Early Season Curtain-Raiser Setting The Standard For 2022

Early Season Curtain-Raiser Setting The Standard For 2022
By Ian Fortune
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Early speed is one of the most potent weapons a racing greyhound can possess. The dash to the opening bend so often decides the outcome of a race, be it in the lowest grade or in the very best of company. That is likely to again be the case at Shelbourne Park on Saturday and in the coming weeks in the RCETS Gold Cup.

The traditional early season curtain-raiser is run over the standard 525yd trip and the very sharpest greyhounds in training have targeted the competition. Last week’s opening round was proof of the fact with so many of the heat winners doing so from the front.

Bockos Budsit and Knight Tornado set the standard, dominating in their respective heats to clock clocking 28.36 and 28.39, while Droopys Good, Russmur Pat and Predator Scoby also displayed massive early speed to make every inch.

Of course, it was inevitable that a couple of the opening round scorers would clash in this weekend’s second round. The standout clash is in the final heat where Bockos Budsit will be severely tested by some really top-class trackers including classic winners Ballymac Kingdom and Good Cody.

The razor-sharp duo of Serene Ace and Predator Scoby join them while Bielsas Rebel, who ran a fine race in defeat last time, completes the field. It could be a perfect example of what we were talking about with the race to the opening bend being of prime importance.

Predator Scoby, Serene Ace, Good Cody and Bockos Budsit are all exceptionally fast in the early yards and whichever of the quartet enters the back straight in front will take some catching.

Only four runners will go to traps in the opening heat following the withdrawal of Slippy Hazel (sold) and Epic News, who picked up a small injury last week. In their absence, Zoom seems a certain pace-setter on the inside of the track but is vulnerable from the third turn. Instead, the nod goes to brilliant female Skywalker Angie.


She was only second last week but should be sharper for the run. If clearing Ballymac Art in the opening yards, her strength from the second bend can prove too much for Zoom.

Droopys Good and Knight Tornado could have a real battle to the bend in Heat 3. Both were so impressive last week with Knight Tornado going over three lengths faster. That could be due to the fact that Droopys Good tired in the closing stages of his victory.

The pair are joined by the hugely fast, but frustrating, Droopys Optimum. He can really fly down the back straight but needs to find a yard of early speed to really challenge the very best. Knight Tornado just gets the nod ahead of Droopys Good.


That leads us to Heat 3 where Droopys Sputnik is an absentee. Skywalker Barry was always gong to be a warm favourite and is a confident choice to better his rivals. Russmur Pat was a fine winner last week and looks the main threat but Skywalker Barry is drawn on the right side of that rival.

The focus switches to Clonmel on Sunday night with so many promising youngsters involved in the quarter finals of the Rural Kennels Unraced 525. So many of the final twenty four runners have a big future ahead of them but the likes of Silverhill Frankie, Postman Cat, Emers Spike, Droopys Nice One and Swords Rex are particularly exciting.

They can’t all win the valuable stake but expect to hear much more of them in the coming months. It’s worth pointing out that the winner of the competition in 2021 was Jackslittlething who went on to reach the Derby final. It is very possible that one of this year’s competitors could match that feat.


On the subject of last year’s Derby, Susie Sapphire, who was such a magnificent winner of the Oaks and Derby in 2021, is on the comeback trail. She hasn’t been seen since her Derby victory but trialed back at Shelbourne Park last weekend, posting a rapid 18.57 for the sprint trip.

It was a run that would put fear into her potential rivals in the upcoming Easter Cup. Given her youth and relative inexperience, it’s feasible she will be even better in 2022. Now that is a frightening thought


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