Huge Irish interest in Scottish Derby final
There will be huge Irish interest in the final of the RPGTV Scottish Derby on Saturday with two greyhounds trained in this country, Fair Taxes and Leave At Dawn, in the line-up.
Also in there is the dog bred, formerly trained and still part-owned by Liam Dowling - the BoyleSports Derby champion Ballymac Matt.
Ballymac Matt is owned by a syndicate in partnership with Dowling and one of the syndicate members is North of England trainer Kelly Macari who is handling the dog for the Scottish classic.
It has worked very well thus far as he has impressively won the first two rounds and is now a 7/4 favourite to win at Shawfield on Saturday and become a dual Derby winner.
No decision has yet been made on Matt's future but it is quite possible he will remain with Macari for the English Derby and then return to Kerry to be prepared for the Boylesports Derby defence by Dowling.
Liam and his wife Helen are travelling over on Saturday and are hoping that Matt may become the second dog to do the Irish and Scottish Derby double.
Fair Taxes is vying for second favouritism with Droopys Buick and Eden The Kid after reaching the final with two impressive victories. He is bidding to become a second Scottish Derby winner for Westmeath trainer Francie Murray, who landed the prize back in 1994 when the great Droopys Sandy trounced a high class field.
Fair Taxes is owned jointly by Noeleen McCreevy and Caren Walsh, the wives of former EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy and Aidan Walsh, who sponsors the Texacloth Puppy Derby at Newbridge.
Murray is hoping for a big run from Fair Taxes, saying: "He is in great form and the travelling has taken nothing out of him."
The other Irish runner is Leave At Dawn, trained in Newry by Brendan Matthews. He is the first runner the legendary Armagh handler has had in Scotland and he realises the task he faces.
"We are hoping he makes a fast start. He went a fraction early in the semi and missed the start and we would be happier if he was drawn on the inside instead of trap two. But it's great to be in the final and he is capable of a big run," said Matthews.
Leave At Dawn won his first-round heat on his first look at the Glasgow track.
Meanwhile, Peter Cronin will be giving his English Derby possibles preparatory trials around Wimbledon today but he will also be represented at Shelbourne this evening where Tommys Lord (9.28) is an interesting runner.
This fellow has failed to win in his first eight races but he was a semi-finalist in the Kirby Memorial at Limerick last Saturday but had no run whatever in the race.