Dog chat: Return to 'natural habitat' on cards for racing
With a cabinet reshuffle now a certainty and the increasing likelihood that the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism will be disbanded, there is mounting speculation that greyhound and horse racing may return to the Department of Agriculture fold.
Agriculture was the abode of greyhound sport since the formation of the Irish Greyhound Board until recent times, when it was switched to Arts, Sport and Tourism. It seemed a strange move at the time and it looks even more out of place nowadays. Agriculture is the natural habitat for the greyhound and horse industries. We await the decision of the Taoiseach on this matter.
There was a fine turn out for the new lunchtime setting of the National Greyhound Awards presentation on Sunday in Limerick, where there was a great reception for all the winners. Included in the programme was an update on the progress of the new Limerick Stadium. It is certainly taking shape and appears to be on schedule for the planned opening later this year.
The main track action this week will be at Shelbourne on Saturday night with the semi-finals of the Tote Gold Cup down for decision. There were huge shocks in the semis at the weekend and we now have a new favourite in the Larry Dunne-trained Da Hatter at 7/2.
He goes from trap three in a very interesting second semi-final, where he has Tyrur Giovanni, Malouda and Thurlesbeg Joker drawn on his outside. It will be particularly interesting if Malouda can make one of his flying starts.
Now handling all his own dogs in Galway, PJ Fahy has three of the last 12 competitors. Apart from Tyrur Giovanni, he has Tyrur Bucko and Tyrur Chris drawn alongside each other in the opening heat, which also includes Castlehill Pat, Fane Basher, De Ex Factor and Tranquil Time.
The Mike Cronin Juvenile Classic got off to a flying start at Tralee last Friday with Joyce and Andrew O'Regan's Soldier Laddie setting a very hot pace with a 28.75 run. He closed a fast sectional of 14.41.
The Kudos Supersprint second round will be run at Curraheen Park on Saturday and the two fastest winners from last weekend, Droopys Sastre and Carlows Pride have both been drawn in Heat 2.
Racing at Newbridge will have a new starting time from this Friday. All meetings will commence at 8.0 with the weigh-in between 7.0 and 7.30.