It’s fingers crossed for Saturday and the Irish St.Leger. We have been lucky enough to get three through to the final and I will have no excuses whatever happens.
All three dogs came out of the semi finals in good order. Nobody needs me to say that they have good chances in the final, the betting kind of sums that up. I think we have been lucky in the draw. I did have a thought as to whether Lenson Blinder would have been better on the inside of Clonbrien Prince, but I haven’t convinced myself. In fact, I might just have put them in the boxes they drew had I been allowed to do it.
Nice Charmer needs trap one more than the other pair. I would expect Prince to go up straight and edge to the bend. Blinder should also take a straight line and he has shown enough brains not to cut across to rail if there is a dog in the way.
In terms of preparation, it is exactly as for the semi finals. When I was a bit young and got excited about getting a dog to a final, I might do silly things. But experience has taught me ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ If we had an outsider, I might be tempted to try something different in the preparation, but not with dogs running so well. They will all have had two gallops this week.
I actually learned a bit about Prince during the Derby. There was a bit of talk about him being lame or not getting on with it, when he got beat which was absolute rubbish. He is a top class greyhound. I said before the semi finals that he is a dog that takes work well, he responded as I hoped he would. As a result, his regime this week will be slightly different to the other two.
We will be trying equally hard with all three and even though Nice Charmer has a bit to find, he has given Eric Cantillon a bit of fun since he bought him at the start of the competition. I stayed with Eric when I came over for the English Derby a couple of years ago and we have remained good friends ever since.
We will also have some runners on the supporting card including the luckiest dog in the kennel, Rural Vic. He has recently won two stakes at Shelbourne Park. In one of them he was eliminated and came back in as a reserve. In the other he finished in a dead heat for third and won the toss of a coin before going on to land the stake.
He is a young dog I always liked. He won an unraced stake at Clonmel but then went lame. It put his development back a bit because by the time he returned to racing, he was having to take on experienced older dogs. It took him a while to adapt. He will need to trap well, but I think he has a decent chance on Saturday.
We also have Lughill Robbie in a 350 yard race. He is just back after a toe injury and isn’t fit enough for 525 yet but he should be nice and fresh for a sprint.
We also have Drive On Tipp in an open 600. He is far from ideally drawn in four with the pacey Skywalker Logan in six. The Skywalker dog is very fast, but Tipp ran a great race at Shelbourne last week and will give anything a run in his present form.
Away from Limerick we have Clona Blaze and Newinn Lester in the same semi final of the Gain Select Stakes. Blaze has really taken to Waterford because it is quite a narrow track and he doesn’t run as wide. As for Newinn Lester, I just think the world of him and hope the pair both get through to the final.