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Christys Bolt leads McKenna assault on Clonmel

Owen McKenna's amazing domination of all the major juvenile prizes so far this year continued at Clonmel when he saw three of his five runners qualify for next weekend's final of the Red Mills Produce Stakes.

He had a 1-2-4 in the first semi-final in which he had four of the six runners – Christys Bolt led them home in a career-best time of 28.53.

He broke fast and survived a first challenge from South Armagh and Ardrahan Zebo before resisting Fear Big Star's effort on the final bends.

Christys Bolt ran on strongly for a length-and-a-half margin over kennel companion Fear Big Star, with Melodys Gamble claiming the third spot.

Farloe Calvin was McKenna's sole runner in the second heat. He led Holborn Junior by almost two lengths into the back straight, but Holborn got up his inside on the third bend and they crowded, while the third-placed Jumeirah Veyron appeared to run into them.

The Graham Holland-trained Ballyhill Jaguar came flying on the outside and flashed past to win by three lengths in 28.89. Farloe Calvin held on for second by a half length to the big-finishing Graduation Day.

The final will be run on Sunday, with Farloe Calvin the likely favourite despite being drawn out in trap six.

Ireland's challenge for the English Derby has been strengthened with the news that Pat Curtin is bringing a team of four – they will be given a trial around the Wimbledon circuit tomorrow.

Curtin's new acquisition Kereight King will be the number one hope; the others are last year's quarter-finalist Shelbourne Geoff, last year's Produce Stakes winner Power Of God and Saturday's Shelbourne winner Whizzing Around, which joined Curtin after that win.

If Kereight King has settled into his new kennels, he will be one of the big players for the classic.

Curtin will remain in England to give the dogs another trial on Saturday.

Mark Heggie has reported that reigning Irish Oaks champion Milldean Tally will not be defending her title when the classic starts on May 23.

She has had a litter of pups to Kinloch Brae and she is still feeding them, so there isn't anything like enough time to get her ready for a return for the Oaks.

Best Bets

Tommy Bolton's SPORTSMAN KEANO (9.19) did us a turn last time and hasn't been raised in grade. He can go in again. Bernadette Nugent's DORNAVILLE BECKY (10.04) would win this on her best form and is worth a chance.

Irish Independent