MICHAEL FORTUNE: Tyrur Big Mike fancied to provide Derby final magic

IT hardly seems like 363 days since that amazing night when College Causeway produced one of the greatest performances ever seen on a greyhound track, but here we are within two days of the 2010 Ladbrokes.com Irish Derby final and anticipation levels are extremely high.

It would be unfair to expect any greyhound to match the class, power and sheer electricity of College Causeway, but in this year’s classic the exploits of Tyrur Big Mike have been approaching those massive heights.

The big question is whether the favourite can overcome a tricky trap draw to become a legend of the track? Thankfully, there are no reports of any problems with any of the six runners and it promises to be a most interesting contest. The latest betting from the sponsors has Tyrur Big Mike at 4-5 with Tullymurry Act at 4-1. Then it is 11-2 Barefoot Bullet, 8 Tyrur McGuigan, Thurlesbeg Joker; 14 Krug Ninety Five.

This race could all come down to what happens on that fateful run to the first bend. The two early paced performers are the PJ Fahy owned and Conor Fahy trained litter brothers Tyrur Big Mike and Tyrur McGuigan and if they run to their established normal form then they will hit the opening bend virtually together. This is where the doubts come in as McGuigan, which is drawn in three, can move wide at this stage and could bump Big Mike which runs from four. If they bump then an invitation will be issued to all four rivals.

Pat Buckley’s Tullymurry Act could be in the ideal position to make best use of any trouble, while Barefoot Bullet on the outside could also get the run of the race. It is also far from beyond bounds that either Thurlesbeg Joker or Krug Ninety Five could benefit most and their big finishes would then become a major factor.

However, I am going to side with class, which normally wins out! The class is very much provided by the brilliant Tyrur Big Mike and his sheer consistency over Shelbourne’s 550 yards is quite incredible with a tally of 11 wins from 16 attempts.

Big Mike will be very happy in four and will steer a middle course on the opening bends. There is obviously a chance that McGuigan might not break as fast as he has been doing from trap three. One suspects that the Fahys are now asking themselves why they didn’t seed McGuigan wide at the start? If Big Mike does his normal running and clears the bend then he should win this final. Tullymurry Act and Barefoot Bullet are the obvious threats from their draws but you cannot rule out any of these finalists.

The brilliant all-open 12 race card will commence at 7.30 pm and gates will open at 4.30. There will be musical entertainment right from the start of the evening and the TV screens will also be showing the sporting highlights of the evening. However, be warned, the car park is restricted to those with special Car Passes for the occasion and alternative parking is recommended.

A massive weekend for greyhound racing in Dublin will commence with tomorrow’s high-class 12 race card at Harolds Cross which will include the 11 first round heats of the Track Bookmakers Puppy Derby. The stars of the future will be lining up for the commencement of a stake that was won last year by Tullymurry Act.

Next week the attention will turn to the Hennerty Sales Irish Laurels which will commence at Curraheen Park on the Friday night. Entries will close at 12 noon on Monday and the draw will be made on Tuesday at 12.30 pm.

As is the normal case, entries have been slow to come in and yesterday afternoon there were just 25 in the book. No doubt they will come steaming in over the weekend and hopefully the required 96 will be achieved by the deadline. There will be Laurels trial sessions tomorrow between 5 and 6 pm and again on Saturday between 5 and 6 pm.

By the way, if you are having a problem getting tickets for the All-Ireland football final between Cork and Down on Sunday week then Curraheen Park next Thursday could provide the solution. Everybody who enters Curraheen on that night will receive an entry form for a special draw for a great All-Ireland Weekend prize. It will include one night’s B&B in the Grand Canal Hotel close by Shelbourne Park on the Saturday with entrance tickets and dinner at Shelbourne that night. Then there will also be two tickets for the All-Ireland final the following day at Croke Park.

There are two big provincial meetings this evening with the semi-finals of the Reggie & Phil Turner Memorial Leger at Enniscorthy and the second round of the Agri Store Fair Warrior at Mullingar. Then tomorrow it will be the turn of the Bridie Langton’s Derby semi-finals at Kilkenny where the return clash between Moral Duty and Faypoint Man is much anticipated.

Apart from Shelbourne Park, the other big meeting on Saturday is at Kilcohan Park where the second round heats of the Droopys Stud Munster Oaks will be backed up by the finals of the Kyle Barrett Electrical Stake and the Tom Kearney Family Butchers Stake. In the latter event there will be huge interest in the Amy Moore trained Across The River.

It’s going to be mighty interesting to see how Sean Dunphy’s Droopys Helen performs in the Oaks over a trip way too short but she could keep qualifying, There are a few very interesting heats and the return clash between Freedom Seacrest and Cartiers Dazzle in Heat 3 is entitled to top billing.


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