Big guns all set to slug it out for Derby spoils
Some 132 greyhounds will set out in pursuit of Ladbrokes Irish Derby glory at Shelbourne this week.
There will be 22 first-round heats spread over tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday nights. The 96 survivors will advance to the second round, which will be run next week.
Virtually all the major fancies are in there, with the most notable absentees being the injured Milldean Panther and Shelbourne Geoff.
There are many high-profile clashes in the first round, with Heat 15 on Saturday night a stand-out as it brings together Skywalker Puma, Kingo and Sparta Maestro.
Tomorrow's card will include six heats -- with eight on Thursday and Saturday -- and one of the highlights will be the meeting of Camas Crash and Droopys Cain in Heat 6. Another high-profile contest will be Heat 8 on Thursday where Razldazl Bugatti, Power Of God, Newlawn Tock and Cabra Millie will lock horns.
Reigning champion Razldazl George won't be seen until Heat 19 on Saturday and it is a difficult enough contest, with Northern Ireland Derby champion Captain Scolari leading the opposition.
Also in the draw is the 2010 champion Tyrur McGuigan, which has a great chance of advancing from Heat 21.
Live streaming of the heats will be available on igb.ie, and the Derby action will also be shown on Inter Track at all tracks which care to avail of the service.
The big news in the greyhound world is that Milldean Panther has joined Dolores Ruth. There had been much speculation concerning the whereabouts of the brilliant tracker over the past week but part-owner Clive Francis yesterday issued a statement confirming that the dog was in the Rathangan kennels, where "he will undergo intensive treatment and physiotherapy" for his Achilles tendon and back problems.
Derby apart this week, the quarter-finals of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup will be run at Dundalk on Saturday, while the final of the Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup will be run at Thurles on Sunday.
Also this week, the finals of the Paddy Byrne Memorial at Tralee and the Greyhound & Pet World Puppy Oaks at Harold's Cross will be staged on Friday.