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Ludicrous Derby limit to hurt Irish raiders


Six Irish-trained runners will compete in the William Hill English Derby

Six Irish-trained runners will compete in the William Hill English Derby

Six Irish-trained runners will compete in the William Hill English Derby

The 32-strong Irish team will commence their challenge for the English Derby at Wimbledon tomorrow night, with seven of them in action in the first of the three sessions.

It's going to be a long haul to the final on May 31 and some will fall by the wayside early due to a ridiculous decision that only two runners will qualify from one third of the first-round heats.

A traditional approach used by many leading trainers has been to have their runners undercooked coming into the Derby, hoping that they can qualify handily in the early rounds and then reach peak form by the latter stages.

Due to the late decision regarding the qualifying schedule, some trainers are going to be caught out this time, and fancied runners may make an early exit.

It is little short of ludicrous imposing such a limited qualifying situation in the first round.

Why not limit the number of entries to 192 rather than being able to boast about the record number of entries? This would allow three dogs to qualify from every heat, including the semi-finals. That would be fair.

Irish runners drawn in two-to-qualify races are Kippers Usain, Ecclestone, Metro Jack, Sidaz Pedro, Paradise Silva, Kereight King, Fiery Splendour, Priceless Bolt and Swithins Way.

In the belief that there can be an Irish winner of the classic, my four dogs against the field would be Ballymac Vic, Kereight King, Paradise Silva and Vanrooney.

The first session of 11 heats tomorrow can see Kippers Usain, Ecclestone, Mind The Net and Metro Jack race to victory. Don't be surprised if reigning champion Sidaz Jack falls victim to the 'two qualifying' factor in Heat 6.


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There are plenty of well-bred and qualified youngsters on tonight's programme at Shelbourne, but in such cases it is always better to adopt a patient policy until they have shown their potential and gained vital experience.

One that we have had a chance to assess is Sean Meade and David Buckley's Paradise Madrid (8.45) and he could be up to winning the S2 sprint. He displayed fine pace when second behind Tyrur Amigo on his Dublin debut, and the winner has gone on to boost the form.

The much more experienced Dundrum King (9.30) has shown top form in the past and he is due another winning turn. It may have arrived in the semi-final of an A3 Stake.

€10,000 POOL

The Pick 7 Jackpot pool at Shelbourne on Saturday night will be guaranteed to €10,000 and will operate on the usual seven races from the third contest onwards.


The entire English Derby can be viewed live on TV. The first couple of rounds are being covered by RPGTV, and Sky Sports then take over.

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