The moving of the Laurels to the early part of the year caused much consternation when the decision was made in early 2015, and its current residence will re main under scrutiny for as long as it remains a pre-summer date.
As well as the impact on the quality of the Classic itself, the move left a void in the calendar at Curraheen Park, which now has virtually all of its significant competitions done and dusted before June is out.
However, regarding that gaping hole, there was good news this week, with the announcement that an open bitch stake, with a winner’s prize of €4,500 from a total fund of €10,000, will take place at the track in September/October.
With this first renewal, management are looking for 24 entries, with first-round heats to take place on Friday, September 18, and the final on Saturday, October 3.
While no-one is suggesting it’s anything like a substitute for the Laurels — opposition to the current Laurels date is likely to remain strong — it’s a good move, and even more positive is the fact the Cork Greyhound Owners and Breeders’ Association has confirmed they will sponsor all of the supporting races on final night — a programme which will include the finals of no fewer than five sweepstake finals.
The GOBA was understandably vocal in its objection to the movement of the Laurels dates, and so it is great to see the association rowing in behind this new competition, to host a gala night on October 3. This is a good case of making the best of a not-entirely-satisfactory situation. Well done to all involved.
Said Curraheen’s sales, operations and commercial manager Frank O’Meara: “We are delighted to announce this new stake, and will be revealing the sponsor in due course. We wanted to ensure everyone marked the date in their racing plans for the coming months.”
Long before that, however, the Greyhound and Pet World night will take place, and the wheels are already very much in motion for that, with the second round of the A1 525, worth €5,000 to the winner, taking place on Saturday night, along with the first round heats of the Odds On Dog Food A3 Tri-Distance.
Tomorrow night’s card also includes the four first-round heats of the Connolly’s Red Mills A4 525, the final of which will take place, along with those previously mentioned, on Saturday, August 29. All races on the card will be sponsored.
At Youghal track, where there are still opportunities to take advantage of the free entry to the track, courtesy of the track supporters’ club. The first round of the Bob Daly Memorial takes centre stage on tomorrow night’s card, while the Irish Examiner A3 gets underway with three heats on Monday night.
It was great to see former Laurels champ Knockglass Billy get his first winners on the board recently, and he did so by recording a double at Youghal — the track where his own racing career began.
April ’14 bitch pup Knockglass Joy, who is out of that very smart tracker Forrachmore, made a winning start to her career on July 31. Later on the same card, March ’14 bitch Knockglass Lilly, who is out of the lightly raced but top-class Trixies Post, was tremendously impressive in racing to a wide-margin, 29.55 victory. Both are owned and trained by Knockglass Billy’s owner, Martin Murphy, and, I’m assured, there are some very smart sorts to emerge from these litters.
With the Boylesports.com Irish Greyhound Derby getting into full swing this evening, with 12 heats, a number of tracks which would not otherwise be open, are opening their doors to show the racing to their patrons.
Tralee is among those tracks, and manager Declan Dowling confirmed there will be full bar and Tote facilities available. The first heat from Shelbourne takes place at 7.43pm. Waterford, Kilkenny, Thurles and Drumbo Park are also opening their doors tonight, while Kilkenny will also do so on Saturday night.
Derby sponsors Boylesports are offering money back as a free bet if your dog is eliminated in the first, second or third round of the competition. This applies to all Derby bets placed with Boyles, through all channels, since 9am on Monday July 27, but punters should not that it applies to singles only, to a maximum bet of 100, and the free bet expires after seven days. If you want to have that safety net, you’ll have to be quick, and place your bets before tonight’s first heat.
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