Rockchase 'bouncing' towards Derby final
With the final of the Ladbrokes.com Irish Derby just five days away, there were positive vibes from all quarters yesterday.
Rockchase Bullet is the current favourite to land the Classic and provide a real fairytale result for Belgian-born trainer Ronny Wuyts.
It's 12 years since Wuyts moved to Ireland after being a leading trainer on the Continent for many years, and this is by far his biggest moment in the sport.
Now based in Golden in Tipperary, Wuyts has expertly guided Rockchase Bullet thus far and the dog is reported as "bouncing" in advance of the big test.
The Classic has been largely dominated by Rathangan-based trainer Dolores Ruth and she has two finalists in the half brothers Razldazl George and Razldazl Bugatti.
At yesterday's pre-Derby final lunch at Shelbourne, Ruth reported that both dogs are in top form and she is happy with the way the draw has worked out.
Indeed, all the owners and trainers appeared happy with their lot. Owner John Egan travelled up from Glanmire and reported that his Dream Walker is ready to run a big race.
Rockview Head's joint owners, Jimmy Ferncombe from Thurles and Clive Taylor from England, reckon that their dog is just coming right, while Ruth and her team of owners are obviously hoping for a huge say in the destination of the prizes, with their Razldazl dogs disputing favouritism with Rockchase Bullet.
Rockview Head won the Juvenile Classic at Tralee earlier in the year, the same competition in which Rockchase Bullet made his debut. Rockview was actually eliminated in the semi-final but got back in as reserve in the final and raced to victory.
Now Rockview and Rockchase meet in the Classic final, a terrific advertisement for the traditional early season Tralee competition.
The sentimental choice for many will be the veteran Krug Ninety Five, which will be contesting his third Derby final. He was third in both the Irish and English finals last year and was yesterday described as good as ever by trainer Fraser Black.
Entries for the Track Bookmakers Puppy Derby close at Harold's Cross this morning (11.0) and the full first round will be run on Friday.