Notorious Ben looks her closest rival.
Last year's Kirby Memorial winner Cable Bay (9.57) recently displayed his well-being with a flying trial around Curraheen and he looks one to follow in the Open 575, where Hovex Blaze and Vivaro Swift are likely to pursue him home.
Few dogs have impressed me more this year than McKenna's Cahir Castle (10.12) and he can enhance his Derby prospects with a big run in the AAO 11th race. He created quite an impression with a 28.15 run two races back but really impressed with his run in defeat last week.