Tuesday night’s quarter-finals at the ‘Don had a special feeling as it always does. Questions were raised.
Who will handle the quick runs? Surely he must be tired? How will the track run?
Nearly all of the big guns made it with the exception of two Irish raiders in Droopys Latina and Lenson Sanchez. The Irish move on though and they cover six of the 12 semi-finalists who will go to war again this Saturday night.
Ask anyone in the Emerald Isle and they will tell you that we’ve a better than 50/50 chance of taking the prize across the Irish Sea. We’ve priced an Irish-trained winner at () so let’s go through the draw trap-by-trap.
First semi-final, Saturday 9:08pm
T1 Lenson Rocky: (IRE) is a rapid improver who showed an incredible turn of foot down the back straight and that really got the blood pumping for his followers. The Trap 1 draw this time around has not been so kind and he would much prefer a middle berth. We’re against him rather than with him this time.
T2 Cloran Paddy: is our major worry for ante-post liabilities. He did little to ease the nightmares by taking off on the run-in to just nab Lenson Rocky. Again the draw gives us ‘some’ hope of getting him beaten – but keeping him out of the first three will take more than a minor miracle. We’re starting to get the fear.
T3 Peregrine Falcon: (IRE) is as consistent as they come. A proper competition dog that never lets his supporters down. Comments from connections before the race suggest there should be more to come if he qualifies for the final. He could be a serious player with a few more days on his side. Needs to get a flyer to make sure he gets there though.
T4 Southfield Jock: put in a mesmerising run in the quarters and showed his true qualities when leading from the front. Will he be able to get across on approach to the elusive first turn? May need to ride his luck.
T5 Blue Cafu: (IRE) makes up the field but dismiss him at your peril. This Irish raider has a brilliant draw in trap five and is more than capable of springing a surprise with a fast exit. He has a ping break in the locker! Trap draws win races and we’re going for an upset in the first heat.
T6 Bubbly Turbo: has improved week-on-week and he will be fancied to take that vital first bend in front. This is no means a straight-forward task as it will be a long way home after his winning effort on Tuesday night. This race may come too soon.
Selection: Blue Cafu Alternative: Cloran Paddy
Second semi-final, Saturday 9:24pm
T1 Hiya Butt: has been a revelation. A few shrewdies would have picked up on him whilst in Ireland but this lad has transformed himself into the real deal. Stamina was an issue early in his career but that script has been well and truly thrown into the bin after some amazing front-running exploits. A bullet from boxes, he will be adopting the ‘catch me if you can’ tactics.
T2 Jaytee Dutch: (IRE) is an enigma. This lad has real ability, more than most, but can prove frustrating to catch right. A drift off the rail cost him the race on Tuesday night after a scarcely believable ping from the inside. Another talented type that is not easily dismissed.
T3 Droopys Roddick: (IRE) is another runner that is giving us sleepless nights with ante-post liabilities mounting daily since his Puppy Derby win over course and distance. A real powerhouse that has yet to fully explode. Roddick came from another planet to grab a place in the semi’s and caught the eye of respected judges. He has us worried now – look out for him from half-way. He’s coming…
T4Shaneboy Freddie: put in a massive performance on Tuesday when second to Southfield Jock. His handler is as shrewd as they come and has hit a real purple patch. Freddie must lead to hold his chance but with a bit of luck he could find himself battling for a front row view of the Don’s crucial first-bend turn.
T5 Ballymac Brogan: is a highly-respected performer who screams class. When he gets it his way, little can contain him. A real speedster who seems to pluck lengths out of dogs when leading in splendid isolation. Big player if coming away on the sharp end.
T6 Jaytee Jet: (IRE) is the chosen one for Ireland. He posted some spine-tingling runs around Shelbourne Park last year and has fulfilled his early promise, and more. Drawn wide, he is likely to avoid trouble and will be powering home form the second bend. Jet has gears that other dogs can only dream of and despite a surprising defeat on Tuesday, he deserves his place at the top of the ante post merry-go-round and this semi-final.