Dog Chat: Bumper field set to contest Irish Oaks
When the draw for the Sporting Press Irish Oaks is made this morning, there is a strong likelihood that the required number of 96 bitches will go into the hat.
By lunchtime yesterday the entries had topped the 80 mark and were still rising to guarantee two nights of splendid first-round action at Shelbourne on Thursday and Saturday.
Virtually all the top contenders are entered and the likes of Droopys Twirl, Mozzletoff and Tyrur Tinkerbell are likely to be up there at the very top of the betting lists.
Meanwhile, the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger is also approaching rapidly, with entries due to close on Saturday and the first round will be run at Limerick Stadium on Friday and Saturday of next week.
Entries will close at 1.0 on Saturday and there will be a special trial session that evening between 5.15 and 6.0.
The news from Wimbledon has largely been very encouraging over the first two weekends of the Williamhill.com English Derby and four Irish-trained dogs figure among the top seven favourites for the Classic.
Dolores Ruth's litter brothers Razldazl Jayfkay and Razldazl George sit atop the lists, with Jayfkay the best-priced 7/2 favourite and George a 7/1 second-favourite. The other two big Irish fancies are Paul Hennessy's Barefoot Bullet and Pa Fitzgerald's Melodys Royal on the 14/1 mark.
The only setback suffered by the Ruth team to date was the elimination of Makeshift on Saturday night, but she yesterday reported that her two survivors are "absolutely bouncing. I couldn't be happier with them and they have got a nice draw for Saturday's third round."
Newry man Martin White, trainer of leading Derby fancy Nambisco, has another big date this weekend as his recent purchase Boherna Hawk will be a strong fancy for the Red Mills Champion Unraced final at Kilkenny on Sunday. His trap six draw shouldn't be a massive problem and he has the all-round pace to collect.
The semi-finals of the Lee Strand 550 will be run at Tralee on Friday and the clash between Glideaway Ace, Rattling Tank and Movealong Rover in the first semi-final will be a real highlight. Jack De Man must have an outstanding chance of landing the second heat.