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slade to rock out in oz

Irish sprinters have not been a dominant force for decades, or anything like it, but at the moment we really can match anything that anywhere in the world has to offer.

Slade Power will look to retire from racing in style tomorrow morning by proving, without any possible argument, that he is the best sprinter in the world at present and it might silence a few Australians who seem to be ignorant about what Ireland has to offer in terms of equine talent, or anything else for that matter.

A very strange article appeared in the Herald Sun on Wednesday looking back at the Emirates Melbourne Cup the previous day. Writer Matt Stewart was discussing the Cup field when he said that trainers "swarm from everywhere, from rich countries such as Japan to countries offering up not much more than potatoes, like Ireland, to win it."

Needless to say, it was a stupid remark that got the backs up of so many Irish living in Australia as well as those who followed the story online.

Stewart obviously managed to forget that Ireland offered up a winner of one of Australia's most prestigious races just a couple of weeks ago when Adelaide won the Cox Plate.

Tomorrow, Slade Power, Eddie Lynam and Wayne Lordan are on show.

Slade is one of the best sprinters in the world, Lynam one of the best trainers and Lordan a very under-rated jockey and not to mention the incredibly genuine and engaging Power family who own him.

performance

Hopefully the performance of the sprinter, who will jet back from Australia to stand at stud in Kildangan, will give Stewart something else to think about.

Of course, Ireland is renowned for our ability to produce some of the finest jumping horses around, year in, year out, and the splash of rain that has softened the ground in the last week or so has led to a spate of exciting entries as the majority of horses, who are going to star in our Grade One races over the next five months or so, begin to emerge.

Shaneshill could begin over hurdles at Naas tomorrow, while the chasing careers of Le Vent D'Antan, Valseur Lido and Gilgamboa could all get underway over the weekend.

I must be honest and say that while being in Australia to cover the Melbourne Cup and Slade Power's tilt at the Darley Classic is an incredible experience that I wouldn't swap, glancing down through the entries for the Clonmel Oil Chase next Thursday after they were revealed yesterday really whetted the appetite for things to come.

Sizing Europe can't go on forever but he showed no signs of stopping at Gowran Park on his seasonal debut and Thursday's potential clash with Champagne Fever and maybe even First Lieutenant is the sort of race that makes it a very short winter.

I can assure you, we have a lot more than spuds, Matt ... mate.

3see pages 12-13, 16


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