Raffa the value in Tralee Race of Champions
The Kerry footballers and hurlers will be taking a night out tonight to attend the special meeting at Tralee which is the annual major benefit for the Kerry GAA Training Fund.
Highlight of a top-class programme is the final of the Boylesports Race of Champions which carries a winner's prize of €15,000 and it really is a line-up packed with class. Having not enjoyed the best of luck in his Wimbledon raid, trainer Graham Holland is back on Irish soil and will be double-handed in the big race with the perfectly-housed Sidarian Vega and the other puppy Rural Hawaii.
Sidarian Vega, winner of the Juvenile Classic at the track back in March, has the perfect draw and I can see him being the gamble of the night. The odds of 5/1 about him are generous and he should certainly make life very difficult for the favourite Paradise Diva.
Cases can be made for Laughil Bolt, Rural Hawaii and the outsider Budgie Bypass but I am going for value and the 11/2 being quoted about Moss O'Connor's Irish Independent Laurels winner Midtown Raffa (8.45) is just too tempting. If this fellow can get the break from the three box then that price will look very good.
Having just failed to win the Red Mills Champion Unraced at Kilkenny, Perry Aylward's Skilful Legend (9.00) is now hot on the trail of the €4,000 Red Mills Champion Juvenile at the same venue and he looks banker material in the first semi this evening.
Skilful Legend really stamped his class on the first round when striding home by five lengths from Cruel Intentions and a trap one draw can be ideal. Big-finishing Material Man and heat-winning Tucker Foley read the main dangers but a defeat for Skilful Legend will be a surprise.
The second heat looks a more open affair and the local runner Barefoot Artist (9.12) looks a likely one for the Paul Hennessy kennel. He finished strongly last week when catching Berkey and can beat that rival along with Cruel Intentions this time.
The Longford Derby is the big event of the year at the North Leinster venue and the first round pace in the event was set by the Dolores Ruth-trained Razldazl Al (8.45) which was the dog won in the 'Own A Greyhound' competition in the Irish Independent last year.
Razldazl Al is the long-odds favourite and he can put his trap six draw to real advantage in the third heat of the second round.
He is showing real early pace and, though not the strongest stayer, can outlast Dark Intentions and Fern Banjo.
The other heat winners on the night could be Half A Cent (8.15), Must Be Lady (8.30) and Killuran Brae (9.00).