Not for the first time over the past few chaotic months, greyhound racing is facing into a great weekend of action. Tonight, the stars of the future will be flexing their muscles in the second round of the Rural Hawaii @ Stud Unraced at Clonmel while, a few miles down the road, the Greyhound & Petworld Juvenile Classic gets underway at Tralee.
Both competitions have been a stepping stone to future classic glory in the past. Already, a few from the Clonmel competition look destined to go onto great things, while it seems safe to assume a number of potential superstars will emerge at Tralee.
As it happens, a number of the stars that emerged from last year’s renewals will be in action at Shelbourne Park on Saturday as the 2021 easter Cup gets underway. Newinn Session actually won the Rural Hawaii Stake last year and is amongst the favourites to win the Easter Cup.
The oldest competition on the Irish calendar, it has been won by some legendary names over the past ninety years plus and it seems certain another will be added to the roll of honour in the coming weeks with this year’s competition jam-packed with star names.
There are eight heats in all and each and every of them offers up a mouth-watering clash. The opening heat should set the tone with Ballymac Wild taking on the likes of Native Maestro, Boylesportsbingo, Miss Joss and Rathcoole Fox.
It’s a wonderful way to kick off the competition and, after an incredible 2020, Ballymac Wild will be looking to get the year off to a flying start from a favourable draw on the fence. Native Maestro is of particular interest. He looked a bright prospect towards the back end of the year and could be a major contender for classic honours in the coming months.
The aforementioned Newinn Session was a nearly greyhound last year, displaying awesome pace and ability on so many occasions without winning a major competition. In theory, he should be a more rounded individual this term and, if finding more consistency, will be a serious challenger for all major honours.
He dips his toe in the water in Heat 2 and looks the most likely winner, although he can’t afford any mistakes with the likes of Amazing Champ, Priceless Jet, Blastoff Jet and his kennel companions Sweep The Yard and Kameko to contend with.
Despite her inexperience, sponsors Ladbrokes have introduced Ballymac Ariel as the favourite for outright honours. An exceptional talent with a massive future, she will be severely tested in Heat 7 where she must take on the reigning English Derby champion Deerjet Sydney. To further complicate proceedings, Deerjet Sydney is drawn on her immediate outside in trap two.
A noted fast starter that favours the fence, Deerjet Sydney could potentially give Ballymac Ariel a bump in the opening strides. If the pair were to clash, the likes of Magical Cormie, Newinn Sheedy and Deadly Destroyer could potentially capitalise.
Another clash to savour is that of classic winners Ballymac Kingdom and Epic Hero in Heat 6. Both have exceptional pace throughout and can go far in the competition if luck is on their side. They won’t have things all their own way, however. One of last years very best juveniles, Knight Tornado is a worthy adversary and can’t be overlooked despite a tricky draw in four.
Pat Buckley captured his only Easter Cup success over a dace ago with Droopys Noel but he has a select team which includes the aforementioned Deerjet Sydney. Two of his main fancies Glengar Bale and Knocknaboul Syd actually clash in Heat 5 where Graham Holland has three runners. If Glengar Bale puts his best foot forward he could well establish himself as one of the leading hopes for outright glory.
It really is a wonderful competition and, over the next four weeks, expect the best racing imaginable. The competition also received a boost with the news that Racing Post Greyhound Television which is available on the sky platform will be showing the final live on Saturday, March 13th.