Tarsna absence can pave way for Lenson double
The first semi-final of the Best Car Parks Gold Cup at Shelbourne this evening will be a five-dog affair due to the withdrawal of Tarsna Havana.
Geoff Parnaby reports that the dog sustained a ligament strain last week and it will keep him out of action for five to six weeks.
Tarsna was expected to play a major role in the race where he was drawn to run from trap six. In his absence the race will be expected to be dominated by the big three of Lenson Panda, Jaytee Dutch and Slippery Fred.
The fancy to win the race is Lenson Panda, which is unbeaten after two rounds and has the early pace to match Slippery Fred to the bend. If Lenson Panda (10.12) manages to lead down the back straight he can go on to win but Jaytee Dutch will be finishing like an express and is a major player.
The race is completed by Painstown Chief and Going To Work but they will have their work cut out.
The second heat is the stand-out race of the competition to date - and actually of the year so far. It will be no surprise if Lenson Sanchez (10.27) competes a great heat double for owner Len Ponder and trainer Pat Buckley.
Sanchez has the vital inside draw and this will help him to go to the bend with the excellent Sidarian Vega, while there is also big early pace represented by the two other Graham Holland runners, Proud Graham and Skywalker Pearl.
The race is completed by Slippery Snowy in four and the big-finishing Fair Taxes out in six. The latter has the perfect draw which could earn him a place in the final.
The Shelbourne card also includes the final of the Storm Control @ Stud Juvenile 525 and this two-run event can go to the Paul Hennessy-trained Kilara Rex (9.57), which impressed last week when winning from Tullymurry Susie. He has the ability to repeat that effort now.
It could be quite a night for Hennessy, who also has leading prospects in Budgie Power (7.42) and Jaytee Scout (7.57).
Another race to savour this evening is the meeting of Hee Haws Sheriff and Claires Rocket in an open 525. These are two noted early pacers and we could well have a head to head battle between them. If it comes down to stamina then Rocket can do it.
On the provincial circuit this evening the major meeting is at Curraheen Park, where the final of the Gain Cup can make it an even better night for Hennessy.
The Gowran handler has Jaytee Valencia (9.45) in action and if he can maintain the form he has shown in the earlier rounds, he is definitely the one to beat.
Lurriga Gold is his major rival but he got the better of this one in the semi last week and can repeat the performance this time.