Ian Fortune

By the end of racing at Shelbourne Park this evening, someone will be €6,000 with the final of the A2 Dublin Cup the undoubted highlight of proceedings.

Given the money on offer, it’s no surprise to see the stake some tremendous action and tonight’s final really is an intriguing affair.

Walk On Gaffer was the star of proceedings in the semis, opening his account with a dominant front-running 28.59 success. He may need to repeat that form but is clearly entitled to plenty of respect and is seen as a leading player.

Foggy Bottom posted a rapid 28.69 in the quarter finals, showing fine early speed to leave his rivals standing. He again displayed fine early speed in his semi-final but failed to hold onto his advantage, eventually finishing third. Should he again get loose in the early yards, he too could make a bold bid.

Noirs Best stormed home to finish in front in his semi-final and is clearly going the right way. The manner in which he reeled in his rivals before going on to win by a length and a half in 28.88 hinted that he could go onto better things in the future.

If he I to follow up this evening, he may need to urn a little closer to the pace but that is entirely possible and the Ian Reilly trained son of Ballymac Best is another with obvious claims.

Costa Candy has the draw in her favour but will need to be razor-sharp in the early yards and must also produce a career best display. If failing to do so, she may struggle to land a telling blow. Daring Bowie races from five and is remarkably consistent but looks held by a few of his rivals on recent form. He too would need a flying exit to threaten.

That just leaves Highview Stage. A brilliant winner if his opening and second round assignments, he suffered a first career defeat last week, failing to find the room needed to get his frame up to full speed. Despite finding traffic at important times in the contest, h finished just a length and a half adrift.       

Expect the massive son of Ballymac Anton to put that form behind him. If repeating anything like his 28.51 return from the opening round, he could emerge as the one to beat.

Yes, Fogy Bottom looks a more likely pace-setter but, were Highview Stage to slip around behind him in second, he could prove very difficult to contain and is chosen to come through for Anthony Rooney and Owen Sweetman.


Earlier on the card the semi-finals of the Barking Buzz App A3 Bitch 525 could provide some good action with the eye drawn to the red jacketed runner in both heats.

Black Bridges is improving with each and every run and can follow up a 28.85 success by making all.

Laughil Jess went faster than Black Bridges last week and clearly has a big engine but a trap five draw is a major concern. She will need to negotiate a clear passage around the turn before picking up the likely pace-setter Black Bridges. That is no easy task, especially given the fact that Black Bridges is likely to improve even further.


Quivers Magic set the standard last week, posting a quick 28.67. AS reward for her efforts, she too has been handed an ideal draw on the fence in the second semi.

Most of her rivals are capable of dipping under 29 seconds but whether they can match Quivers Magic opening round clock is doubtful.

Expect the Adam Dunford trained lady to claim a third career success and don’t be surprised if she goes even faster than last week. Whatever happens, it will be a while before she runs in A3 company again once this stake ends.