It Must Be Jack in the Independent Laurels decider
A hugely successful Irish Independent Irish Laurels reaches the final stage at Curraheen Park this evening where a large attendance will witness a very open battle for the €30,000 prize.
The early rounds were largely dominated by Curious Boy and Farloe Rumble but things have changed dramatically in the last two weeks. Farloe Rumble remains a leading contender for top honours but the Peter Cronin-trained trackers Must Be Jack and Ela Alecko have assumed the 'pole positions'.
The early part of the season was very much a wash-out as far as Must Be Jack was concerned as he was a virus victim and a decision to rush him back for the English Derby basically backfired. But the extra time has worked wonders and the dog owned by Larry O'Shea and his son Jack has stormed back to top form in recent weeks. Can he go all the way now following his sizzling 27.96 run of a week ago?
Cronin's Ela Alecko has a smashing draw on the inside and he ran a very determined bend last week when winning in 28.11. This is a young dog very much on the rise and he has definite prospects. His battle to the bend with Skywalker Manner, one of Graham Holland's two runners, will be vital to their prospects.
The big danger to all the finalists is Owen McKenna's Farloe Rumble which once again has been treated badly with the trap draw. This is a high-class tracker and all he needs is that little bit of light down the far side to burst on the scene.
The second Holland runner is the perfectly-housed Rural Hawaii which has adapted so well to the Curraheen circuit. He won't concede the outside to any dog but few will finish faster. The field is completed by the soliatary bitch finalist Borna Candy and Ruairi Dwan's racer does all her best work at the finish.
It all combines to make this a really intriguing final but the vote goes to Must Be Jack to lead home Farloe Rumble and Ela Alecko.
Bet of the night at Curraheen can be Tom O'Neill's Ballyhooly Henry in an Open 575 while McKenna's Leamaneigh Mags should win the Open Bitch 525.
There is a major attraction at Shelbourne also with the final of the ECC Timber Open 550 on the card and this can be a battle between McKenna's Sober Call and Paul Hennessy's Priceless Brandy (9.57). There is little between them on last week's evidence but Priceless Brandy may seal it down the back straight.
There is a brilliant supporting card at Shelbourne and Ballymac Tomasso can be a star for McKenna in an Open 525.
Toolmaker Scot has been given the green light to run in the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk this evening and he should win easily.