Published 25/06/2011 | 05:00
THIS is a historic night for Irish greyhound racing, with Classic finals being transmitted live from separate venues on Sky Sports 4.
The Sporting Press Irish Oaks final at Shelbourne Park will be included in the full package from Lisburn venue Drumbo Park, where the first running of the Bettor.com Northern Irish Derby is the feature event.
One anticipates a truly electric Oaks betting market with strong support for five of the finalists.
The big two are undoubtedly the Marie Gilbert-trained Mozzletoff and John Linehan's Cork raider Droopys Twirl but the other runners will have their solid camps also.
Mozzletoff is unbeaten in the Classic and has the advantage of a perfect six trap. She must make her flying start if she is to collect the €25,000 prize for her Kildare-based syndicate owners. But she has five fast starters to get around, including fastest qualifier Droopys Twirl, with that sizzling 28.22 semi-final run.
Twirl has to clear Maggies Whistle and Mutual Decision on her inside while warding off Cool It Baby, Jimney Cricket and the favourite on her outer. But three looks to be her trap and she warrants the vote to win a thriller from Mozzletoff.
The Graham Holland-trained Leeview Jet should win the Northern Derby after his swashbuckling path to the decider.
Leeview has been established as the 'King of Drumbo' after seven appearances and seven wins, four of those in record time.
He goes faster every time he sees the circuit. It should be a case of away and gone with Cian Abbey the one most likely to chase him home.
Next Saturday there will be a live telecast on RTE from Limerick and the places in the final of the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger will be decided in tonight's semi-finals. Most of the attention will focus on the opening heat where What A Tornado, Judicial Academy and Paradise Casino clash.
All three are strongly fancied for outright honours but Paradise can assume control on the run-up and it will be very difficult to overhaul him. In the other heat Big Appetite can show the way to Killians Express and Allowdale Prince.
The semi-finals of the Munster Derby and Munster Dash head a top-class card at Clonmel tomorrow evening.
5pts Paradise Casino 9.40 Limerick
3pts Droopys Twirl 9.15 Shel Pk
Northern Ireland Derby & Irish Oaks,
Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.30-10.0