'Fantasy' looks stand-out entry in Gain 600
The draw for the Gain 600 was made yesterday and the immediate response to the first round draw is that Jo Jo Fantasy is the likely winner of the €15,000 prize.
The competition will be run over three rounds, so it will be three to qualify right from kick-off and the Graham Holland-trained Jo Jo Fantasy contests the opening heat where he will be opposed by new kennel companion Milldean Puma and Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby winner Anopheles.
One runner which will cause huge interest is Boylesports Duke which Dolores Ruth trains for John Boyle. In his first run at Shelbourne his finishing burst had 600 yards written all over it and he will run from trap six in the second heat where Country Legend and Slippery Snowy are two obvious dangers.
Another major name in the line-up is Tom O'Neill's Ballyhooly Henry which ended last season by winning the Ballymac Stud Night of Stars 600 at Shelbourne. He won at Limerick on Saturday and should be a major player in this competition. Kilara Rex could be the main threat on Saturday.
The other heat looks wide open but kennel companions Hovex Blaze and Notorious Ben will be among the major fancies.
Tonight's card at Shelbourne will be boosted by the €3,000 guarantee for the Rolling Pick 6 Jackpot. One likely to figure in many of the bets is Ray Melia's Christines Scoob (9.58) which was a revelation last week when winning in 28.41.
Scoob faces a tougher task in tonight's A1 final where he runs from trap three with fast-starting Redstar Captain on his inside and the comrades Slippery Leroy and Slippery Amigo on the outside.
It could be mighty close but Christines Scoob may be the one to follow.
This time last year trainer Murt Leahy and owner Pat Carroll were about to start their big winning run, the highlight of which was the victory of Ballybough Mondo in the BIF Produce Stakes final.
The same Mondo will be in action in an A2 525 and should be able to make his class tell. His main problem will be getting the lead from Redstar Pilot but class normally wins out and so Ballybough Mondo (9.28) gets the call.
Leahy and Carroll can also be on the mark with Ballybough Oz (8.43) in an earlier A2/3 contest. A trap six draw looks ideal for this fellow and he looks one of the bankers of the evening.
Owners and trainers are reminded that the BIF National Produce Stakes closes at Clonmel on Tuesday at 10.0am and manager Eddie Anderson reports that entries are slow coming in for this lucrative €30,000 competition. The plan is that all heats will be run on Sunday week.