Price is right for Tynwald Bish to deny Drico
It's now a case of 12 dogs remaining in Ireland's two-bend classic, the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk, and the Ronnie McKeown-trained Catherines Drico is sitting atop a pretty open betting market at 4-1 ahead of Friday's semi-finals.
Catherines Drico is a well-established sprinter and already this year has won the Peggy Kelly's Islandbridge Sprint at Harold's Cross.
But this is a wide-open contest and the David Kennedy-trained Trinity Forest is unbeaten in the competition and is seeking a fifth win on the trot at Dundalk. On form he is really the one to beat.
But Mooncoin-based trainer Peter Cronin has leading prospects of taking this €20,000-to-the-winner classic for a second year on the trot. Indeed, it would be an amazing feat as last year's winner Crokers Champ came into the stake on the back of a third-placed finish in the English Derby final.
His runner this time is the Terry Corden-owned Tynwald Bish, which in his previous race had been second in the English Derby final to Rio Riccardo.
He is suited by the sweeping straights at Dundalk and gave a powerful exhibition last Friday when coming from behind to beat the ante-post favourite Catherines Drico by three parts of a length.
What makes the 5/1 outright price so appealing is that if he qualifies for the final he will automatically race from six as he is the only remaining wide seed in the classic.
Among his rivals in the second semi-final will be fellow third-round winners Slipalong Hero and Hillcroft Hero but, barring accidents, Tynwald Bish will be in the final.
The entries for the TV Trophy closed at Towcester yesterday and what makes the event really exciting is that Liam Dowling's great staying bitch Ballymac Bonnie is an intended challenger for the 906 metres competition.
Bonnie was absolutely brilliant when winning the final of the Gain Corn Cuchulainn last Friday and her clash with former Irish stayer and current British No 1 Roxholme Magic could well be the race of the year.
Ballymac Bonnie was last for much of the journey at the Cross last Friday before pouncing and eventually winning by four and a half lengths from Karlow Master in 41.66.
Noreen Clifford's Dromscarra Ruby won the FFK Southern Oaks final at Youghal on Monday afternoon.
The John P O'Sullivan-trained daughter of Taylors Sky followed up on her semi-final victory when leading all the way for a comfortable five-and-a-half-length margin from the staying Badminton Rossa in a slick 28.94.