They call it make-or-break night in the English Derby and once again tonight’s quarter-finals session at Wimbledon will sort out many of the men from the boys.
Razldazl Oisin and Fionn. Razldazl Jayfkay out of Dundooan Diva
Hopefully, the seven-strong Irish team will maintain their impressive rate of progress in the classic.
Coming so quick after Saturday’s third-round action, this round is a severe test of a dog’s attitude and stamina. However, it will be most disappointing if the majority of the Irish raiders don’t safely negotiate the path to the semi-finals.
After her stunning treble on Saturday night, Dolores Ruth knows that she cannot work a repeat this time as Razldazl Rioga and Razldazl Bugatti are set to clash in the first heat.
The race is complicated by the presence of defending champion Taylors Sky and Droopys Lorenzo, but both Rioga and Bugatti have the early pace to survive.
Two races later, track record holder Razldazl Jayfkay will face by far his toughest test of the Derby to date, with the opposition including the likes of Bubbly Phoenix, Boher Paddy, Droopys Loner and Mill Maximus. Jayfkay simply must make a fast exit, but we know that on top form he has the measure of them all.
The second heat sees the Irish trio of Sean Muldoon’s Tinas Nova, Michael O’Donovan’s Judicial Ruling and Pat Curtin’s Shelbourne Geoff in action.
There is huge early pace in this race with Coolavanny Bert, Farloe Ironman and Young Sid also involved. Shelbourne Geoff may be best of ours but the other pair are well capable of qualifying.
Fraser Black’s Droopys Jet gave a distinct sign that he’s settling down around the circuit when just beaten on Saturday and if he can leave the traps reasonably in Heat 4, he will win.
The big race on the home front this week will be the final of the Larry Dunne Open 525 at Shelbourne on Saturday.
This promises to be an epic, with outstanding young prospects Droopys Cain, Skywalker Puma and Sparta Maestro all involved. Mind you, Swift Marathon, Flandys Ryan and Bling Bling Buzz are also entitled to the height of respect.
The final of the Lee Strand 550 will be run at Tralee on Saturday and here Soviet Lightning plus the Paul Hennessy-trained duo of Money Talks and Buddy Minor can fight it out for the €9,000 prize.