Puppy Stake fails to attract big numbers
The anticipated flood of entries for the Comerford Cakes National Puppy Stake, which commences at Shelbourne on Saturday, has not materialised, and the deadline for entries has been put back to today.
Commenting yesterday, racing manager Declan Carey said: "I have only 38 entries in the book but we have decided to go ahead, even though it will only be as a 36-dog stake. It would mean that the final will be run a week earlier than planned."
It really is a major disappointment that such a valuable event – it carries a winner's prize of €20,000 – should fail to attract at least 48 entries, particularly given that the qualification age was amended this year to allow November whelps to run.
If it has to be run as a 36, then there would be four qualifying from the first-round heats, which would allow for four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and then the final, which would be run on December 7.
It would mean that the final would be run in conjunction with the first round of the Gain Foods Christmas Oaks, where top prize is €7,000.
Following his record-breaking performance last weekend, Paul Hennessy's Jaytee Hellcat is now a 4/1 second-favourite for the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger, which reaches the semi-final stage at Limerick on Saturday.
Owen McKenna's Roxholme Bully remains favourite at 11/4 after another impressive performance.
However, Roxholme would appear to have the tougher draw of the two fancied contenders as he will run from trap three in a red-hot opening heat that also includes Hawaii Kinsale, Tyrur Sugar Ray, Locnamon Bridie, Hot Pursuit and Skywalker Farloe.
The latest top prices available are: 11/4 Roxholme Bully, 4 Jaytee Hellcat, 6 Rockview Turbo, Tyrur Sugar Ray, 8 Skywalker Farloe, 10 General Wolf, 16 Locnamon Bridie, 20 Farloe Trent, Hawaii Kinsale, 25 Hot Pursuit, Stone Boy King, 66 Cashen Cocoa.
Larry Clancy's Lookusup (10.0) has fared well against good company over six bends and has a real chance of getting back to winning ways in the concluding A1 750 at Shelbourne this evening.
The Reggie Roberts-owned Half A Cent (9.0) did us a turn last week when winning a heat of the Talking Dogs A3 and he can follow up in the final this evening. He was forced to check at the third bend last time and is capable of going a fair bit quicker.
Dolores Ruth's Razldazl Luke will be thrown in at the deep end tomorrow when he competes in the first round of the TAB Melbourne Cup. He has been drawn in Heat 3 and will run from trap four in a race where Tomac Bale is the likely favourite.
Only the heat winners will qualify for the final next week.