Better Call Caul: Leo fastest on dramatic night at Shelbourne
Coom Leo was the fastest of the first-round heat winners at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as the Bresbet Easter Cup kicked off in blustery conditions at the Dublin venue.
Knight Tornado got the ball rolling in heat one when making all in 29:66 to beat kennel-mate Swords Maestro, who produced an eye-catching run back in second, while Part Blake took third to make it a 1-2-3 for champion trainer Graham Holland. Knight Tornado is unbeaten when leading at the opening bend, and Saturday marked his ninth all the way success.
Scarthy Yank took the second heat from Sweep The Yard and Romeo Magico in 29:86. This was the opening leg of a double for Pat Buckley, whose kennels are in red-hot form at present.
One Time Only got the better of last year's derby finalist Jackslittlething when making all in heat three, Sentimental Lad did plenty of running back in third.
On to heat four, where Coolavanny Duke showed good battling qualities to get the better of Ballymac Merlin and Crokers Spirit in 29:85.
Current Oaks/Derby champion Susie Sapphire went to boxes the odds-on favourite to take heat five and all looked to be going to plan when hitting the front early, she was strongly pressed by Bobsleigh Dream down the far side, and it was evident before the third bend she was in trouble. Bobsleigh Dream struck the front and looked a likely winner before Mr Shelbourne Park Beach Avenue came out of the clouds with his famous finishing kick to nab them both in 29:83.
Fast Fit Paddy took heat six from Ballymac Fairone and Priceless Jet in 29:70 but the race was marred by an injury to Jacob Tashadelek, who was well in command as they entered the back straight before breaking down. It was sad to see, but reports are that he'll be back on his feet in no time and will enjoy a very happy retirement.
Good Cody was my idea of the night's banker, but he was withdrawn shortly before the start of heat seven with trainer Patrick Guilfoyle not 100% happy with his star. It's been reported he may have picked up a bug and we'll see him back on track shortly. The five-dog event then went to Storys Peewee, who beat Barefoot Supremo and Ballymac Wild in 29:83.
The last of the eight heats completed the Pat Buckley double as Coom Leo produced the fastest run of the night when an impressive winner in 29:48. He didn't have the greatest record around Shelbourne prior to Saturday, but he put that right on the night. The quarter finals take place this Saturday, so let us look at the four heats.
Heat 1: Susie Sapphire has been installed at the $2.38 favourite despite her poor draw in box five, she has won from box five in the past and will need to be alert early as she usually is, however last week's run was a little disappointing and she will need to come forward from it. Romeo Magico is well drawn in red and ran better than the placing suggests last week. Only a fortnight ago he posted the fastest time of the year for 480m at Shelbourne and at $3.75 he's the one to side with.
Heat 2: Coolavanny Duke took his career record to eight wins from nine starts last week when coming from behind to beat Crokers Spirit who reopposes again this Saturday. The two have far superior early pace than their rivals and should lead down the far side. Preference is for Coolavanny Duke to land the spoils but beware, some of the country's biggest finishers will be closing late and fast!
Heat 3: Last weekend's two quickest heat winners clash in heat three where One Time Only heads the market @ $3 ahead of Coom Leo @ $3.75. It's a tough heat and a couple of the opposition caught my eye last week. Sentimental Lad ran well from off the pace as to did Swords Maestro and they are not without a chance, but last year's derby finalist Jackslittlething showed much more sparkle last week and is well drawn in box four. He posted 29:10 from this box in last year's derby and looks to be on the way back to peak form.
Heat 4: As we pointed out earlier in the piece if Knight Tornado leads, he'll almost certainly win. He is well drawn in box one and is certainly at the top of his game. The lightly raced Bockos Vieira is another who is well drawn in six and still has plenty of room for improvement in what will only be his fourth career start. Maybe experience will prevail over youth in this, and we'll go for Knight Tornado to make all in the last quarter final.
Supporting card at Shelbourne
We must mention the sixth race on the card at Shelbourne this Saturday, the Con and Annie Kirby memorial trial stake. The winner of this event will receive an automatic entry into the prestigious event run at Limerick later next month. The line up on Saturday includes the first two home from the recent Rural Kennels unraced stake, Swords Rex and Droopys Nice One, as well as Dublin Cup winner Ballymore Border and winter racing festival puppy winner Carrauntoohil. It could end up being the race of the night! Carrantoohil has previous winning form around Shelbourne and that experience edge will certainly stand to him.
Singalong Sally hits the right note at Thurles
2021 Derby runner up Singalong Sally has resumed this year as good as ever after a short break. As well as running up in last years derby she was also a finalist in the Kirby Memorial, the Kingdom derby and a winner of last season's Juvenile classic at Tralee. Pat Buckley's star tracker has won both rounds of the Sean Byrne Painting and Decorating open bitch stake and will go to traps the long odds-on favourite to take this weekends decider. Farranrory Megan and Pennylane Sheba will be her main rivals, but with a fast start Singalong Sally will prove hard to beat.
Juvenile Classic at Tralee
Bellmore Sally takes gold at Crayford
Jimmy Fenwick's Bellmore Sally took the Premier Racing Golden Jacket at Crayford on Saturday with an all the way success in the AU$37,500 eight-bend event. Warzone Tom was expected to set the pace but unfortunately for his supporters he missed the break and was always on the back foot. Despite showing good early pace to the corner Warzone Tom couldn't take the lead from the fast-starting Bellmore Sally and the race was as good as over, Bellmore Sally maintained a strong gallop throughout and came home a comfortable winner from Droopys Senorita and Warzone Tom back in third.
Ladbrokes Winter Derby Final at Monmore
The Ladbrokes winter derby final takes place over 480m at Monmore this Saturday night and just over three lengths separate the entire field on semi final times. The sponsors have installed Bull Run Norris as the $3.50 favourite closely followed by Burnchurch Mick @ $3.75. Burnchurch Mick looks the most likely leader and that could be the all-important factor, he's won his last two starts and a repeat of his semi final win could well suffice. Callmesteve is not without a chance but will have to come from off the pace to take the prize.
This weekend's best bets
Shelbourne Park Saturday
- Romeo Magico – 2 units win (21:12 GMT)
- Carrauntoohil – 1 unit win (20:57)
- Burnchurch Mick – 1 unit win (20:03)