The Irish Derby is finally here at Shelbourne Park - it's live on RPGTV (Sky 431) plus the heats of the Kent St Leger from Crayford. Darrell Williams previews the action.
"If anything he (Lenson Bocko) has proved even more conducive to sharp starts when drawn in trap five and the jolly should soon have the huge Dublin crowd in raptures en route to claiming the biggest prize in Irish greyhound racing"
With four victories in five qualifying rounds many will expect Lenson Bocko to be crowned Irish Derby champion later this evening. And it's a view that is hard to argue with given Graham Holland's star's domination of the Classic.
His wide-margin successes - by a total of almost 22 lengths - have been gained on the 'front-end' and it is hard not to envisage him again launching an all-out assault from traps rise. If anything he has proved even more conducive to sharp starts when drawn in trap five and with slow to go Boylesports King - comfortably held on semi-final form - in stripes the jolly should soon have the huge Dublin crowd in raptures en route to claiming the biggest prize in Irish greyhound racing.
Classy Killmac the one to beat
Nothing, of course, is certain and the claims of Irish Oaks and Dundalk International winner Killmacdonagh are by no means under-estimated especially as she inflicted the only defeat on the selection back in the second round. The consensus is that the track hugely favoured inside runners that night but with a return to a trap one jacket that has yielded success in six of her nine previous encounter - including on the clock a best Derby run back in the first round, it is no surprise that Kieran Lynch's bitch has proved popular in the market this week.
She can fill second spot at the expense of Mucky Brae whose progression through the event culminating in a massive semi-final performance would make him a potential headache to Lenson Bocko early on if trapping as effectively again but at the odds he is reluctantly passed over.
Boylesports King is bound to unleash his trademark big finish but may find the race has gone beyond recall while Run Happy is comfortably held by the selection in each of the previous three rounds.
Poppy the pick
The Kent St Leger has hit new heights in recent seasons and this year's renewal continues that progressive profile. Hayley Keightley fields a typically strong contingent and its last year's third Roxholme Poppy that particularly appeals (21:09). Having blown away the cobwebs when beaten last week after a four-month absence she can bounce back in heat four (21:09) where she should have too much early dash for TV Trophy hero Aayamza Breeze. Remember she already has Yorkshire and Yarmouth Leger titles in the locker, and I'd fancy her to go close to adding this title in a fortnight's time.
Kennelmate Roxholme Dolly was imperious in winning a 540m competition last week and while untried at this extended trip should prove too speedy for Goldies Hotspur in heat five (20:34).
Leemount Venus, another up in distance, also interests me in heat two (20:17) given her 'early' while Golden Jacket winner Stardom can confirm that form with old adversary Antigua Fire in a thrilling opening heat (20:00) although the forecast makes most appeal.