News from the Irish Independent Irish Laurels is that the 525-yard classic is down to 46 runners following the withdrawal yesterday of two runners from Saturday's second-round heats at Curraheen Park.
The two withdrawn dogs are the John Linehan-trained Fatboyz Josh with a dew claw injury and Kieran Lynch's Captain Karnage, which has a muscle problem.
Fatboyz Josh was due to run from the inside box in the second heat, where Blue Cafu and Ballymac Matt are the fancies, while Captain Karnage would have occupied trap five in Heat 6, where Ballybough Mike will be the favourite.
The owners of last year's Laurels winner Vimmerby are the sponsors of the Enniscorthy St Leger, which reaches the second round stage this evening. It carries a €3,000 prize for A2/3 grade but one suspects that the winner will have competed in much higher grade in the past.
One such dog is the Michael Murphy-trained Knight Bite (9.15), which has won in AAO grade at Shelbourne and is a noted early pacer. Narrowly beaten in the first round, he can get the better of Harry Seery's fastest first-round winner Coyote Sea in the second heat.
Piercestown Away (9.30), owned by Shanks Whelan and Ron Shinkwin, looks the one in the third heat, where Ballinaboola Ace and Luminous Rock read the dangers. The other heats can go to the Maurice Reynolds-owned Papa Duke (9.0) and Eugene Dempsey's Skyview Blue (9.45).
At Shelbourne the grading of Ivy Hill Prince (10.0) in the A2/3 stake is interesting when one considers he missed out by one place on last year's Irish Derby final. Connections then attempted to convert him into a stayer but on his best form he would be strongly fancied to beat Nushkas Sean Og in this contest.
Head Bound passes
One of the greatest modern sires, Head Bound has died at the kennels of Sean Dunphy in Knocktopher.
The Australian-born star was in his 15th year but leaves behind a huge legacy as well as a host of promising youngsters.
His influence will be experienced for years to come as there are plenty of straws available to the sire which threw the likes of Paradise Madison, North Bound, Ringtown Snowy, Milldean Tally and Cambushmore.
In trials for the English Derby yesterday at Wimbledon, Paul Hennessy gave three of his charges a look at the track and Barefoot Artist clocked 16.18 for the sprint, while Kilara Hay Ma beat Budgie Bypass by two lengths in 16.39 in another.