Greyhound Racing: Boost as National 750 returns to calendar
One of the major complaints in recent years has concerned the scarcity of opportunities for Open-class stayers in this country – this resulted in virtually all our potential marathon champions being sold to British owners.
There have been positive signs of late, with an increase in the number of six-bend races being advertised for a number of tracks, and now we have learned that the National 750 is to be reintroduced to the Shelbourne calendar.
The traditional post-Derby event wasn't run last year but it is on the way back, and this year's event will be sponsored by the Track Bookmakers with a prize fund of almost €14,000, of which the winner will receive €7,000. It will be for a minimum of 24 dogs and will start at Shelbourne on Saturday, October 12.
It will be a busy post-Derby period at headquarters, with the Billy Mulvaney Memorial Open 600 starting on September 21, the Saturday after the Derby final. It will have a winner's prize of €7,000 and will lead on to the 750-yard competition.
Meanwhile, entries for the ETS Irish Derby will close next Friday, with the first-round draw to be made on Bank Holiday Monday, August 5.
Some of the leading contenders will be in action tomorrow night at Shelbourne with the finals of the Townviewfoods.com Champion Stakes and Plate as well as the Consolation and a few interesting opens.
There will be a number of Derby hopefuls trialled before racing, and prime among these will be reigning champion Skywalker Puma following his heavy fall last Saturday night. Unfortunately, last year's Derby finalist Tyrur Sugar Ray will not be a runner this time as PJ Fahy reports that he sprained a hock last Saturday.
By normal standards it is a pretty quiet night on the racing front, with the Greyhound & Petworld Puppy Oaks starting at Harold's Cross and the ETS Derby Trial Stake final at Longford the top events.
There are too many imponderables about the Puppy Oaks runners to merit sticking out one's neck but on the supporting card it is possible to make strong cases for Pat Flynn's Walkabout Gary (10.0) from the inside box in an A1 contest and also Anthony McCloskey's Way Maker (10.14) in an A2 race.
The Longford final could develop into a match between Tubbertelly King (9.12) and Clydal Air, with the vote going to the first-named, which represents Terry McCann and Luke Kilcoyne.
Racegoers at Shelbourne on Wednesday nights who pay the €10 admission charge will receive €10 in betting vouchers in return.