Signs very ominous on funding front

We are now on the verge of the most important part in the Irish greyhound calendar.

The Champion Stakes final heading a superb card at Shelbourne and Saturday night will give the ideal introduction to the Irish Derby and then followed by the Hennerty Laurels at Curraheen.

Thankfully, Greyhound View will be there to package all the top action and to present it to the greater greyhound and sporting community. But it is also time to send a very loud shot of warning across the bows with time running out before the dreaded Budget is introduced.

It would appear that not too many people are taking the warnings on board but the signs are very ominous on the funding front with Minister McEntee having already warned that the Department of Agriculture faces a 22% across the board cut. If a cut of this level is passed on to greyhounds via a reduced funding then the situation will be extremely serious and track closures and greatly reduced prizemoney grants would be the outcome.

All greyhound followers should be making every effort to spread the gospel. Waste no opportunities to collar your public representatives and stress the situation which would ensue from any significant cut in an already decimated funding. What the Government doesn’t seem to realise is that a cut of the proportions mentioned would result in at least 1,000 people from the greyhound industry going on the dole and that would result in approximately €20 million cost to the exchequer through welfare claims, etc. The time for action is now and not in the aftermath of the Budget.

Now, back to the track scene and pride of place goes to the final of the Champion Stakes at Shelbourne on Saturday night. There is a very exciting line-up with Razldazl Jayfkay a deserving favourite. He is well drawn and is capable of leading all the way. He was hard pressed by Colorful Champ last week while John Linehan’s Broadstrand Lad can be expected to turn in a much faster run this time after making a slowish start last time.

For sheer value I cannot understand how Tyrur Domingo has been quoted as high as 10-1 in advance of the final. Believe me, this dog can fly and he is entitled to come on by leaps and bounds from last week’s first outing in two and a half months. Strong cases can also be made for Kingo and Uncle Eoin but I will remain with Jayfkay while Domingo is clearly the value.

Graham Holland’s Meadow Bank Owl has a perfect draw in the Champion Plate final, though he could have it tough to the bend with Tyrur Jeff on his outer. The supporting card is high class with a large number of Derby contenders in action.

By the way, the entries for the Irish Derby close tomorrow week and entry forms can be downloaded from The draw will be made on Bank Holiday Monday, August 1st with the first round commencing on August 3rd. By the way there will be special Derby Trial sessions on Thursday of next week from 4.30 pm and on Saturday week from 4.30 pm.

On the local front the Premier Fantasy/Supporters Club Southern Oaks will commence at Youghal on Monday night and entries close tomorrow at noon. Among the entries in the book are Monleek Chloe, Droopys Indi, Rising Pearl, Kranky Ma, Zarkava, Kiln Kylie, Newlawn Martina, Design Lady, Hop Our First, Ballymac Linda, Ballymac Mitsy and Ballymac Razl.

There are a few great nights of racing at Thurles this weekend. The final of the Kasko Open Novice will be run tonight with John O’Flynn’s Milldean Panther an unbackable favourite following his 28.39 and 28.70 runs. This fellow looks a machine but keep an out for Dash On Abbie’s big run from halfway which could see her complete the forecast.

Then on Saturday the semi-finals of the Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup will be run and here Peter Cronin’s Glideaway Ace looks the dog to beat. He goes in the second semi while the opening heat could go to Michael O’Donovan’s Big Appetite at the main expense of Colorful Marco.

The build up to the Galway Race Week is almost over and tonight the western track hosts the semi-finals of the valuable Flaherty Markets Corrib Plate where Owen McKenna’s Loughteen Comet and Ciara Burke’s Malbay Bawn look the likely winners. Then on Saturday the semi-finals of the Oran Majestic A4 will be run and here Elliott and Des Whyte’s Oran Forever and Dean Harpur’s Ballycowen Dave have emerged as the big two.

At Tralee tomorrow the second round of the Paddy Byrne Memorial will be the headliner and this looks like developing into a very close and exciting affair. The first round star was Star Crash with a blistering 28.26 run that was a clear career best effort for a dog approaching his fourth birthday. Can he repeat it in the opening heat? Other flying first round winners were Neilus O’Connell’s Cubic Depression in 28.29, Pat Davern’s Mohane Eile in 28.42 and Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Lomu in 28.58.

Last but far from being least, the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup second round will top the Dundalk card on Saturday with Spearhawk and Scarty Yes Man will be bidding to repeat their flying first round runs but I still reckon that Cracking Man could be the dog to beat in this 400 yard classic.

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

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