Greyhounds: Draw can swing Red Mills for De Real McCoy
A hectic greyhound weekend kicks off with top action at a number of venues tonight, with pride of place going to Kilkenny where the final of the Red Mills Champion Juvenile will be run.
This year's winner will have a lot to live up to as the inaugural scorer last year, Skywalker Puma, went on to win the Irish Derby.
One can't presume that this year's winner will go on to similar success but the make-up of this race suggests that it is a high-class contest.
Pippy, Tasmanic Jaxx and Kenwood Impack have good early pace and are sure to be in the shake-up, but the winner will likely come from the three Paul Hennessy-trained runners.
Priceless Bolt has top-class early and middle pace but both De Real McCoy and Yeah Giovanni will be piling it on from halfway.
In such a tight race the draw can be decisive and so the inside draw might swing it for the Michael Dunne-owned De Real McCoy (9.12).
The Gain Feeds Corn Cuchulainn will keep the staying aficionados happy over the next four Fridays at Harold's Cross and there is a hugely promising entry for this year's six-bend Classic.
In terms of sheer consistency the favourite for the event should be Declan Byrne's outstanding stayer White Soks Roks (9.18), which has won three features on both sides of the Irish Sea in the past seven months. He comes into this event fresh from winning the Barry's Tea 750 at Curraheen Park and a solo spin last week should have him ready for business when he goes to traps for Heat 4.
He can win again but the likes of Bricken Maley, Ballyhoe Elsa and Curragh Kewell will make him battle.
My fancy for outright honours is Pat Dalton's Volcano (9.46), which lost valuable ground in running in the Barry's Tea final and did extremely well to finish second. She's a smashing stayer and not even a poor draw in five can stop her in Heat 6.
Chris Houlihan's Ring A Chris (8.14) is a young stayer with a future and he also did very well in the Barry's Tea. He is banker material in the opening heat, while Jerry Griffin's Plutos Rena (8.37) could win what promises to be a very tight Heat 2. Priceless Pilot (8.50) can produce one of his big runs to win Heat 3, while Tims Girl (9.32) appeals in Heat 5.
Elsewhere, there is interesting racing at Youghal, where the semi-finals of the Droopys Stud Champion Stakes will be run, and John Linehan's Murphy Lad (9.25) looks a winner. The opening round of the Kasko Unraced at Thurles features some very interesting youngsters.
Ring A Chris 8.14 Harold's Cross
De Real McCoy 9.12 Kilkenny
Tims Girl 9.32 Harold's Cross
Volcano 9.46 Harold's Cross