Monday 20 January 2020

Mind The Net to lay down Derby marker

Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Michael Fortune

It’s a sobering thought but after tonight’s racing at Shelbourne there will be just seven races left in this year’s Irish Derby.

To be honest, we are as close to naming the eventual winner as we were two weeks ago. The market has changed slightly during the week and my original selection Mind The Net is now the clear favourite, but he is still available at 10/1.

It’s a price that is not likely to be available tomorrow morning as Pat Buckley’s dog is expected to shorten following the last of the eight third-round heats .

I suspect that drying sand on the outside of the first bend was largely responsible for him failing to win last week and it will be disappointing if Mind The Net (9.55) doesn’t race to victory in a heat that also includes Ivy Hill Prince, Shopping Basket and surprise second-round winner Ghost Town.

A massive cheer will rise if Liam Dowling’s magnificent tracker Ballymac Vic (9.40) manages to win Heat 7. The oldest dog in the classic is showing no sign of age deterioration and he looks a certain leader.

But his army of fans will be checking on the position of quirky British challenger Holdem Spy, which can produce an irresistible finishing burst but doesn’t like hitting the front too early.

We still have five females remaining and Jaytee Osprey (8.55) can be one for the lassies in Heat 4. Paul Hennessy’s charge was unlucky last time but a trap one draw can make all the difference and she can lead home Hawaii Kinsale and Lemon Sanchez. 

Elsewhere we will side with Skywalker Farloe (8.10), Metro Jack (8.40), Laughil Blake (8.55), Indigojack (9.10) and Ballyana Foxtrot (9.25).

Tasty Aero

A top-class field lines up tonight for the final of the Gain Feeds Cambridgeshire at Limerick, with three runners likely to vie for favouritism: record-breaking Sparta Kate and the two semi-final winners Aero Harrison and Glorious George.

The draw is always important and it could be particularly so here with Aero Harrison (9.46) drawn in the red jacket and bidding to retain her unbeaten record over six bends. She has won four from four and is very strong from halfway. She may get the better of Sparta Katy.

At Curraheen Park, the semi-finals of the Greyhound & Petworld A1 are down for decision and Burgess Oscar (8.58) looks banker material in the opening heat. He has three kennel companions in the second heat and Burgess Four (9.13) may well complete a double for the Fennelly/ Spillane team.

Derby draw

The draw for the quarter-finals of the Derby can be watched on live streaming on Talking Dogs (

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