Unlike the UK, there is no interruption to the Irish Greyhound calendar on Saturday with Guy Fawkes night not celebrated on these shores. It means we have a full schedule of racing this weekend and Racing Post Greyhound Television have taken advantage of the situation, choosing to show two Irish meetings on Saturday night.
The feature of the action will be the final of the 2022 Irish Laurels from Curraheen Park and it looks certain to provide a truly fitting conclusion to the classic. Not for the first time in recent years, the ‘Derby of the South’ has produced a final line-up of exceptional quality.
Each of the six finalists are stars in their own right. Good Cody and Swords Rex are already classic winners and both have exceptional claims. Serene Ace, the likely pace-setter, and the track record holder Droopys Edison are amongst the very fastest in training and will have plenty of support, while the presence of Ballymac Whispa and Galloping Sydney go to highlight the open nature of the contest.
The last-named duo will be the outsiders of the field despite both coming home in front in their respective semi-finals. Galloping Sydney displayed superb early speed to dominate throughout in a victory over Swords Rex and Good Cody, while Ballymac Whispa flew home to emerge a brilliant winner.
So why after such displays are they available at generous prices?
Galloping Sydney is drawn wider than ideal in five and needs to hit the ground running to get across to the fence. In truth, it’s very difficult to see the Graham Holland trained speedster getting across the to the fence with the likes of Serene Ace drawn on his inner.
Ballymac Whispa is certain to finish fast but may struggle to turn as close as she did last week. Instead, she could possibly find herself tight of room on the inside of the track as the majority of the field will be edging left.
So what greyhound is well housed? Much will depend on which of the remaining quartet can come away racing. Followers of both Good Cody and Serene Ace will be hoping they can go up fast and straight from traps two and three. If doing so, they could have a big say.
Droopys Edison has gone faster around Cork than any other greyhound in history after breaking the track record in the second round. He needs to be electric at boxes to avoid the rails-seeking Galloping Sydney and get across the aforementioned duo of Serene Ace and Good Cody.
That leaves Swords Rex. He may be an inside seed but a wide draw in the stripes could certainly suit. The Kirby Memorial champion is a sensational performer and could find himself with the room needed to get up to full speed into the bend. That could be the difference between victory and defeat. The Graham Holland trained star is chosen to lead home his rivals. Ballymac Whispa can come through the pack to grab second.
The action from Shelbourne Park is highlighted by the finals of both the Paddy Merriman Memorial A1 525 and the RPGTV Puppy Oaks. A select group of bitches will battle it out for the €5,000 purse in the Puppy Oaks, including three members of the same litter.
Unlock Unlock was a really top-class performer on the track and her first litter seemed to have inherited so many of her qualities. Her litter by Pestana have looked very exciting to date and to field half the line-up in a Puppy Oaks decider is some achievement.
It just so happens that one of the trio, Up The Style, is selected to come home in front. The unbeaten bitch has fine early speed and stays on strongly, a potent combination in a racing greyhound. She is chosen to lead throughout to see off Ballymac Run.
The Robert Gleeson trained Whyaye Man is the one to beat in the final of the Paddy Merriman Memorial. He posted a stunning 28.26 in the semi-finals and is nominated as the one to beat.
The action from Cork and Shelbourne Park can be viewed live on RPGTV, channel 437 on the sky platform or via the greyhoundbet.racingpost.com website.