It’s been another wonderful year for Irish greyhound racing with so many memorable displays through the year. Of course, there are still quite a few to come with a very busy fortnight ahead of use but as far as the classics are concerned, the year comes to a conclusion on Saturday.
Following the decision to end hurdle racing in Ireland, in turn seeing the demise of the Grand National, the Matchbook Betting Exchange Irish St Leger will be the last classic action on offer in 2021 and the decider should attract a big crowd to Limerick.
It has been a really fascinating competition from the outset with a couple of the well-established names performing well to reach the €30,000 to the winner decider but the real headlines have gone to the two rapidly progressive youngsters Russian Glory and Part Blake.
The former has just turned two years of age and seems improve every time he goes to the track, while his kennel companion Part Blake has a bit more age but is also very inexperienced and developing at a rapid rate.
The Graham Holland trained duo dominate the market and it’s easy to see why. Both have wonderful early speed, the pace to match the best in training over 550yds and enough in their locker to see out the 550yd trip.
The fact that they are drawn the wrong away around could potentially be a problem, however. Russian Glory is likely to edge off the fence and if they were to bump, it could throw the race wide-open. Classic winners Deerjet Sydney and Priceless Jet will be poised to take advantage, while big finisher Allforthebest is another that could possibly benefit from any early crowding. Ballymac Merlin completes the field and has the pace to figure although that may depend on whether he can produce one of the fastest starts of his career.
It really is a wonderful contest and the opening yards will almost certainly decide the outcome of the famous event. Priceless Jet can go up well in the stripes and is very strong, having won the Corn Cuchulainn over six bends earlier in the year.
There is no way he should be the outsider of the field but that is the case with many firms. At double digit odds he represents the value alternative to the big two.
But all recent evidence would suggest that the winner will come from Part Blake or Russian Glory. Part Blake is potentially as fast as any other greyhound in training with his near record-breaking quarter final display evidence of the fact.
He is flanked by early speed, however, and could find himself the meat in the sandwich. Instead, Russian Glory is selected to get first run on his rivals. Unbeaten in the competition, the youngster of the field is likely to go up fast from the inside box and can make use of his draw to turn in front.
Those wishing to view the action can do so with Racing Post Greyhound Television featuring the entire Limerick card. The programme commences at 6pm with the final due of at 9.24pm. RPGTV can be found on channel 437 on the Sky platform.
Meanwhile, the final of the IGOBF National Puppy Stake is the feature at Shelbourne Park, which hosts a wonderful card. Twoinarow was likely to start a warm favourite but he was found to have picked up a small toe injury in the semis.
In his absence, Scooby prince is far from a token alternative. One of the most exciting young greyhounds in training despite his inexperience, the Jennifer O’Donnell trained star has everything in his favour. Drawn to perfection in trap three with a vacant box on his inner and a slow starter on the fence, he should have enough room to assert before the bend.
If he does hit the front, there’s scarcely a greyhound in training that would be fast enough to pick him up so it’s unlikely Slippy Hazel or Crafty Kokoro, who are nominated as the main dangers, are likely to do so.
The Shelbourne Park card is packed with quality racing and there will be plenty of clues on offer ahead of the Winter Racing Festival which is scheduled for next Friday and Saturday.