Trainer Graham Holland has 10 runners in the first round of the Larry O’Rourke sponsored Produce Stakes at Clonmel tonight.
They are headed by the sensational Newinn Taylor, unbeaten in eight races to date.
Graham said: “We actually had 11 entered but Coolavanny Fagin has had to be withdrawn. Taylor is in a very tough heat against Mustang Firmino who has 28.33 winning form off a 2.79 sectional which is very quick. We also have Doolin Duke in the same race. At this stage, I am just looking at qualifying.
“In terms of the others, I don’t think Newinn Session is a lot behind Taylor. He is two months younger and I kept him back for the unraced stake but his record is four from four. Rathcoole Fox broke 28.00 at Cork before lock down.
“There are also a couple who I expect to come on for the competition including Feudal Spirit who was bought in by Larry O’Rourke. He takes on Sevenheads Rock who is an erratic starter and struggles to see out the trip if he isn’t fully fit, but is a very fast greyhound. Without going through each of them, I think there are others who will come to the fore and I couldn’t be happier with my team.”
Among those who might be considered to be ‘lucky to be here’ is Sweep The Yard whose career appeared in jeopardy when he picked up a similar injury to English Derby favourite Ice On Fire.
Holland said: “Normally a gracilis injury means they are either finished or will go down a couple of grades. You get such a lot of scar tissue which keeps breaking down and you are forever treating it.
“Sweep The Yard was treated by Declan Merriman and looks to have made an excellent recovery. But a better example is Riverside Larry who seems to have made a complete recovery despite having damaged both gracilis. You might argue that both is actually slightly better than must doing the one, since they stretch to the same amount, but it is still very unusual to such a dog come back so well.”
Holland has eight runners on a good Shelbourne Saturday night card when he will also give Lenson Bocko a trial before racing. If all goes to plan, the Irish Derby winner will be “one of at least four” entries for next week’s Champion Stakes at the same track.