Dog Chat: Let's avoid first-night fireworks
With the Irish squad now firmly based back in Ireland following an impressive but unsuccessful tilt at the English Derby, the attention will focus sharply on the intense schedule on the Irish track scene.
The news that there will be a €120,000 winner's prize for the Ladbrokes Irish Derby was a welcome one, particularly given the way the winner's prize had been cut for other major competitions.
Indeed, if the defending champion College Causeway comes out of retirement and retains his title, the prize on offer to Mike and Vince McKenna's dog would be an extra €80,000 by virtue of a bonus offered by the sponsors.
One worrying aspect of the Derby schedule concerns the opening night on Wednesday, August 4.
This is the date of the first major soccer game at the adjoining new Lansdowne Road involving Manchester United and, quite apart from the massive traffic congestion in the area, there is also the possibility the FAI will celebrate in style with fireworks.
Greyhounds become scared by fireworks and if this is going to happen, it surely calls for a switch of race nights to avoid such a clash. A one-off switch with Harold's Cross would hardly cause any problems.
This weekend, we have the finals of the Lee Strand 550 at Tralee on Friday and the Barry's Tea 750 at Curraheen on Saturday. In addition, the semi-finals of the Cox Cup will be run at Newbridge on Friday and the second round of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne on Saturday.
The Lee Strand has thrown up an open final with Michael Kiely's Shaneboy Sport the likely favourite. But it would be no surprise if Patrick Buckley's Kiln Kylie made the most of her back-door reprieve in the semis.
Friday's card will also include the heats of the Lynch Family/Paddy O'Sullivan Memorial Race of Champions and the draw will be made tomorrow.
This is shaping into a high-class competition with Shaneboy Lee, Bellewood Prince, Tyrur Giovanni, Tyrur Dylan and Colorful Champ all doing smart trials at the weekend and with Tullymurry Act reported to be on his way.
Ferdia Bound is the supreme stayer in training just now and the Kevin Commins-owned dog can make it 31 wins on the trot by taking the Barry's Tea final.