Fast-finishing Hero can seal €80,000 prize
With a prize of €80,000, the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake ranks as second only behind the Derby in terms of financial reward, and the odds are that the top prize will be heading north of the border after tonight's final in Limerick, courtesy of Boylesports Hero.
Racing is set to kick off at 7.20. In the betting during the week Boylesports Hero has been varying between 5/4 and 6/4 and it is entirely possible that he could end up as 11/8 by the off.
Trained by Newry maestro Brendan Matthews for leading off-course bookmaker John Boyle, Boylesports Hero has a good draw with five inside seeds on his inner, so he should be guaranteed a pretty clean run.
He may not necessarily lead from the off as he has rivals Crokers Champ, Ivy Hill Prince, Vans Viking and Green Prince to contend with. Peter Cronin's Crokers Champ is a natural breaker, while Vans Viking has shaped like a potential champion since his debut in the Juvenile Classic at Tralee.
But the memory of Boylesports Hero (8.45) outpacing Vans Viking down the back last week is etched in the memory, so he gets the nod.
On the supporting card Ardfert Thunder (8.05) looks a snip in the AO fourth race, while the clash of Racenight Jenny (8.19) and Kathleens Holly in the 750 could be a thriller. Riptide Movement (8.32) is fancied in the Invitational 525.
Tyrur Sugar Ray (9.40) and Greenwell Hulk are the favourites to land the Gain 600 and they have an early battle in the first heat this evening.
But my two value ante-post bets for the competition are Skywalker Legend (10.25) at 12/1 and Hawaii Kinsale (10.10) at 16/1, and they can shorten after this evening.
The Shelbourne card also includes the four second-round heats of the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks.
Ardfert Thunder 8.05 Limerick
Riptide Movement 8.32 Limerick
Hawaii Kinsale 10.10 Shel Pk
Skywalker Legend 10.25 Shel Pk
The draw for the English Derby will be made at 12.0 tomorrow. There are 33 Irish runners among the 217 entries and the heats will be run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
LIVE ON TV
The final of the Kirby Memorial will be the highlight of an hour's live broadcast on RTE2 from 8.0- 9.0.