Greyhound racing: Becky can shade it in Harold's Cross Classic
The completion of one Classic and the commencement of another will bring the crowds flocking to the tracks tonight.
The main focus will be on Harold's Cross, where the final of the Gain Feeds Corn Cuchulainn heads a 13-race programme.
Ireland's six-bend Classic was first run at Harold's Cross back in 1961 and the field for tonight's contest is one of the best ever to contest the decider.
While outsiders Hangover Petee and Follom Flair have shown they are well capable of mixing it with the best, the betting on this final will very much centre on the other four runners. It is not even certain what will top the market and we could well end up with four co-favourites.
Pat Dalton's Volcano has been my fancy for this event for months but I am deserting her reluctantly for the final, with preference going to Brendan Cullen's tiny bitch Shanless Becky.
Becky is well housed, is a very strong stayer and is likely to be up there all the way.
The two most likely leaders are the perfectly drawn Dolores Ruth-trained Razldazl Marilyn and Declan Byrne's prolific winner White Soks Roks.
The former is getting stronger each week as she returns from a seasonal break, while the latter hasn't been at his very best in the competition.
Volcano is the strongest finisher in training but a trap-four draw is a challenge. She'll go very close but the call goes to Shanless Becky (9.32).
A week ago, the Boylesports International was run at Dundalk and now seven days later the first five heats in the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup will be run this evening. Banker bet can be Owen McKenna's Farloe Calvin (9.51) in the final heat, where a reproduction of his 21.22 trial would carry him to victory.
My fancy for outright honours at 14/1 is Ballymac Matthew (9.37) and he may just come out on top in a red-hot Heat 4, where Bypass Blackie and Ballyhill Sub are very dangerous rivals.
Heat 3 is equally difficult and John McGee's bitch Bulmers Baby (9.23) has the draw to get the better of Bittles Bar and Odyssey.
A Star turn
Following three hugely impressive runs in the competition, Star Ace (9.35) can win the final of the Mackey Cup at Thurles this evening. Question is, can he improve on his semi-final time of 28.76?
Curraheen Park will join the other early starters today with the unofficial trial session being staged between 6.45am and 10am in order to avoid the anticipated high temperatures.