There is plenty for those love greyhound sport to get excited about this weekend with top class racing at a number of tracks including Shelbourne Park, Curraheen Park, Newbridge and Tralee.
As regards a guide to the future, the action at Newbridge and Tralee are of particular interest with the next generation of superstars likely to set pules racing. The early rounds of the Juvenile Classic at Tralee have only highlighted how many brilliant youngsters are around at present.
We are now down to the final twelve in the showpiece and the opening semi-final will be worth the price of admission on its own.
Ryhope Beach has taken most of the headlines after two stunning 28.12 returns but he will be severely tested with brilliant second round winner Tereza Mendoza drawn on his inner, while the exciting Ballymac Walt is drawn on his outer.
Throw in the eye-catching Ower Mystery, Dromana Boy and Music Glideaway and it’s a contest of real quality. Ryhope Beach does look the finished article already, however. Blessed with trapping ability, huge early speed and the pace and power to see out the 525yd trip and beyond, he is a rare prospect with the world at his paws.
The Michael O’Donovan trained son of Droopys Sydney can again dictate from the early yards to see off Terezas Mendoza and Ballymac Walt.
The second heat doesn’t seem as hot but that could change with hindsight with each of the six showing plenty of promise in their short careers. Of the six, Good Zeus and Ballymac Marino have gone fastest with the former winning his opening round assignment in 28.27, while the latter was mighty impressive when scoring in 28.32 last weekend.
Ballymac Marino drew right away in the closing stages to emerge a facile five and a half-length scorer and if he continues to improve he could emerge as the one to beat. Good Zeus is a huge danger but needs to come away racing from trap five. Of the remainder, the unbeaten De Lahdedah is clearly the biggest threat to the aforementioned duo.
Newbridge’s action features the opening round of the Brownstown Tango & NTSC Open Unraced Bitch 525. The valuable stake has seen a number of superstars emerge in recent years including subsequent Derby champion Susie Sapphire, Droopys Curio, Unlock Unlock, while last year’s stake was won by Slick Sakina who went on to capture the English Oaks.
There seems no doubt a few more stars will emerge in this year’s renewal with the stake packed with well-bred ladies hailing from some of the top kennels in the land.
With the Easter Cup on the horizon at Shelbourne Park, many of Ireland’s fastest will continue their preparations for the classic tomorrow evening. These include two of the nominations for 2022 Dog of the Year, Swords Rex and Romeo Magico.
Swords Rex was a brilliant winner of the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial last April before reaching the finals of two more classics, the Produce Stakes and Laurels. He also posted a fastest of the year 27.79 at Shelbourne Park on Derby final night.
He makes his long-awaited return to action in the penultimate race and will be expected to have a big say. That said, there is no room for error with the hugely talented Another Holiday, Part Blake and the Oaks champion Raha Mofo in opposition.
Racing ends with a superb contest featuring the English Derby champion Romeo Magico. Much like his kennel companion Swords Rex, he faces some notable rivals including Barefoot Supremo, beaten Derby favourite Callaway Pro Am and Bockos Budsit.
Meanwhile, the feature of the Curraheen Park action is the final of the Time Greyhound Nutrition Cork Cup. This should be a very competitive affair with each of the six finalists capable of making a bold bid.
Russmur Pat boasts the best form and seems to be returning to his best and that earns him the nod ahead of Shonas Marshall and Galloping Tulip.