The weather is starting to turn and temperatures are beginning to dip but the action on the track should bring some heat to proceedings at Limerick on Saturday night as the Matchbook Betting Exchange Irish St Leger continues.
There were some superb opening round displays, most notably from Part Blake and Scarty Yank, and it seems safe to assume there will be even more in Saturday’s second round. Explosive Boy remains the clear favourite for outright success although he did suffer an odds-on reversal last week, going down to the mighty impressive Part Blake.
The pair will meet again on Saturday and the added presence of recent Laurels champion One Time Only and impressive opening round scorer Gunboat Showman should ensure that the heat takes top billing.
It really is a line-up that would be fitting of the final itself but at least one of the four named greyhounds will be eliminated.
Given the fact that he is drawn on the inside of his three main rivals, One Time Only is nominated as the one to follow. Should he produce another of his flying starts, the Tommy O’Donovan trained star could easily set the pace from trap two.
In such circumstances, the brilliant son of Droopys Sydney would likely lead into the back straight before going on to record what would be his fourth win on the bounce. Explosive Boy and Part Blake are, of course, respected.
Pat Buckley, who won the Leger twice in the past with Paradise Silva and Never Give Up, had a particularly good opening round, winning with Singalong Sally, Glengar Bale and the aforementioned Scarty Yank. He will be hoping for more of the same and certainly has strong claims in a number of heats.
Derby runner-up Singalong Sally is the one to beat in the final heat of the round where she is likely to get first run on the likes of Minor Droopys, Storys Peewee and the remarkable Beach Avenue. Buckley will also be hoping Deerjet Sydney can justify favouritism in Heat 5. He ran a big race behind his kennelmate Singalong Sally last week and looks set to return to winning ways at the expense of Minaun Flyer and Drahan Jet.
Scarty Yank set the standard in the opening round and will likely start favourite to win Heat 6 for Buckley but he might have to settle for a qualifying spot behind the ideally housed and impressive opening round winner Loher Ron. The latter wears the red jacket and can race prominently before asserting on the bend.
Others worth a mention include Ballymac Wild who is chosen to come home in front in the opening heat, the remarkably consistent Scooby Princess in Heat 2, while Sentimental Lad is nominated as the banker of the night in Heat 3.
Mullingar always gets great local support and a big crowd will pour through the stiles for one of their big nights of the year at the midland’s venue. The final of the SIS Fair Warrior Sprint looks hugely competitive and could provide a real spectacle.
Olympic Dollar captured the event last year, earning him a nomination or Sprinter of the Year. While he may not have won that award, he does look a big player on Saturday’s decider and could very possibly defend his title. He is the only unbeaten finalist and has plenty in his favour.
As a middle seed, he should be suited by a trap three draw although it’s worth pointing out he hasn’t raced from the box in over a year. If he does make one of his famed flying exits, however, the Beatrice Steiner trained speedster can get first run on his rivals and proceed to contain the likes of Ela Supremo and Gizmo Cash.
Shelbourne Park will play host to a tremendous card featuring the finals of both the Shelbourne Puppy Oaks and the Talking Dogs Novice 750. Scooby Duchess looks a class above her rivals in the final of the Oaks after a sensational 28.10 return in the semi-finals. the Jennifer O’Donnell trained youngster has everything including wonderful early speed and she is chosen to dominate.
Generous Angel looks even more bombproof in the 750 final. A very exciting stayer, she won her semi-final with consummate ease and has plenty in hand on her rivals on the clock. If avoiding any serious errors, she can emerge a comfortable scorer.