Hero faces tough route to big-race double
Fresh from his Kirby Memorial heroics, Boylesports Hero has another big prize in sight after his swashbuckling first-round victory in the BIF Produce Stakes at Clonmel on Sunday night.
He was by far the fastest winner of the night despite not breaking well. Indeed, he appeared to be unbalanced in his early strides but his pace carried him into the lead on the first bend.
From there he pulled clear of the field and he ran out a nine-and-a-half-length winner from Vaz Te in 28.43.
The other highlight of the first round was the four-timer for trainer Graham Holland which was comprised of victories for Runaway Rover in 28.71, Riverside Pat in 28.78, Sidarian Blitz in 28.66 and Barnhill Turbo in 28.72.
There were other sub-28.70 runs from Michael O'Donovan's Laughil Blake and Liam Dowling's Green Prince in 29.68.
The draw for the second round to be run next Sunday has handed Boylesports Hero a tough enough task as he will be faced by two of Holland's heat winners, Riverside Pat and Sidarian Blitz. It also contains the early-paced litter brothers Harley Dogson and Obvious.
English Derby sponsors William Hill have announced that they hope to stage a race in memory of recently deceased Irish trainers Seamus Graham and Ger McKenna at Wimbledon on Derby final night.
The race in question will be the traditional invitation contest which could well form an Anglo-Irish race this time.
Owen McKenna is now in pole position as the race for the English Derby heats up. The New Inn handler has three runners still in contention and two of his runners top the betting, Fiery Splendour, the 7/1 favourite, and Vanrooney at 8/1. It is then 12/1 bar the pair of them.
The two McKenna runners have really taken Wimbledon by storm thus far with their contrasting styles. Fiery Splendour has terrific all-round pace and is going up fast while also staying strongly.
In contrast, Vanrooney is a big finisher and has really taken very well to the Wimbledon circuit. Next shortest of the Irish contenders are Peter Cronin's Crokers Champ and Pat Buckley's Mind The Net at 16/1 each.
Other Irish survivors at the forefront of the betting lists are Paul Hennessy's Ecclestone at 40/1 and Cronin's Metro Jack at the same price.
What will surely be a first for a greyhound stadium will occur at the Kingdom Stadium on Saturday, May 24 when Mass will be celebrated in the downstairs area before racing at 7.0pm. The celebrant will be former Oaks-winning owner Fr Maurice Brick and Mass will be followed by the Lixnaw hurling club fundraiser.