O’Donnell wants to follow in parents’ footsteps at Shelbourne Park
Jennifer O’Donnell will try to follow in the footsteps of both her parents by coaching the Sporting Press winner Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night. Her legendary father Matt trained Yale Princess to win the female dog Classic in 1987, while some twenty-two years later her mother Frances won with Skywalker Queen in 2009.
On Saturday night, Jennifer will be represented by Scooby Duchess at the Slut Classic Finale. The brilliant daughter of Droopys Sydney has an ideal draw on the fence and can atone for her quarter and semi-final losses.
However, five very talented performers stand in her way. The market suggests that Raha Mofo and Droopys Nextone are the biggest dangers to the favorite and it’s hard to disagree. Both won their respective semi-finals in tremendous fashion and both are extremely fast.
Raha Mofo has been a revelation throughout the competition and would be a deserving winner, but she needs to be at her best in the opening yards with the early-paced duo of Scooby Duchess and Ballymac Art on her immediate inside. She is very strong and will definitely finish faster than most, but we have to see if she can turn close enough.
Droopys Nextone has a very similar profile to Raha Mofo. Another strong runner with good trapping ability, she will look to get close before unleashing a big finish. From a trap draw five, she will also need to be at her best.
Ballymac Miranda and Tullovin Vita round out the lineup, but both would likely need a lot of drops to cause a shock. In short, Scooby Duchess looks likely to improve on recent displays coming out of her season and that could make all the difference. Expect Steve Noble’s dog to dictate from the early works before handing Jennifer O’Donnell a famous hit.
Across the Atlantic, Ireland’s hopes of winning the Star Sports/TRC English derby remain strong despite the fact that only four of the remaining ten Irish have qualified since last week’s quarter-finals. The four in question are the impressive quarter-final winners Priceless Jet, Hello Hammond and Romeo Magico.
Naturally, Priceless Jet grabbed the headlines by breaking Towcester’s record in the 500m for the second time in his career. Flashing traps and registering a sizzle of 28.78, he proved there was still life in the old dog.
The reward for his efforts is a tough draw in the semi-finals in the second set. Drawn in six for the fifth time in this Derby, he has former track record holder Lautaro on his immediate inside in five, while fellow kennel Hello Hammond lines up in the red of one with fellow countryman Kildare pulled in two.
All three Irishmen have strong claims, but it is suspected that Lautaro will also be involved, potentially pushing one of the Irish runners off the frame.
Romeo Magico is Ireland’s sole representative in the opening round. An incredibly talented tracker with tremendous pace, he can be a little frustrating at times due to his inconsistent boxing, but there’s no doubt he’s among the best in training.
He and undefeated Signet Goofy are dominating the bets and one of the two should win. Everything will depend on Romeo Magico’s ability to start in the conditions. If you do, he should have too much of an early dash for those on his flanks and that could set him up for a successful crack at the Goofy bookmark, which likely sets the pace.
Tonight’s action is dominated by the Callaway Rambler @ Stud Race of Champions Final at Tralee. The contest will be televised live on RPGTV and it has the potential to be one of the races of years.
It is certainly a competition that lives up to its name as it is packed with some of the biggest names in the sport. 2021 Derby, Oaks and Puppy Oaks winner Susie Sapphire is the favorite to go home in the lead, but faces one of the toughest tests of her illustrious career.
She already added the Easter Cup to her incredible tally earlier this year but will need to be at her best to better her rivals tonight. Explosive Boy is the main danger for the Derby champion. The defending champion was named Dog of the Year after an incredible 2021 and he still looks great in 2022.
Above all, he is drawn inside Susie Sapphire in the second trap and could really make life difficult if he starts on condition. Add the top class duo of Good Cody and Skywalker Barry, the fast Bockos Budsit and the mighty Loher Ron and it really is a wonderful contest.
Susie Sapphire is the one to beat though. If she can produce one of her flying starts, the Owen McKenna-trained superstar can dictate her way through to cement her status as one of the fastest to ever grace the tracks in Ireland.