Slippery Fred and Clares to set up Gold Cup showdown
Following his hugely impressive second-round performance, Larry Dunne's Slippery Fred will have just four rivals to overcome in this evening's first semi-final of the Best Car Parks Gold Cup at Shelbourne Park.
Pat Buckley yesterday withdrew View The Moon, which was due to run from trap five, and that will guarantee Slippery Fred (9.58) that bit of extra racing room on the vital run to the bend. He clearly has the class to outpace his rivals if he gets the break right.
Last week Slippery Fred clocked a brilliant 28.25, and the obvious danger is Owen McKenna's well-drawn Fiery Splendour, which is a classy performer and set a new track record at Wimbledon.
Fiery didn't come away as well as he can last week but is due a start and could give Slippery plenty to do. Elevenerife could be the other to make next week's final.
Elevenerife's handler Graham Holland has the strong favourite for the second semi-final in Clares Wonder (10.13), which remains the ante-post favourite and has the perfect draw on the outside.
This fella will not give the outside to anything. He runs very wide off the final bend but it doesn't seem to trouble him unduly and he is a nap selection.
The enigmatic Barefoot Agent and either Highview Triumph or Honour And Glory can make the final.
Duke to reign
With Droopys Braedon an absentee from tonight's Vetsearch Recharge 525 final at Limerick, it is a much more open event.
Indeed, cases can be made for any of the runners, with Crossbarry Champ or Boderan Duke likely to set the gallop. The latter, owned by Michael O'Grady, ran particularly well against Droopys Braedon last week and his outside draw can ensure a clean run.
We'll side with Boderan Duke (8.55) to lead home Ten Feet Tall and Crossbarry Champ.
The Guinness Trophy at Curraheen is down to the semi-finals and two interesting contests are in prospect.
Three of the second-round winners figure in the opening heat and Kathleen Murphy's progressive Carrowkeal Spike will have plenty of followers. However the Kieran Lynch-trained Captain Karnage (9.24) is in a rich vein of form and may be the one.
Leanne Rooney's in-form Sunrise Ice (9.49) can lead home Graigues Kaino in the second heat.
Also tonight the postponed Clonmel Gala meeting takes place and we will side with Graham Holland's Ballydoyle Honey (9.30) and Pat Dalton's Volcano (9.0) to win the major finals.