Sunday 18 February 2018

Skilful Legend bids to close the Backdoor

Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

The latest crop of potential stars to emerge from the Red Mills Champion Unraced Stake will battle it out in this evening's €5,000 decider at Kilkenny.

Derryhogan Flame is a doubtful runner, but the two principals remain. Skilful Legend and Shutthe Backdoor will almost certainly dominate the betting and should dominate the race itself.

Shutthe Backdoor defends an unbeaten record and is drawn to make a bold bid in trap two. Much will depend, however, on whether he can clear the inside runner, Skilful Legend, to the turn.

Of the remainder, Material Man is worthy of a mention. He only opened his account in the semi-finals, but has shown real power and pace. If he can improve his starting, he, too, could play a big part.

Harold's Cross welcomes the speed merchants this evening as Ireland's best sprinters run in the second round of the Islandbridge Peggy Kellys 325. The star of the opening round was Slade Paddy, which posted a standard-setting 17.41.

He may need to repeat that performance in tonight's opening heat if he is to clear Iceroad Driver. On the strength of the trap draw, the latter gets the nod.

Catherines Drico is a talented sprinter, but a slow start ended his hopes of victory last week. If he returns to his fast-starting ways, he will take beating in Heat 2.

The final heat is the most open of the three. Claims can be made for Ballymac Cable, Industry Price, Bellside Jon and Fordeflag. Bellside Jon is hugely fast, but his trapping hasn't been up to scratch. Instead it's perhaps safer to side with Ballymac Cable from an ideal draw in red.

Impressive trials

Irish preparations for the William Hill English Derby continued yesterday with Peter Cronin and Fraser Black trialling their teams at Wimbledon.

Cronin trialled six dogs including Crokers Champ, which finished third in last year's Derby. In his first four-bend spin since last September, the 2014 Sprinter of the Year posted an encouraging 28.46.

Cronin's youngster Dunghill Rocket recorded a sensational 15.87 for the sprint trip.

Cronin also trialled Indigo Jack (16.26) and Tynwald Bish (16.11) over the 273m trip, while Tynwald Rodney (28.59) and Salonika (beaten two and a quarter lengths in 28.49) trialled over the Derby trip.

Fraser Black's sole Derby runner, Save The Don, moved well in a sprint trial, recording 16.04.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport