Tuesday 16 January 2018

Nidge handed daunting Easter Cup heat

Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

The Dandelion Bar & Nightclub Easter Cup has ended up as a 42-dog event and some fantastic clashes are in prospect in Saturday's first round at Shelbourne Park.

Sponsor Pat Curtin was at Shelbourne yesterday morning to make the draw and he came up with a few teasers involving the top fancies.

Ante-post favourite Laughil Blake is fancied for the opening heat where he goes from trap six but it is by no means a walkover, with Graham Holland's in-form Coran Sky among the opposition.

But the real cracker of the seven-heat event is the last qualifier where the one and only Droopys Nidge is pitched into a heat against another Holland flying machine, Sidarian Blaze, with such useful trackers as Ballymac Alamo, De Real McCoy, Ballyana Foxtrot and Skywalker Farloe lined up in opposition.

In this heat there will be little room for any slip-up but making it that bit easier is the fact that the first three in each race will qualify for the next round plus the three fastest fourths.

Sponsor Curtin will be running his new acquisition Deanridge Pennys in the competition and this fella pleased with a very smart 17.55 spin around Curraheen Park in a trial. It will be most interesting to watch this fellow in Heat 2.

Liam Dowling's Vulturi was one of last season's star performers and his strong finish makes him a real favourite with the crowds. He goes in Heat 6, with Gaytime Hawk and Paradise Maverik his leading rivals.

Three meetings

There are three meetings countrywide this evening, with racing at Enniscorthy and Clonmel in addition to Shelbourne.

Inter Track will be shown from Shelbourne and a few worth noting for a bit of value are Kathleen Pomfret's Freedom Shadow (8.56) and Fernhill Obama (8.28).

Freedom Shadow walked out of traps in the semi-final of an S1/2 sprint last week but came with a flying finish which came up just short. Shadow is capable of leaving traps much quicker and is worth a chance in this open looking contest.

Last week I fancied Fernhill Obama (8.28) to step up from a promising first run but trouble on the opening bend saw him finish well behind Bullofstonehall.

What worries me about Fernhill is a tendency to check on his bends but he has buckets of pace and is worth another chance in the A5 third contest.

The aforementioned Bullofstonehall (9.38) is being kept busy and looks well housed in trap six in an A3 contest.

Top race at Enniscorthy is the Kirby Memorial Trial Stake and the draw gives Willmount Jewel (9.0) an excellent chance of qualifying for the Limerick event for owner Ollie 'Hopper' McGrath, of Wexford hurling fame.

Irish Independent

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