Saturday 20 January 2018

Peregrine can swoop to victory in Leger decider

Greyhound caption
Greyhound caption
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

While we are told that Limerick Stadium is a noose around the neck of the Irish greyhound industry, the splendid venue will be a very welcoming place this evening on the occasion of the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger final.

This is the greyhound night of the year on the western seaboard and a top-class line-up will be going in pursuit of the €25,000 prize.

Offshore Bound is the current favourite with the firms but it would be no surprise if Peregrine Falcon either joins him at the top or becomes a clear favourite on track.

The Owen McKenna-trained Offshore Bound is the only Limerick dog in the line-up as Pat Fitzgerald is a native of Glin.

He has an ideal draw in the red jacket but he is normally a slow starter and could well be coming from the very rear of the field. He has the pace to do it but a sore foot problem has been no help.

Peregrine Falcon ticks more boxes in my book.

He has been in superb form and came into this classic on the back of a big run in the BoyleSports Irish Derby final.

A first venture into ownership for Navan's Pat O'Brien, he has been enjoying a rich vein of form and has won ten of his last 13 races and has won three from four in the Leger.

Peregrine Falcon (9.46) goes up strongly and if he can lead around the bend he will be more than halfway to victory.

Jaytee Valencia is a threat on his inner while, crucially, he is drawn inside the likes of Sidarian Vega, Tyrur Tommy and Skywalker Rory for that early dash and that can swing it.

Genuine cases can be made for all six finalists but the expectation is that Peregrine Falcon can become a classic winner for Pat and Ciara O'Brien. Offshore Bound and Skywalker Rory can chase him home.

An inside draw can help David Kennedy's Trinity Forest (8.46) to beat Amazing Dude in the open sprint while Fraser Black's Droopys Odyssey (9.01) looks the part in the open 800. Gaytime Hawk (10.21) looks banker material in an open 550.

Select action

The other big meeting this evening is at Waterford where the semi-finals of the Gain Feeds Select Stakes will be run. The second semi can be a thriller with Pat Buckley's Lenson Panda (9.35) taken to win an early-paced war with Hee Haws Sheriff, Crokers Champ and Ballybough Mike.

The obvious choice for the first semi is Paradise Silva (9.20) but he has a tricky draw and will need a slick start to ensure a clean run. Crossfield Max could be a value alternative.

There is no major competition in progress at Shelbourne but a future challenger for classic honours in action is Robert Gleeson's Droopys Latina (9.57) and he can do a special run from a perfect draw in an open 550.

Irish Independent

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