Dessie eyes £5,000 prize at Drumbo
Retired Belfast optician Dessie Gilroy has his eyes on the £10,000 Caledonia Smooth Gold Cup at Drumbo Park tonight.
The trap draw favours his inside runner and semi-final winner Divis View who wears the blue sheet in what promises to be a cracking finale for the £5,000 winners' prize.
Nalps Crash has touched for the red box and that puts Helen Morrison's Ballymena-based black dog very much in contention and the race between him and Divis to the first corner, will be crucial just as it will be for the other semi-final winner Atitboy.
Trained by Hillsborough's Ronnie McKeown, the brindle Atitboy chases a unique double, having won the Northern Irish Derby back in the summer. He's a top class tracker as demonstrated again when scorching home last week in 28.34, finishing four lengths in front of Nalps.
However, he was running from trap one then and does not have that advantage now. In fact, he has plenty to do to get round the opening turn in front from the extreme outside (T6) and also appeared to tweak a muscle near the escape last week. He can't afford to be anything other than in tip-top condition in this competitive affair.
English Derby finalist, Kincraig Rory, carrying the hopes of east Belfast's Allen Agnew, missed his break from trap five when third behind Atitboy and must do better from the same box in the starting stakes. If he does, he has what it takes to give the kennel another major victory.
Taepot Hill is likely to struggle for position early but if there are any hiccups in running, Harry Benson's bitch will be ready to bring her stamina to the table and pounce late.
And that leaves the 'dark horse' Swift Iniesta who runs for Scotland's Alex Callachan and is handled by Louth's Martin Lanney. The fawn dog has had no luck in his previous two rounds, finding trouble in each. But the Lisburn Junior Cup winner back in May is the fastest seen here this year in a competitive race, clocking 28.31 secs over the 525 trip.
Trap four is not a bad draw and if he clips out in front and leads up, he'll take plenty of beating. He is a serious challenger and everything could just fall into his lap and layers face big liabilities on him.
None of the six runners can be ruled out but the verdict goes to the Michael Taggart-trained 2/1 favourite Divis who's taken to hold on from Iniesta and Atitiboy.