The bookmakers have had the best of the argument so far in the BoyleSports Irish Derby but punters never despair and they will be hoping for better when they turn up for one of the year's great meetings at Shelbourne which features the entire third round of the classic.
The long-odds favourite Ballymac Matt (9.27) won't be of much use to most punters as he is currently priced at 3/10 to win the fourth heat. Liam Dowling's star tracker has never been beaten at Shelbourne from six outings to date and he looks banker material to complete the magnificent seven ahead of Farloe Rumble and Highview Apollo.
Owen McKenna is hopeful that Farloe Blitz (9.42) will go up straight from his unfavourable trap-six draw and put his brilliant early pace to best effect in Heat 5. If he leads clear he will surely build a winning lead but any hold-up and the Brendan Matthews-owned Kirby Memorial winner Cable Bay will come right into the reckoning with his huge finish.
Graham Holland's Ballydoyle Honey (9.12) has failed to win either of her heats but her brilliance has not diminished and this race looks perfect for her. She can escape early bother on the outside while kennel companion and main threat Sidarian Vega is not guaranteed to lead Tyrur Tommy. If Ballydoyle is in touch down the back she will win.
Elsewhere there could be value to be had with Tom O'Neill's Ballyhooly Henry (8.42), Fraser Black's Save The Don (8.57), Pat O'Brien's Peregrine Falcon (9.57), Joe Hurley's Blue Cafu (10.12) and Priceless Lassie (10.27).
Van Gaal's record
Shelbourne Park came alight on Thursday night when Tyrur Van Gaal smashed the six-year-old track record for the 550 yards held by College Causeway when winning his heat of the Ger McKenna/Seamus Graham Memorial Derby Plate.
PJ Fahy's lightly raced dog had scorched around in 29.45 and 29.43 in a trial and a race respectively last week and, despite the track running fast on the night, his 29.10 record run was hardly anticipated.
Having led comfortably into the bend from Barefoot Artist, Tyrur Van Gaal then powered clear in majestic fashion to win by seven lengths from Barefoot in a time that took 11 spots off the previous record which was set during the 1999 Derby.
Tyrur Van Gaal will now be a hot favourite to win the Derby Plate and he has a lovely draw in next week's second round. Next-best run in the heats was the 29.61 from Blonde Nipper in Heat 5, one of two winners on the night for Fraser Black who also scored with Droopys Bomber in 29.72.