One Time Only claimed his second Irish Classic when running out a fine winner of the Champion Stakes at Shelbourne Park last Saturday night.
At one stage during the evening, it looked as though racing may have been abandoned due to persistent rain but, thankfully, most of the card went ahead, albeit we lost the final two races on the card due to the weather. The heavy rain came about a half-hour before the main event, and it was a bit of a puzzle as to whether the inside or the outside would have an advantage due to the heavy showers.
Born Warrior was a good winner of the Champion Plate from box six just before the Champion Stakes, and it looked as though the outside was the place to be. However, One Time Only proved it was a level playing field as he took the final in style from box one.
Well away from the inside box, the Thomas O’Donovan-trained star showed fine early dash to just lead on the run to the corner ahead of Droopys Nice One and Bockos Budsit, who did not show his usual early dash on the run to the opening turn. One Time Only held a definite advantage as they set off down the back straight with Droopys Nice One pushed off at the bend and doing no favors to Bockos Budsit.
It was left to Twoinarow to give chase to the leader, just like he did in the semifinal. One Time Only was not for catching, as he ran on strongly to deny Twoinarow with Sentimental Lad a little unlucky back in third place.
The six finalists are all expected to line up in the upcoming Irish Greyhound Derby starting August 19. The aforementioned Born Warrior will also head straight for the Derby. Our antepost Derby pick, Coolavanny Hoffa, was once again an impressive winner on the undercard and has shortened to a best price $14 for the event.
Kerry and Susie cause mild surprises at Hove
On a big night of action at Hove, it was Troy Susieeq who ran out a shock winner of the Regency Final when making all to score at odds of $29.
Susie had won her semifinal at odds of $23 from box one but looked to have a tough task to try similar tactics from box five in the final. To her credit, she displayed excellent early pace and determination to lead into the opening turn and held off all challengers to deny the fast-finishing Bombardier by a half-length.
There was another mild shock in the Sussex Cup Final when our selection, Ninja Kerry, beat off odds-on favorite Havana Bale Out with Warzone Tom splitting the pair back in second.
The week ahead
It’s a relatively quite weekend ahead on both sides of the Irish Sea. The Sprint Cup at Dundalk reaches the semifinal stage on Saturday, where the excellent Serene Ace remains unbeaten after three rounds as does Shancol Johnny. Flashing Willow is yet to win around, but you feel he is soon to get things right at boxes and he remains one to keep on side.
In the UK, the Juvenile Classic Final is due to take place at Towcester on Sunday. Ivanexile and Havana Lover dominate the market after winning their respective semifinals. Havana Lover was the quicker of the two on the clock but will have to come from behind Ivanexile. That dog is well drawn in box three and looks an appealing play at around $3 with the bookies. Matt Dartnall’s youngster has won his last three, and a level break should see him race clear of this field.
The Summer Sprint Final takes place at Crayford on Saturday morning. Milton Rio has won both rounds so far and is perfectly housed in six. Huntsman rates the main danger running from three; his 23:10 victory last week is the fastest run in the competition to date, and a repeat performance should suffice. He has more early pace than the inside duo of Twoathem and Lostrigg Ajay and will be tough to be if leading early.
On Friday evening, Romford will once again provide plenty of open-race action. Bubbly Dusty could go well in the 19:36 (BST) on the card, he has raced in top company for most of his career and the step up in distance looks like it may suit. The 19:56 on the card sees Droopys Good make his UK debut. He beat the absolute best Ireland had to offer over the past 12 months, and if he his anywhere near his best, he will take all the beating. The last race on the card represents a good chance for Bubbly Ranger to get back to winning ways. This lightly raced puppy has plenty of pace and with a little luck he should go close in the finale.
Weekend’s best bets
Romford, Friday (19:56)
*Odds correct at time of publication
Crayford, Saturday (12:09)