Resurgent Big Mike can land Easter Cup

No greyhound competition in this country can boast a record quite like the Easter Cup. It was the first event ever run at Shelbourne Park and it was set up to commemorate the Easter Rising in Dublin.

The first running took place in 1928 and was won by Odd Blade, which went on to win the event a second time. On the second occasion he led home the one and only Mick The Miller and over the years many of the legends of the track have contested the stake.

The event has been sponsored for the last few years by the McKenna Family from Lixnaw, who won the 2009 renewal with Droopys Noel. Known now as the College Causeway/ Killahan Phanter Easter Cup, it has maintained its glorious tradition and remains one of the highlights of the greyhound year.

Tonight’s final can bear comparison with any that has gone before and the glowing star has been remarkable veteran tracker Tyrur Big Mike, now just days short of his fourth birthday.

Big Mike’s recent form has been reminiscent of the dog we knew back in 2010 when he was beaten by his litter brother Tyrur McGuigan in the final of the Derby. There are few greyhounds capable of matching him for sheer pace and, despite a none too favourable trap one draw, he is likely to scoot clear to the bend tonight.

But he has a most frustrating habit of drifting very wide, particularly when wearing red, and with it giving away his superiority.

Tonight that first bend will be more crucial than ever, due mainly to the presence of reigning Derby champ Razldazl George in trap two. He won’t match Big Mike to the bend but he would be a massive threat if poised on his hindquarters out of the second bend.

Trainer Dolores Ruth had a 1-2 in 2011 and will be going for the 1-2-3 this time, with Kingo and Razldazl Will also in the line-up. Don’t scoff at the suggestion.

Conor and PJ Fahy have a strong second string in Tyrur Willyjoe and he should be close to second place heading into the back, while Owen McKenna is responsible for another sprightly veteran, Pablo Supreme. Despite the doubts generated by Big Mike’s style of racing, he gets the vote to win from Razldazl George and Tyrur Willyjoe.

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