Barefoot's trial blitz bodes well for title defence
While the likes of Oran Maestro and Kereight King were making the Saturday headlines at Shelbourne, a host of established stars, including three classic winners, had earlier gone through their paces at headquarters.
The big flurry of star trial activity provided clear notice that the season's first major, the SIS Live Gold Cup, will be starting at Shelbourne in just over two weeks.
If this early session was anything to go by then we are going to be in for some fantastic action over the coming months.
Fastest over the sprint distance was Paul Hennessy's Scottish Derby winner Barefoot Allstar, which flew around in 18.64. The likelihood is that he will be heading back to Scotland to defend the title he claimed last year at Shawfield.
His kennel companion, Money Talks, beat Irish Sprint Cup winner Cambushmore by a length in 28.57. Cambushmore's kennel companion, Knockglass Billy, the Irish Laurels hero, clocked 18.88 for the sprint, while other two-bend runs came from Quail Hollow 18.76, Mahogany Boy 18.82 and Ardfert Thunder 18.74.
There was a very significant trial from the unraced Paradise Silva, which is owned by the 'Paradise Madison Team' of David Buckley and Sean Meade. The half-brother to Oaks winner Dalcash Dvinsky clocked 28.78 in his qualifying trial and one suspects that the GMHD Juvenile Classic at Tralee will be on his itinerary.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the national greyhound awards will be staged in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone on Sunday, March 10.
The British awards presentation took place in London last Sunday night, when shock English Derby winner Blonde Snapper was voted Greyhound of the Year and Droopys Hope was named the Bitch of the Year. The Derby winning team of Mark Wallis and Mark Currell lifted the Trainer and Owner of the Year awards.
Ballymac Eske, which was touched off by Sparta Maestro in that Night of Stars thriller at Shelbourne, took the Newcomer of the Year award.
Clonmel racegoers will have a chance of collecting a few nice pots on Sunday with the Trio Pool for all six-dog races being guaranteed to be a minimum of €1,000.
There will be no racing at Newbridge or Tralee on Saturday. Newbridge will race instead on Friday.