The first round was something of a sorting out process with some dogs returning from their winter break and with the luxury of four qualifying from all heats. Now it moves to the serious stage and the chase for the twelve available places in the semi-finals.
The focus of attention will obviously be on Derby winner Razldazl George as he bids to step up from his lacklustre run on Saturday last. He looked rusty on that occasion but the dust will be well wiped off him by this Saturday and he will need to be on his toes to survive a potentially dangerous draw in Heat 2 where he is drawn immediately outside Rockview Head and may find himself deprived of a clean run to the bend. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Martinstown Snow stepped up on his return effort to snatch this heat.
All four heats are very tricky affairs but the clash of Piercestown Sand, Broadstrand Lad and Pablo Supreme in Heat 3 could be the night’s highlight.
There will be three major events at Shelbourne in the near future. The 36 bitch €7,000 Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks which commence on Thursday, April 12th while the 36 dog €25,000 Betfair Open 600 will start on Saturday, April 21st. Then there is the €10,000 Larry Dunne Open 525 with a starting date of April 28th.
With the sprinters now moving on from their thrilling exertions in the Kudos Supersprint, the focus at Curraheen Park now turns to the female trackers and on Saturday the first round heats of the McCarthy Insurance Group Cork Oaks will be run.
There is quality in depth in pursuit of the big prize but I have a strong fancy for the Paul Hennessy trained bitches Priceless Spark and Shes A Tornado. Priceless is one of the fastest bitches in training while Shes A Tornado recently won an Open 525 Stake at Shelbourne against the dogs.
Others entitled to the height of respect are the likes of Toberadora Holly, Lass Cause, Cougar Ping, Crossfield Tina, Ballymac Cait and Smoke Pixie.
There should be a big turn-out next Thursday from Ballinhassig when he local GAA Club stages a sponsored meeting and entries are invited for the following races (Bg): Open 525, A1 525, A2 575, A4 575 and A3 550.
Then on Friday the 12 dog Coursing Bred 330 will commence. Also commencing next weekend will be the five 12-dog stakes celebrating the opening of the Greyhound & Petworld Shop. These are €650 A3 575 (Bg), €650 A3 525 (No Bg), €500 A5 525 (No Bg), €500 A5 550 (Bg) and €600 A4 525 (Bg). There will be a one-off €250 A4 Novice 750 on Thursday, April 12th while on Saturday, April 13th there will be a 12 dog €600 D2 750 and a one-off €250 Novice 750.
New ground will, of course, be broken at Curraheen Park next week with racing on Good Friday evening. It will be a ten race card and gates will open at 6.30 pm with all bars and catering facilities in operation. Indeed, there are a few very attractive Restaurant offers and early booking is advised. Racing will also take place on the day at Harold’s Cross, Galway and Limerick tracks.
Classic action will be taking place at a few venues next week with the Red Mills Produce Stakes joining the College Causeway/ Killahan Phanter Easter Cup. The Produce Stakes will close to entries on Tuesday and will be for 96 greyhounds whelped in 2010 with an entry fee of €60 and a total prize fund of over €40,000 of which the winner will receive €20,000. Runner-up will collect €8,010, the third €4,010 and the unplaced finalists a handsome €2,060 each.
Also coming up on Thursday, April 12th is the €2,000 Droopys Stud & TSC N1/2 Unraced and then on April 19th the €700 Country Pork Coursing S2 Sprint.
At Kilcohan Park the 24 dog €700 Doctor Morrissey Coursing Bred S5 325 will commence on Friday, April 13th and a night later it will be the turn of the €1,200 Nobooth For Gary @ Stud N1/2 Unraced 525 Bitch Stake. The winner of this will also receive a Free Service to Nobooth For Gary. Then commencing on Friday, April 20th will be the 24 dog €1,000 Suirview Kennels N2/3 Unraced 525.
With the Juvenile Classic now over until next year the attention at Tralee switches to that great annual feature, the Lee Strand A3 550 which is due to commence on Tuesday, April 17th. It will be for 96 dogs and will have a winner’s prize of €10,000 if the stake fills.
Tomorrow’s card at the Kingdom Stadium will include the finals of the Betdaq Open 570 and the Kingdom Stadium A4 Novice 750 as well as three semi-finals of the Kingdom Pony Club A5 Buster Sweep. Saturday’s meeting will be a benefit for Living Links/Mental Health with races over a number of grades. There will be loads of spot prizes and a best dressed lady competition sponsored by Hannons of Castleisland.