Big Race Preview: EOS IT Solutions Dundalk International
Slippery Jade carries local hopes in Thursday night’s EOS IT Solutions Dundalk International. A surprise entry in the €20,000-to-the-winner event, the youngest of the six runners goes for Jenkinstown-based Larry Dunne, and if successful will be the first winner from around these parts since Quail Hollow scored for Castleblayney’s Kieran Lonergan six years ago.
Slippery Jade, one of three bitches in the line-up, will be taking in her first race at the track, having had her previous sixteen at Shelbourne Park. She has competed mostly in races confined to her gender, and earlier this year reached the quarter-finals of the Sporting Press Oaks. Going strictly on trial times, her 30.03 last Friday night leaves her with ground to make up on a number of the others. She is likely to be among the outsiders.
Owner Dunne, who is assisted in the training of the daughter of Slippery Fred and Kildallon Maid by local man, Aidan Finnegan, has tasted success at the very highest level. Four years ago he was on the Shelbourne Park podium after his Slippery Robert won the Derby, and further back, in 2004, he sent out Sycamore Dan to win the first running of the Irish Sprint Cup, at Dowdallshill.
Betting on Thursday night’s race is likely to centre on Borna Gin and Droopys Verve. The latter is trained in England, which hasn’t had a winner of the big race since Blonde Dino's success in 2008. Angela Harrison's charge comes to Dundalk on the back of a magnificent English Derby campaign. The two-year-old reached the final, and was the only one to really put it up to the winner, Dorotas Wildcat, finishing second, beaten one-and-a-half lengths.
Droopys hasn't been raced since, but has recorded a number of decent trials, the most recent coming over the International's 550 course last weekend. Running from four, he railed perfectly to return an excellent 29.68. None of the other runners has gone as fast in trials.
Borna Gin will be attempting to give Co. Tipperary trainer, Pat Buckley, his fourth International winner, and is not without a huge chance. The Spanish-owned runner was desperately unlucky not to reach this year's English Derby decider, having previously made the final of two major Shelbourne Park competitions and the semi-final of another. His two recent trials at Dowdallshill were good.
There'll be no love lost when Buckley sends out his charge in opposition to one owned by his brother. Well-known country singer, Jimmy Buckley, has Jumerirah Charm going for him, this lad trained in Galway by Gerry Holian.
Completing the field are two runners whose connections have tasted International glory in the past. Whoops Jack, an English Derby finalist this year, is owned by Larry O'Shea and trained by Peter Cronin, who combined to win the big race in 2014 with Metro Jack - while Cabra Angel's trainer, Patrick Guilfoyle, had charge of the great Definate Opinion, twice a winner, in 2010 and twelve months later.
The break is going to be all-important. A trouble-free run around the first bend can be the prelude to victory, and if Borna Gin finds himself clear of the rest he can go on to complete the Pat Buckley four-timer. Droopys Verve looks the main danger.