Fiery Splendour to get ball rolling for raiders
Twelve Irish-trained greyhounds will resume their English Derby campaigns at Wimbledon this evening and at stake will be the 24 places for Tuesday's quarter-final stage.
That dozen includes two Owen McKenna-trained trackers which currently sit proudly atop the betting market on the classic. Sadly he has had to withdraw his third qualifier, but the New Inn-based handler still holds a strong deck of cards in this competition.
Track record-holder Fiery Splendour is trained by McKenna for Eimear Coffey and they will know their fate early, with the dog due to contest the opening heat. He has a five draw and, barring accidents, it looks a match between Fiery Splendour and Swift Keith.
It is difficult to imagine Fiery Splendour failing to qualify from what looks a perfect draw.
McKenna handles Vanrooney for Keith Doherty and Peter O'Toole and this Puppy Derby winner is running Wimbledon like a dream. He contests Heat 3, from which the fancied Droopys Odell has been withdrawn and he has three Irish rivals as well as the useful Jordans Brianna.
Mind The Net, El Domingo and Gizmo Classic are the three other Irish raiders involved and the finishing power of Vanrooney can see him lead the way home from Mind The Net.
It will be no surprise whatsoever if Paul Hennessy's Bubbly Gold, Michael O'Donovan's Laughil George and Peter Cronin's duo of Metro Jack and Crokers Champ all oblige.
The latter looks a real star around Wimbledon and he is nominated to beat the home favourite Holdem Spy.
The Lee Strand 550 is just about the most valuable confined event in the country and tonight's final at the Kingdom Stadium in Tralee carries a winner's prize of €8,000.
Owen McKenna will be represented here also with Vanfrankie going from trap five and he has an excellent chance. However, the one to beat is surely the Graham Holland-trained Hooverville (9.28), which has been unbeaten in the stake and has been largely untroubled also.
Hooverville has showed smashing early pace and he can lead all the way here from Vanfrankie.
Holland can also be on the mark with Holborn Junior (9.04) in an open sprint contest. Holland and Paul Hennessy will have strong teams on duty at Shelbourne and each can score at least a double. Holland's likely duo are Hawaii Kinsale (10.10) and Coolavanny Pandy (10.25), while the Hennessy winners can be Kilara Hay Mac (9.10) and Jaytee Freddy (9.55).
Tomorrow night at Clonmel the entire second round of the Produce Stakes will be run, with Boylesports Hero the star attraction.
Kilara Hay Mac 9.10 Shelbourne
Crokers Champ 9.19 Wimbledon
Hooverville 9.28 Tralee
Hawaii Kinsale 10.10 Shelbourne