Taxes to lead Irish challenge at Shawfield
The modern greyhound calendar means that we go right into top action early in the year, and virtually all the top trackers have already returned to action.
The first of the major cross-channel raids is just weeks away and the signs are that there will be a strong Irish team going to Scotland for the Racing Post GTV Scottish Derby at Shawfield.
The three-run event will be run on successive Saturdays starting on March 26, and the first member of the Irish raiding party is booked in for a trial next Saturday - Francie Murray's Gold Cup third Fair Taxes.
It is a while since Murray had a runner in Scotland but he is well remembered by those who saw Droopys Sandy smash the track record while winning the Derby in 1994.
Peter Cronin plans to have three runners at Shawfield in Imperial Express, Gyp Rosetti and Global Chief, while Paul Hennessy is aiming Jaytee Dutch at the event and he could also bring over Jaytee Valencia and Mucho Macho Man.
Another Irish raider will be Rachel Wheeler's Cunning Barney.
Boylesports Duke returned from his break when trialled at Shelbourne on Saturday night and he delighted Dolores Ruth with his 28.11 effort but there has been a change of plan for the dog, which was bought during the Red Mills Unraced at Clonmel by John Boyle.
Ruth reports that Duke will now not run at Limerick in the Kirby Memorial and is not going to Wimbledon for the English Derby.
"We will be keeping him to Shelbourne Park and he will have a 550-yard trial next Saturday. His big targets will be the Champion Stakes and the Boylesports Derby," she said.
Duke's litter brother Razldazl Tierna clocked 28.36 in a trial on Saturday after doing an 18.56 trial on Thursday. He will have a trial around Limerick on Saturday in advance of a Kirby Memorial challenge.
Razldazl Al, the Irish Independent prize greyhound over two years back when he was won by the Carol Kendellen-led Family Rocks Syndicate, has been retired from racing. He has been homed with Kendellen's nephew Trevor Hughes.
Kendellen said: "He is almost four years old and we thought the fairest thing would be to retire him from racing and he has settled in marvellously with Trevor. He is enjoying his daily walks and the easy life and Trevor hopes to show him at Cloghran in the forthcoming dog shows".
Razldazl Al won ten races and was placed 31 times in his career.