Don Saving Best For Last
We are down to the penultimate stage in the final Classic of the 2015 Irish Greyhound calendar, the St Leger at Limerick.
Limerick race goers are in for two fascinating semi-finals this weekend, the second of which has all the ingredients to be an absolute cracker! With twelve inside seeds remaining the trap draw is vitally important. Country Legend is the sole quarter final winner in the opening heat; he was a bit of a surprise winner at that.
Legend was slowly into stride but showed some serious foot from off the second bend to get himself into contention between the last two corners. Peregrine Falcon was setting a strong gallop up front here, but once Country Legend got in the clear on the outside up the home straight, you could see he was eating up the ground and got up to score impressively by half a length in 29.72.
Legend knows the track very well here after being a finalist behind Cable Bay in the Con and Annie Kirby Puppy Stake. He can’t afford to have another start like that however, he did get a nice little run around bends one and two but he might not be as lucky next time.
Peregrine Falcon will start favourite in this heat, he has a better draw here in two and can win the early battle. The key for him in the heat is to clear Jaytee Valentia in one, if this happens it could be race over. Barefoot Artist and Sidarian Vega drawn five and six respectively have the worst of the draws on the outside. These two will have to be on their toes early and will be looking for the fence.
The second semi-final is red hot, three of last week’s quarter final winners are in the line-up. Offshore Bound is the only dog carrying an unbeaten run in the competition and was handed the best of the trap draw in one. Offshore came out on top in an epic battle with Tyrur Tommy last week up the home straight, Black Tom set a strong gallop up front but Tommy and Offshore are two strong finishers so were always going to be hard to hold.
Save The Don was the fastest heat winner last week with a 29.41 run, from a trap one draw. It has turned out to be a shrewd move by trainer Frazer Black to change the seeding of this son of Droopys Scolari. He has made the inside his own so far. Don didn’t flash the lids this time but paced up beautifully to the corner. The race was over from here as there was no strong runners in behind. Skywalker Rory was the last quarter final winner, he showed serious track craft for an August 13 dog between the last two corners to get to the front. Rory has been handed a tricky trap five draw this weekend so will have to up the ante – yet again.
Tyrur Tommy was the ante-post selection at the start of the stake and has done nothing wrong thus far. His achilles heel is his trapping, he will actually be better off missing the start this week from six so he can move into the fence and qualify.
This semi-final will be extremely hard to call, my head says Save The Don and my heart says Offshore Bound.
Drumbo and Newbridge
Drumbo Park and Newbridge are gearing up for their biggest events of the year. The final of the Tennents Gold takes pride of place this Saturday night at Drumbo. Arguably the six best dogs at the start of the competition have reached the final.
Common Man heads into the final as a slight favourite after going unbeaten through the qualifiers. Shutthe Backdoor was the fastest semi-final winner in 28.53 from trap one, he has a tricky draw in the final in five. One time English Derby fancy Quietly bounced back to winning ways in the semi-final after an all the way success in 28.62.
The draw is going to be vital here, Willam J Shaw is a hard man to beat around Drumbo Park and he can take this with his massive improver Common Man.
While in Newbridge all eyes will be on the Oaks final. Slippery Hanna and Skywalker Rossa won their respective semi-finals and lead the way in the market. Hanna remains unbeaten in the competition and looks the one to beat in the final for local trainer Robert Gleeson.
Skywalker Rossa recently changed hands but seems to have settled into her new surroundings fairly quickly. I thought this lady showed massive gears in the opening round. Her new trainer John McGee has a great record here in Newbridge. If John can get this lady to trap she can land the spoils. A lady to keep an eye on in the final could be Jeanettedollemma. Her trainer Pat Kiely is known to have his charges in top shape when the big prizes are up for grabs so write her off at your peril!
Field of Stars
Since the Derby ended on the track everything is being geared towards the Night Of Stars, a night where we hope to see the best available dogs in action on the one night. A lot of effort is being done behind the scenes to make this possible.
This weekend in Castleisland we have the Field Of Stars! My fantasy team won’t be much good this weekend as I’d say about six of my team of eight dogs are in action! Most meetings hope to attract one or maybe two big names to headline their meeting.
Castleisland however is a different story, they have set the bar so high that the Champion Stakes itself might not be as hot. Portane All In, Kyle Bruce, Needham Simple and Blades Of Hope are the four big names in the cup. What a line up!
Portane has form on the field after winning a few rounds of the trial stake last year before being withdrawn, while Bruce won the trial stake. Simple ran here last season but failed to sparkle, Blades Of Hope is making his season reappearance after running up the Irish Cup last year. I’m going to give a narrow vote to Blades Of Hope based on the draw.
In the Bitch Stake Tobar Na Molt, Churchill Queen and Bated Breath are the main attractions. Tobar will have to be on her toes in the first round against Skellig Tulip however. Churchill won a very competitive trial stake here last year so course knowledge can stand to her, I’m going to give my narrow vote though to Bated Breath to claim her second victory of the season for Jerry Griffon.
Elsewhere, Waterford stage their annual two day meeting. The Urbs Intacta Cup is the main event. This looks between Brownes Kitchen and Hollyoak Rio. Brownes had a huge reputation last season but disappointed on his seasonal reappearance. If he puts his head down he will be hard to beat.
Hollyoak Rio can give him most to think about, ex Waterford hurling goalkeeper Jimmy Power has this fellow primed for action for his local meeting. Rio is now a third season runner but has very little mileage on the clock after a stop start season last year. These two should meet in the semi-final with the winner going all the way. The field in Waterford is in serious order thanks to the main man himself Mr Patsy Dunphy who hasn’t stopped working on it since last year.
We have betting available on all the above competitions on www.Boylesports.com , keep up to date with all the market movers and shakers. Give me a follow on Twitter if you can’t make any of the meetings this weekend, @Boylesportsdamo is the Twitter handle.
Thanks to everyone who tweets results and has tweeted the action over the last couple of weeks, you are a great help and it’s great to be able to keep up to date with the action around the country. Keep up the great work, you know who you are! #BetOnBoyle for all things greyhounds!