If the opening round was any indication, the remainder of the Matchbook Betting Exchange Irish St Leger is set to provide some exceptional racing around the wonderful Limerick track. So many of Ireland’s fastest four legged stars impressed last weekend and it seems safe to expect more of the same in Saturday’s second round.
Ballinabola Ed is amongst the very fastest greyhounds to grace the tracks of Ireland over the past few years and he was ruthless in the opening round, holding English Derby winner Romeo Magico at bay with consummate ease.
As a result, his price for outright success has been clipped and he is now clear favourite to land the final classic of the year in early December. His supporters will be hoping he can follow up last week’s success in Heat 6.
Bockos Crystal is a worthy adversary and comes into the race in tremendous form but the pair have met before with Ballinaboola Ed coming home five lengths to the good. He may struggle to match that margin of victory but really does look the one to beat.
Pat Buckley, who trains Ballinabola Ed, actually had a treble in the opening round and looks set to record a double this week. Bobsleigh Dream posted the fastest time of the opening round, pulling clear in the second half of the contest to clock 29.43.
As a reward for her exploits, she has been handed a favourable draw on the fence in Heat 5. Should she start on terms, she might have enough to better the Juvenile classic winner Wi Can Dream and the powerful Magical Mary, who is far from guaranteed a clear passage.
The aforementioned Romeo Magico doesn’t have Ballinabola Ed to deal with this week but will still need to be at his brilliant best to contain his hugely talented kennel companion Bockos Budsit in the penultimate heat.
Bockos Budsit is the more likely pace-setter but Romeo Magico is set to turn a close second before making his superior back straight pace count. Others that stand out in their respective heats include impressive opening round scorers Droopys Edison and Vincenzo, while Trinity Junior and Callaway Masters can atone for opening round defeats.
Meanwhile, Shelbourne Park’s action on Saturday features the opening round of the National Puppy Stake. The famous event has provided a springboard to future stardom for many of the very best greyhounds of the past twenty years.
This year’s event features twenty-four promising puppies and there seems no doubt a couple of future classic winners will be amongst them. One that certainly excites is Boylesports Vic. Owned by Boylesports supremo, John Boyle, the Paul Hennessy trained youngster has shown real promise in previous outings and seems set to continue improving.
There are a number of members of the very talented Pestana/ Unlock Unlock litter in the field including Up The Style. She suffered her first defeat in the Puppy Oaks decider last time out but seems to have all the qualities needed to be a star.
Finally, there were incredible scenes at Shelbourne Park on Tuesday last. There was an additional night of racing put on for a private student only event and 4,000 college and university goers descended on the famous Ringsend venue providing an incredible atmosphere.
While there were no superstars in action on the track, it didn’t stop the packed stands from cheering home every winner as though they had claimed a Derby success. By all accounts the night was a real success and hopes are high that there will be more similar sold-out nights in the future.