Laurels Favourites Bite The Dust

It was a night of shocks at Curraheen Park last Saturday for the opening round of the Irish Independent Laurels.

Favs Flounder
The two biggest casualties of the night were the two ante-post favourites Sidarian Eske and Droopys Nine. Eske showed a nice turn of pace in his heat after missing the break but got no run off the last bend while Nine broke badly and never got into the race and looked a bit uncomfortable. Let’s hope both dogs came out of the race ok and will be ready to challenge for this year’s Derby.

Fastest winner of the round went to the Gerry Holian-trained Curious Boy who led all in his heat to win by four lengths in 28.16. This October 12 son of Kinloch Brae and Sive Dubh broke level from trap one but showed the better early pace on the inside to make the corner just in front. From here he stamped his authority on the race and opened up a gap down the back straight and came home clear of Riverside Oscar back in second and Imperial Express back in third.

We said in last week’s blog to be careful of the local runners and if you followed suit you would have come out well on top by the end of the night.

Mucho Impressive
Jeanettedollemma took the opening heat of the night for the leading trainer down south at the moment Pat Kiely. She got off to one of her better starts on Saturday night and battled extremely hard to get the lead off Mysterious Ways just off the second turn. Once getting her head in front it was race over as she sees out this trip very strong, keeping up a strong gallop up front she stopped the infield clock on 28.17.

A runner to really impress me on the night was Mucho Macho Man.

He has had a stop-start season so far but really came in to form when landing a blow last week in 28.24.

Paul Hennessy trains this son of Razldazl Jayfkay for Sean Hagan from Dungannon, he looked a real Laurles dog since last year’s Derby. Hennessy took this lad to Wimbledon for a trial but didn’t seem to run the track well so sent him home with Cork in mind. This was a wise move. I think he is a different when getting drawn on the fence and looks banker material in the second round.

Rural Hawaii has a habit of getting to the final of these big competitions and he got off to the best possible start in this one. Running his usual wide course throughout he led all to take heat three in 28.33. His style of running might not really suit the track but he is so consistent we cannot write him off.

Quietly made a winning return to action after a bad wrist injury. His last two starts before he got hurt were two track records over two bends in both Limerick and Cork. He has a great record here in Cork where he has five wins from seven outings and two seconds. Trap six wasn’t ideal for him on Saturday night but his early pace carried him to the front just before the first turn.

Showing no signs of fatigue, he kept on well to the line stopping the clock in 28.64. I expect him to shave a few lengths off this clock next week as he has a perfect draw in trap one.

Tarsna Havana also made a winning return to action for his owner/trainer Geoff Parnaby. Tarsna was sent to the UK for a crack at the Derby but things didn’t go to plan after three impressive trials and never made the first round draw. Normal service was resumed though on Saturday night.

Showing a nice dash of pace to the corner he rode a slight bump well to kick clear down the far side. He has a few sub 2.00 sectionals in Shelbourne so cannot be dismissed in the early pace department. The winning time returned was 28.40. He is one for the notebook.

Other noted winners on the night were Civility Counts for Tom O’Neill (28.30), Airmount Tess (28.49) Newlawn Simon (28.39) and Collage Paradise (28.60). Mucho Macho Man and Riverside Oscar are my bankers for next week’s second round heats.

BoyleSports Derby
The BoyleSports Irish Derby was officially launched this week in Shelbourne Park and the guest of honour on the day was this year’s English Derby winner Jaytee Jet.

The first round heats will take place on the 11th and 13th of August while the final itself will be on the 17th of September. I know we say it most years but this year has all ingredients of a cracking competition.

Clares Rocket currently tops the market at 8/1 after his terrific run through the Produce Stakes.

But there are a number of runners chomping at the bit behind him in the market.

Jaytee Jet and Droopys Roddick are joint second favourites at 12/1, these two are well experienced runners and are two competition dogs. Reigning champion Ballymac Matt (16/1) warmed up nicely before racing on Saturday night with a 28.02 solo trial so all is well after his campaign in the UK. Mix the aforementioned runners in with the serious crop of young talent at the moment and you have got yourself a serious Derby.

Priceless Brandy has been introduced into the Derby picture at 25/1 after his astonishing 28.46 run last Wednesday in Kilkenny. On that run Brandy should rattle the 28.00 barrier with ease and looks to be an out and out 550 runner. All eyes will be on the ECC Timber Puppy 550 in the coming weeks! Check out for ante-post betting on a number of competitions taking place at the moment on both sides of the Irish Sea.

*Prices correct at time of publication.