Wednesday 23 May 2018

Super Sonic can land Holland his first Irish Derby

Ballymac Matt returns to Shelbourne Park this evening for the opening round of the Mulvaney Bookmakers Family Memorial 600. Stock picture: Sportsfile
Ballymac Matt returns to Shelbourne Park this evening for the opening round of the Mulvaney Bookmakers Family Memorial 600. Stock picture: Sportsfile
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

A massive crowd is anticipated at Shelbourne Park this evening for the gala programme of racing which features the final of the Boylesports Irish Derby with a winner's prize of €125,000.

Reports yesterday suggested that the six finalists are ready for action in the most important race of their careers and Sonic remains the firm favourite at a general price of 11-8 with the offers of 6-4 beginning to disappear.

Sonic is one of three runners trained by Graham Holland who is seeking a first Derby success. He has won virtually everything else worth winning but to date he has had only two Derby finalists. Now he finds himself with half of the field in this evening's race.

Speaking from his kennels in Golden yesterday, Holland reported that all three dogs are in good form and ready to race.

"We are happy with them and there is very little more we can do at this stage," he said.

Sonic, owned by Pat and Marian Moloney from Garryvoe outside Youghal, has improved right through the Derby and his best time of 29.36 should be more than good enough to take this much sought-after prize.

His kennel companions Sidarian Pearl and Rural Hawaii are disputing second favouritism and deserve such a rating. Sidarian is normally a flying starter, though she missed the start last week and if she gets one of her fliers she will put it up to Sonic.

Rural Hawaii, meanwhile, loves the outside and should lead fellow wide seed Escapism to the bend. He is a strong runner and will take all the beating if he hits the front.

But the race is not all about the Holland runners, far from it. Gerry Melia's Holycross Leah is a huge threat to Sidarian Pearl on the inside while Escapism has the pace to worry any greyhound if he can get a clear run.

On the verge of history

The other finalist is last year's winner Ballymac Matt which is on the verge of history and is capable of producing a massive run on the night for Liam Dowling.

But the bottom line is that if Sonic (9.15) can repeat his normal fast start he will be more than halfway to victory. He is clearly the one to beat and can bring an end to the Holland Derby quest.

The Consolation Derby precedes the big one and the Ernie Cooke-trained Roxholme Barkley is likely to go off favourite. His early pace will make him difficult to beat but there could be one big run to come from Owen McKenna's Farloe Rumble and he gets the vote.

It is a terrific 13-race card but the supporting race which really grabs the attention is the penultimate Open 550 where former Derby favourites Laughil Duke and Lenson Rocky will be in opposition. They are well drawn but Laughil Duke should be the one to collect.

There are three notified non-runners, and they are, with likely reserves: Laughil Ace (Skywalker Pearl), Holycross Blaze (Urban Rock) and Droopys Tee (Notorious Ben).

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport