Six Derby finalists get clean bill of health
A great feature of this year's BoyleSports Irish Derby has been the lack of injury doubts concerning the main contenders and, as the hours click away, there hasn't been a murmur of any worries emanating from the five kennels housing the favourites.
Owen McKenna and his owner Paul Ellis are in a very special place a double representation in the final with the half-brothers Farloe Blitz and Farloe Rumble.
It brings back memories of 2010 when Galway owner/breeder/trainer PJ Fahy had the litter brothers Tyrur McGuigan and Tyrur Big Mike in the final and they filled the first two places.
On that occasion the winner Tyrur McGuigan was the outsider of the pair at 10/1 but triumphed by three lengths. It was the second time for a Fahy 1-2 in the Derby as he had filled the same positions with the closely related Tyrur Rhino and Tyrur Laurel in the 2007 decider and on that occasion the winning Rhino was the outsider of the duo at 8/1.
So, there is a history of the outsider of an owner's two runners ending up as the winner. Could it happen for Derry-based owner Ellis on this occasion?
But, as we have said, the connections of all six finalists have delivered very positive reports on the form of their charges in advance of the biggest race of their lives. That is a very healthy situation and the perfect scenario on Derby final week.
The full card for Saturday's 13-race extravaganza has been completed and there will be Open races over all distances from 350 to 850, with the exception of 575 yards. Arguably, one of the races of the night could be the Open Bitch contest in which those two flying litter sisters Ballydoyle Honey and Samiya will do battle.
Talking of injuries, one notified absentee is PJ Fahy's Tyrur Tommy which has been withdrawn from the Derby Consolation due to a TFL problem which, unfortunately, is likely to keep him out of action for some time. His place in the race in trap five is likely to be taken by first reserve Lemon Miley.
The draw was made yesterday for the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby and there is great quality among the 72 contenders.
Nominating a likely favourite is quite a task but we will opt for Paul Hennessy's Jaytee Dutch and Pat Buckley's Barnfield Panda as two that are sure to be very prominent in the lists. Others for the shortlist are Toolmaker Scot and Skywalker Leaf, two young dogs that could improve substantially.
John Dooley is a regular visitor to Shelbourne with his Ardilaun prefix and he will be travelling in hope this evening when Ardilaun Lucy (9.43) must have leading prospects in the D2/3 750.