So we are down from 16 original entries to three for the final of the Boylesports Irish Derby.
Although I will be doing a few bits and pieces with the dogs this week, our three in the final are all sound and we will be trying to get them into the best possible shape.
I don’t try to kid anyone, these dogs have all been fit since the first round. You daren’t risk going into the first round with a half fit dog, you never know who you will come up against. There isn’t a switch on these dogs to just suddenly turn them on.
Looking at the draw with two inside runners, two middles and two wides, there were limited options for me to hope for anything else.
I am happy that Slippy Cian is drawn on the inside of Clonbrien Hero because Hero has a tendency to turn to his right when he comes out of the traps. He will then go in a straight line will then cut the bend.
I don’t think either he or Slippy Cian have trapped to their best ability so far, so I am hoping they can step up on that on Saturday.
There is a lot of early pace on the inside and it would be hard to predict who would lead. If Ballyanne Sim leads he will restrict the run of Magical Bale. I am hoping Slippy Cian can get a clear run and be with the leaders.
I thought Cian and Hero showed terrific pace along the backstraight in their semis. I have said all the way through that Cian is a very clever dog and Hero is an experienced old pro who always finds a way.
We have Clona Blaze in six with the slower breaking Jaytee Taylor on his inside. At the third bend last week I thought Clona Blaze was gone. It just shows how much he has matured during this competition.
But Jaytee Taylor also ran a massive race in the semi finals and will take all the beating.
Really, I am quite calm about the whole thing. We will do our best to have the dogs in the best condition we can manage for Saturday night, and we can do no more.
I hope its a great race, that the best dog on the night comes out on top, and that all six come off the track uninjured.
It promises to be a tremendous night of racing. We have three in the final, another two in the consolation, and hopefully another seven runners on the night.
Its what dog racing is all about.