Those on these shores who love their greyhound sport are facing into one of the busiest Saturday’s of the year with top grade racing action at Cork, Mullingar and Shelbourne Park. On top of the racing at home, the Irish are also in the middle of a full-on assault on the English Derby at Nottingham.
Incredibly, the Irish took six of the eight second round heats and a third of the remaining twenty-four greyhounds represent the emerald isle. It’s also pretty telling that seven of the top eight in the outright betting are Irish.
With such domination in the market, it’s no surprise to see the Irish with strong fancies in each of the four quarter finals. Pat Buckley seems certain to win the final heat as his three runners line out in the contest.
Deerjet Sydney, Knocknaboul Syd and Glengar Bale are all in a lofty position in the outright betting and it’s unfortunate they have been drawn together. It is conceivable that all three will qualify, however, perhaps at the expense of Irish Derby finalist Kilara Icon.
The Irish pair of Wolfe and Coolavanny Chick are the big two in the opening heat. The latter is favourite after two foot-perfect displays in the early rounds but Wolfe may have too much ammunition for his rival despite a tough draw in five.
2019 Irish Derby champion Lenson Bocko is the sole Irish runner in Heat 2 and faces the UK’s best chance for outright glory Southwood Jet. The betting suggests that the latter is going to be hard to stop but it might be too soon to give up on Lenson Bocko. Were he to repeat anything like his best, the Graham Holland trained star would take some stopping.
Ballydoyle Valor and Swanley Chick complete the Irish team and both have strong claims in Heat 3, although the first named has the best of the draw on the fence. If he can hold his position into the turn, he will likely to prove too strong.
Given the strength of the Irish challenge it is realistic that at least half of the twelve semi-finalists could be representing the raiding party.
On this side of the pond, the feature action is the final of the Juvenile Derby at Shelbourne Park and it really promises to be a fitting finale to what has been a tremendous competition. Knight Tornado posted a sensational 27.88 in the semi finals and has been installed the market leader as a result.
He was allowed to dictate on that occasion which is far from certain on Saturday with the likes of Ballymac Gaybo and Skywalker Barry expected to go up fast.
Newinn Sheedy is another that can go up strongly although he faces a tough draw in four. As you would expect in a €20,000 decider, much will depend on which greyhound gets first run.
At Cork, the Laurels continues with two intriguing semi-finals. The second heat is particularly hot with the big two in the outright betting, Brodys Magic and Grangeview Ten, set to go head to head. Brodys Magic is better housed on the fence and that could make the difference.
The top-class action doesn’t end there. There is also a wonderful card on offer at Mullingar with the semi-finals of the Cesarewitch expected to provide more fireworks. The undoubted star last weekend was Ripley lad, as he posted a track record for the 600yd trip.
His reward is a mouth-watering clash with Derby runner-up Meenagh Miracle. The latter has impressed in both rounds to date and looks a huge threat, while Amazing Alice is another with huge claims in red.