Greyhounds - Cloda defies injuries in Derby challenge
When Kisses For Cloda broke a couple of bones in his hock in a trial at Wimbledon last year we never thought that 15 months later he would be a leading contender for the 2014 Boylesports.com Irish Derby.
However, the son of Ace Hi Rumble and Droopys Kee has been nursed back to full fitness by Daniel Butler and Ollie Bray but we could hardly have expected him to match the level of form which saw him contest the inaugural Kirby Memorial final at Limerick.
It was the last wish of the late John Butler that the dog would go back to Wimbledon this year for another crack at the Derby. In early January when John was in his final days, the dog was given to Navan trainer Ollie Bray to be prepared for the English Derby. But, as Ollie now says, "If he had gone to England he would have broken down after a couple of runs. We brought him back at Longford and I had a few quid on him to win the Longford Derby. But he wasn't coming away and he picked up a shoulder injury.
"We got him back for the Derby and he has now put three good runs together and his confidence is soaring again. He is flying at the minute and he is banging out of traps. I think he is well drawn on Saturday night and, sure, who knows, he is certainly running very well at the moment."
Kisses For Cloda will take on the brilliant Ballymac Vic on Saturday in the first quarter-final and that represents one of the greatest clashes in this Derby yet.
Cracking Puppy final
The Texacloth Puppy Derby has thrown up some great champions over the years and it's a fair bet that some of Friday's finalists in this year's event at Newbridge will go on to much greater things.
The favourite to collect the €9,000 prize will be Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz but there is so much early pace in this final that nothing can be taken for granted.
Five of the six finalists broke the 1.00sec first split at the weekend and that illustrates the type of dash to the bend that we can anticipate. Justin Colgan's Whisht A Mhic has the benefit of the inside but he was also inside Farloe to the bend last week and couldn't hold him. Like Farloe Blitz, the David Murray-trained Dians Shadow and Gerry Holian's Curious Boy are unbeaten in the stake and Dians was the fastest semi winner in 28.49.
The betting reads: 11/8 Farloe Blitz, 2/1 Curious Shadow, 4/1 Curious Boy, 6/1 Whisht A Mhic, 20/1 Drumsna Castle, Lisdhu Blue.
Newbridge Sales Races
Sales Races are to be introduced at Newbridge on a trial basis with the first one scheduled to be run on Saturday, September 27. It is hoped that these races will make it easier to buy and sell dogs locally.