KASKO NATIONAL PRODUCE STAKES ACTION CONTINUES AT CLONMEL

Peter Farrell

The opening round of the Kasko National Produce Stakes produced several outstanding performances at Clonmel last Friday night and the action continues later tonight with the field now halved to twenty-four runners.

There wasn’t too much to separate the eight heat winners last time out, however, Graham Holland took an early stranglehold of the €20,000 to the winner Classic with the Golden trainer sending out no fewer than three heat winners. Of his team, Silverhill Ben went quickest when posting a rapid 28.46 and he is penned in to run in the opening quarter final tonight.

Indeed, the curtain raiser in the second round is a tough one to call with several runners expected to go close based on opening round displays. Silverhill Ben does have the advantage of a plumb draw on the fence, however. Owned by Eugene Buckley, the son of Ballymac Bolger and Silverhill Joyce stayed on strongly to come from off-the-pace last time out, however, there is every possibility that he could take control early doors this time around. With just three starts under his belt, the strapping black looks a brilliant prospect and don’t be surprised if he improves considerably later tonight. Of his rivals, the likes of Unanimouspanther and Ardera Sam look the main dangers. The former was a finalist in the Lee Strand at Tralee and this massive tracker franked his ability with a fine display in the opener when clocking a fast 28.52. Ardera Sam, meanwhile, was equally impressive. A kennel companion of Silverhill Ben, the son of Head Bound made every post a winner on route to a 28.64 success and his sectional (2.85) suggests he will be disputing early on. Should this be the case, he will prove a very tough nut to crack. Of the remainder, Hot Wood has shown massive ability in the past, most notably at Galway, and can make the frame for Gerry Holian.

RED-HOT THIRD QUARTER

The standout quarter-final on the night is the third contest, which will see the likes of Green Brigade, Romeo Kingpin and In Good Time all lock horns.

In Good Time, trained by Brendan Maunsell, has developed into a phenomenal tracker and he built on his record-breaking display around Tralee with a solid 28.46 first round performance. The son of Droopys Sydney pinged the lids on that occasion from five, however, he will need something similar from a trap six, which is a draw his connections won’t be too disheartened by. Green Brigade was one of the ‘talking dogs’ coming into the Produce Stakes after his stunning 28.34 performance a few weeks earlier and he delivered in style when posting the fastest of the opening round, 28.42. The Paul Hennessy-trained blue looks right from the top drawer and although he faces his toughest assignment to date, will be expected to make the frame regardless. Romeo Kingpin is another leading player. The Kirby finalist got his Classic campaign off to a flier last time out when posting 28.71 and make no mistake, he can go considerably quicker. The son of Superman can go up much faster than his 2.91 split seven days’ ago, however, he will need to sharpen up given a tricky draw in three. Of the others, Scooby Countess was a runaway winner last time out but is also facing a horrible draw, while Beaming Panther and Clipper are still on an upward curve and cannot be discounted.

COMET TO SOAR

Clona Comet was one of the main eye-catchers in defeat in the opening round and he gets the vote to come out on top in the second quarter final.

Trained by Graham Holland for Kevin O’Brien, Clona Comet led for the majority of the contest until reeled in Green Brigade on that occasion, however, he displayed awesome early speed and that stands out in a heat that isn’t packed with this particular attribute. Posting a rapid 2.79, the son of Newinn Session is brilliantly drawn in red this time around and a similar start could see him build an unassailable lead. Scooby Pacemaker is also likely to attract support for Jennifer O’Donnell. A recent Kirby finalist, the son of Droopys Sydney hasn’t reproduced the type of form he was displaying at Limerick; however, the talent is certainly there and he ran a fine race in defeat last time out to suggest he could be returning to form at exactly the right time. Another who is likely to close is Romeo Falco in six. Also hailing from the Holland kennel, the son of Newinn Taylor recovered well last time out to come through for second and it is likely that he will trap sharper now he has had a look around his Suirside surroundings. Of the others, Only Live Once wasn’t disgraced in behind Ardera Sam last time out and looks the most likely outside of the main players to make the frame.

TAYLOR CAN BOUNCE BACK

In the last of the quarter finals, Romeo Taylor is likely to get back to winning ways after a brilliant performance last time out.

On that occasion, Romeo Taylor may not have raced to victory, however, his pace down the back straight was breath-taking and given he has been sprinting for the past number of weeks, he did extremely well to secure third place. The son of Newinn Taylor will no doubt come on for that outing and he looks a safe bet from trap three in his bid to bounce back to winning ways. Of his rivals, kennel companions Bockos Wazza and Silverhill Adam look the most likely to challenge. The former ran a blinder as he finished at a rate of knots to secure second last time out, while ‘Adam’ also recovered well from several bits and pieces of trouble. The latter in particular is very well-drawn in one and can have a say if trapping on terms. Of the others, the Adam Dunford-trained duo of Fantasy Alex and Brunswick Bullet both have no forlorn hope of making the semi final frame.

Owners and trainers please be reminded of the weigh-in and race times for tonight -

FIRST RACE: 6.04PM

WEIGH IN: 4.50PM to 5.30PM