Favourite Laughil to swerve Wimbledon
Following months of speculation it has been confirmed that Laughil Blake, the hugely impressive winner of last year's Boylesports.com Irish Derby, will not be challenging for the William Hill English Derby at Wimbledon.
Laughil Blake had been a clear favourite in all the bookmakers' lists on the English Derby - the sponsors had him as their 14/1 market leader as late as yesterday afternoon.
But trainer Michael O'Donovan has announced that it has been decided to keep the dog at home and he will be doing his running instead at Shelbourne Park.
He will be aimed at the leading events there, the Hamilton Architects Champion Stakes and the Boylesports.com Irish Derby.
There must have been a huge temptation to go for the hugely valuable event, which carries a winner's prize of £250,000, but owners Mary and Paul Jennings have resisted the temptation and it is a beneficial decision for the Irish greyhound industry.
Laughil Blake followed up his Derby success by winning the BIF Night of Stars 550 in storming fashion but he was injured when contesting the second round of the Dandelion Bar & Nightclub Easter Cup.
After a month on the sideline, Laughil, had a trial over the sprint distance on Saturday at Shelbourne and moved sweetly when clocking 18.71, despite drifting wide between bends.
Speculating on the dog's campaign, O'Donovan said: "He will have another trial around Shelbourne and we will give him a race or two to have him just right for the Champion Stakes and the Derby."
The search begins for a new favourite for the English Derby, and the likely choice is Droopys Nidge, which recently joined Matt Dartnall from Robert Gleeson.
The final of the Gain Feeds Irish Cesarewitch will take place at Mullingar on Sunday, and the Pat Buckley-trained Paradise Maverik is an 8/11 favourite following his sensational performance in Saturday's semi-final.
Droopys Bomber is next at 7/2, followed by 9/2 Native Hut, 8 Coolronan Bigmac, 10 Springwell Watsy and 20 Springwell Katie.
It will be a family day at the Mullingar track with gates opening at 2.30when there will be loads of kids' activities.
The first race will go off at 4.0, and Samantha Flynn is looking for entries for Open races over 400, 600 810 and Open Hurdle.
At Shelbourne tonight the A5 final promises to be a most interesting race, with Robert Gleeson's Samiya (8.45) drawn to perfection in trap one. She created a big impression last week and can lead home her litter sister Urban Gossip and Jackies Flyer.