Sparks set to fly early in Derby

THE race for glory will commence tomorrow evening at Shelbourne Park with 150 greyhounds in pursuit of the €120,000 Irish Derby.

It’s an entry full of quality and the draw has thrown up some vintage clashes in the opening round.

The big talking point after the draw was made by Ladbrokes’ representative Sean Lynch concerned the very hot opening heat which features the reigning Champion Stakes winner Uncle Eoin and his predecessor Makeshift as well as the Nicky Savva trained Droopys Greg. You can also throw the very promising young trackers Fleetwood Root and Oran Forever into the mix as well as that wily old campaigner De Ex Factor.

Most relieved man after the draw was PJ Fahy who has no fewer than 18 runners and had hoped that his big two of Tyrur McGuigan and Tyrur Big Mike would be drawn to run on Saturday’s final session. Both picked up minor muscle injuries in their trial spins last Thursday and PJ said: “That is certainly good news. They are improving by the day and I would worry more about Big Mike but he should be okay by Saturday. He will need to be on his toes in that heat”.

Fahy was referring to Heat 25, the last of the first round, where Tyrur Big Mike will be faced by dual Derby finalist Barefoot Bullet and Oaks runner-up Mozzletoff.

Reigning champion Tyrur McGuigan will begin his defence in 23 where fast starting Barefoot Admiral and big finishing Express Trend would probably be rated the main dangers.

Sponsors Ladbrokes reacted to the draw by sticking with their rather conservative 10-1 price about Razldazl Jayfkay after Dolores Ruth’s flying machine landed a handy looking draw in Heat 9 on Thursday night. If Jayfkay gets away to a reasonable start he should coast into the next round.

Sharing second favouritism at 14-1with Big Mike is Graham Holland’s Meadow Bank Owl which was so impressive in winning the Champion Plate last Saturday week. Meadow Bank will figure in Heat 4 tomorrow where he will have Seamus Cahill’s Droopys Oscar among his rivals as well as Des Kiely’s Shaneboy Fantasy which was fastest of all the trials with a sensational 28.25 clock.

Paul Hennessy has fourteen entries and his runners will clash in four separate contests. Dolores Ruth has six representatives and she will have strong back-up to Razldazl Jayfkay, Razldazl George and Makeshift with Kingo, Razldazl Bugatti and the Corn Cuchulainn winner Fleeting Image.

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