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Puppy Derby becomes a juvenile event





Future quizzes could well feature a trick question which will ask in which year since it was first run back in 1943 was the Puppy Derby not run?

The simple answer will be 2015 because, due to a technicality, the event this year will be known as the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby and the closing date will now be at the end of business on Tuesday night with the draw to be made at 10.30am on Wednesday.

The reason for the dramatic late change concerns the decision to extend the qualification age for the 'Puppy Derby' to take in September whelps.

This effectively means that the September entries will be 25 months old instead of the accepted puppy description of 24 months.

A side benefit of the Derby has been the higher quality cards on offer at the Thursday meeting and tonight's is a prime example.

The Novice 750 is the most interesting race on the card but there is an Open 525 as well as a host of A1 and A2 contests.

The Novice 750 includes three runners that were fancied to do well in the Derby, last year's finalist Vulturi, the big-finishing bitch Priceless Lassie and last year's Joe Dunne Memorial winner Deanridge Pennys.

Liam Dowling's Vulturi will probably go off favourite but one wonders will it be too late in his career to try this new six-bend distance. He looked a natural six-bender this time last year but his progress in the Derby and the St Leger put an end to any such thoughts.

I will side with Priceless Lassie (8.13) which only made her exit from the Derby last week and would appear to be just ready for the step up in distance. Paul Hennessy's bitch has all the attributes of a successful marathon runner and this is her golden opportunity.

Murt Leahy can bounce back from recent reversals with his BIF Produce Stakes winner Ballybough Mondo (9.13) which can make his early pace tell in the A1 sixth contest from a favourable outside draw.

Bolton's strong hand

The final of the Gain Leinster Oaks will be run at Enniscorthy and Geashill trainer Tommy Bolton must have a great chance of landing a valuable event with his two runners Cromwellian Kid and Coonoughkerrylas.

In the semi-final last week Cromwellian led all the way and won by two-and-a-half lengths from her kennel companion in 29.29. She is again drawn to run a big race on the inside but Coonoughkerrylas (9.15) missed the break last time and can be much slicker this time.

Hopper McGrath's Willmount Jewell and Noreen Weir's Kildallon Jessie look the dangers.

Irish Independent