Is there a champion lurking in Lee Strand?
Once again a Friday night when the main action will take place in the provinces with the second round of the Lee Strand 550, the big attraction at Tralee's Kingdom Stadium, while Kilkenny host a fine card that includes the final of the Kilkenny Track Bookmakers Open 725.
The Tralee event carries a winner's prize of €8,000, which is huge reward for A3 company but this an event which mainly attracts young dogs on their way up to open class rather than the other way about. A glance through the record books will show how past winners of the Lee Strand have included the likes of Derby winner Joyful Tidings, Puppy Derby winner Fortune Mike and other champion trackers like Shanagarry Duke, Man Of Sand, Money Talks, Shes A Terror etc.
On the evidence of just the first round, it is difficult to say yet whether anything of that calibre is lurking in the field. Larry Enright's Musical Dawn (8.43) was the only heat winner last week to dip under the 30-second barrier and the daughter of Shaneboy Lee looked to be a pretty classy customer. Mind you, she will need to be on her toes early to lead the likes of Droopys Hip Hop and Killeacle Tank in the fifth heat tonight.
Two impressive heat winners Dromscarra Ruby (9.28) and Whiteys Scarface clash in the concluding heat and they can finish in that order. Denis Murphy's Callaway Woods (7.43) can prove too strong for Ballymac Victor in the opening heat. Withdrawn from the heats are Glenanore Magic and Fionas Gem.
The final of the Open 725 at Kilkenny could have been graded by the bookies themselves and it is a very open affair. In the heats Rosmult Martha displayed a nice touch of early when winning narrowly from Karlow Master and it should be close between them again.
However the draw should suit the Paul Hennessy-trained De Star Lord which won over 800 yards at Limerick a few weeks back and should get a better run here than he did when beaten by Shaneboy Frankie last week. Count on the local trainer to strike!
At Harold's Cross, Ian Reilly could be the man to follow. His Minglers Trio (9.10) was picked up last week by Ravenswood Emily in an open but he could find this A1 contest easier and his early pace can carry him to victory over Sportsman Sam.
Reilly must also have strong prospects in the following A2 with Master Balboa (9.25) which can grab an early advantage over likely danger Miss Silkwood.