The next greyhound racing action of any real consequence will come on Monday evening at Dundalk with the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup coming to a conclusion. Ireland’s sole two-bend classic has produced some exceptional racing over recent weeks and it should serve as the perfect appetiser for the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby action which gets underway on Friday next.
The reason for such a quiet weekend is the warm weather. There was virtually no racing on Irish shores on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and now Saturday. Obviously, the decision to postpone racing was made with the welfare of the greyhounds of prime concern.
For those wishing to get a final prep run ahead of a Derby challenge, it’s not an ideal situation but given the heat, it was a decision that had to be made. To make up for the loss of racing, Shelbourne Park will host a trial session on Saturday morning for those with Derby entries.
As we speak, there is 136 names in the Derby hat with a couple of top kennels still to enter up their team. That means the final number will be closer to 150. The opening round draw will be on Monday morning and can be viewed live on Facebook from 11am. Given the incredible quality around at present, it should be one of the best renewals in many years.
Soon after the Monday’s Derby draw, attention will switch to that evening’s action at Dundalk. This year’s Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup has seen some incredible performances from Ireland’s very sharpest performers. Chief amongst them is Serene Ace, who will bid to continue his unbeaten march through the classic in Monday decider.
A slight odd-on chance with the sponsors, the Michael O’Donovan trained star is without question the one to beat. Drawn in two, the son of Scolari Me Daddy will seek to make another flying start. If doing so, he would be very hard to stop.
Of his rivals, Flashing Willow stands out as the clear danger and a worthy adversary. The Pat Buckley trained star has been brilliant all year but put in some very untypically flat-footed displays in the early rounds.
He returned to his stunning best last week, however, and must be now seen as a very obvious danger to Serene Ace. It is far from a two-dog affair despite their superiority in the semi-finals. The very nature of sprint racing means a missed start or an early bump can cost a greyhound his chance.
If the big two were to fluff their lines, the reminding finalists Runninta Shay, Hawkfield Ozark, Westside Frank and Manuone are all capable of a huge display.
It really is a fitting finale to what has been a tremendous competition. One suspects it will turn into a shootout between Serene Ace and Flashing Willow but stranger things have happened in the past.