Ian Fortune

Ballinakill Alf has certainly established himself as one of the best sprinters of recent years and he will be a warm favourite to capture tonight’s feature at Shelbourne Park, the final of the Islandbridge Open Sprint.

His kennel companion Romeo Taylor actually set the pace in the semis, showing sensational speed to clock a fastest of the year 18.41. It was a paw-perfect display but he hasn’t been rewarded with a kind draw for his efforts.

Instead, the Graham Holland trained star has to race from trap five as an inside seed. If he is to confirm last week’s form, he must again shoot from traps. If failing to do so, he may struggle to hold Ballinakill Alf into the bend.

Alf isn’t perfectly drawn himself in four and will likely edge inwards but he has astounding pace and that could make the difference.

Of the remainder, Cree Jo Jo and Getup Me Son can offer the most resistance to the Graham Holland trained pair. Cree Jo Jo has returned to his best in recent weeks, showing fine early speed in his last two outings. A rails draw is a slight concern as he may edge off to the middle of the track. He will need a flying start to come out on top.

Getup Me Son is very progressive. He too has shown fine pace in recent outings but needs to rocket from traps to clear Cree Jo Jo. Beepers Evan and Hawkfield Scar complete the line-up. Both have impressed in the past but need to be at their very best to cause a shock this evening.

Ballinakill Alf and Romeo Taylor really are the standout performers and much will come down to the opening five strides. With a draw on the inside of Romeo Taylor, Ballinakill Alf can emerge as the one to beat and the brilliant son of Pestana is chosen to provide the Pillar Syndicate and Graham Holland with another big race success.



Elsewhere on the card, there is an impressive €2,500 on offer to the winner of the Retired Greyhound Trust ON2 525. Max Pro set a strong standard in the semis, coming home clear in 28.77 and a repeat of that form would see him take some stopping.

Val Tashadelek won the other semi and is respected, while there are better displays expected from Ballyhimikin Sal and Mind Body Spirit. In what could turn out to be a really good contest, Max Pro is selected to come out on top for Danny Kehoe.