MICHAEL FORTUNE: Chunfie out of Laurels with wrist injury

The high quality of racing in the opening round will have whet the appetites of southern greyhound followers and we can anticipate a massive attendance at Curraheen Park on Saturday for the second round of the Cashmans Bookmakers Irish Laurels.

Unfortunately there will only be five runners in Heat 5 following the withdrawal yesterday of Colm Dervan’s Chunfie. It would appear that the Loughrea dog has a wrist problem following his first round effort when he beat Skip One easily in 28.68. His absence should make things easier for likely winner Chicken Supper.

Fastest first round winner Cabra Minstral isn’t the best housed in Heat 6 where he seemingly carries a wide tag as a result of some confusion. However if he can keep performing as he did last week then he would take the world of beating. But this is a tough test with Oran Classic in the red jacket sure to be up front all the way.

The opening heat could be a real cracker with last year’s runner-up Slip The Lark ideally housed in six but with a quintet of classy trackers in opposition. 2008 Scottish Derby hero Tyrur Kieran could run a big race in the red. The 2009 Scottish champion Cabra Cool runs in Heat 3 and he is nominated to lead home Faypoint Dec in what should be another mighty interesting contest.

Cashmans have installed former UK racer Boherna Best as their 6-1 favourite but he hardly merits such a short price. He did nothing wrong last week but only beat Lassa Extreme by half a length. Don’t be surprised if well drawn Baby Daddy Cool runs a big race in Heat 4.

Looking through the Cashmans list there are a few that appeal at fair prices. Cabra Cool looks very big at 33-1, while 16-1 about Kiowa Myth is also tempting, though he would prefer further.

The Cashmans Laurels Purse, for greyhounds knocked out in the first two rounds of the classic, will carry a prize of €1,000 and the entries close on Monday with the heats to be run on Saturday week.

Entries are invited for three one-off races to be run next week: D3 750, Open 750 and A1 525. There is also a 12 dog A5 525 which closes tomorrow.

There is a full catalogue for next Tuesday’s Sales at Curraheen Park while entries are being accepted for the final sale of the year on Tuesday, November 10th.

Laurels winners and runners-up have a good record in the Red Mills Masters at Waterford and this year’s event at Kilcohan Park will have a prize fund of €34,200. As has become tradition, there will be a 12 dog Local Qualifier over the 550 yards distance and with a winner’s prize of €1,000. Each of the runners must have had at least two races at Waterford and the heats of the Qualifier will be run on Saturday, October 17th with the final a week later.

The winner of the two-run Qualifier will then take his/ her place in the semi-finals of the Masters. The Masters final will be on Saturday, November 14th.

These have been a busy few months at Youghal and local patrons have one of their nights of the year tomorrow with the final of the Catunda Harry Champion Stakes carrying a winner’s prize of €11,500. This year’s event really sprung to life last weekend when Larry O’Shea’s Whatsupjack set a new 29.91 track record in the semi-final.

The Peter Cronin trained record holder has been unfortunate enough to draw a trap six draw for the final and that is far from an ideal in a race boasting six inside seeds. Last week Whatsupjack only got up late to beat Carib King by half a length and the revised traps could see the Graham Holland trained Carib King reverse placings.

Carib goes from three and will need to clear Ann Wade’s Rapid Express quickly to claim his favoured inside position. Dalcash Statement also comes into this race with a massive chance while Mustang Mission and Decent Prospect will both carry support. However Carib King gets the vote to lead home Whatsupjack.

Tomorrow’s Youghal programme also includes the semi-finals of the Shanagarry A2 Stake and the first round heats of the Central Kennels Racegoers A5 Stake.

There will be no lessening of tempo after the Champion Stakes. Commencing on Friday, October 9th will be the Tony Brennan Memorial Open Unraced Stake and the Southern Sprint. Both events will be run as 24 dog features and full details will be released next week.

There is also high class racing at both Dublin venues this weekend. Pride of place goes to Harold’s Cross where the third round of the Track Bookmakers Puppy Derby promises to produce some fantastic racing with the opening heat the real cracker. Favourite will be fastest first round winner Westmead Grant but he has the brilliant young puppy Tullymurry Act and former UK racer Romeo Reason, classy female Mays Castle as well as flying finisher De Ex Factor to overcome.

The first named pair are well fancied to go all the way in this puppy classic and the same can be said of Grant’s litter brother Westmead Bond who goes into action in the last of the four heats. He, too, has drawn quite a race with Cornamaddy Swift, Deanridge Rage and the huge finishing Movealong Tony among the opposition.

The standard of the young racers is very impressive and some of these are going to be major players next year. Some of this year’s stars will be in action at Shelbourne on Saturday where the card includes the second round of the Tote Open 575 and the semi-finals of the Open 525.

The sprinters have a big prize on offer at Mullingar on Saturday with the Fair Warrior Sprint final carrying a pot of €8,200. Solitary wide seed Kinash Crash has a good draw but will need to make a flying start if he is to lead Growling Billy and Tearaway John to the bend. That early dash will be vital to the outcome of this race.

It promises to be quite a weekend at the Kingdom Stadium. Tomorrow there will be the final of the Nolan’s VTN Test Centre N2 Stake as well as the semi-finals of the Wine Buff A2 570 and then on Saturday there will be the Kasco sponsored card with eleven finals, including opens contests over 550, 570 and 750 and Hurdle.


Louisa Earls is a manager at Books Upstairs, D’Olier St, Dublin, which is owned by her father, Maurice Earls.Virus response writes a new chapter for Books Upstairs

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