Greyhounds: Ex Factor must fend off Attack to lay down real marker
The year may have gotten off to a belated start, but if the opening round of the John J Casey Open 575 at Shelbourne Park last Saturday is an indication of what is to come in 2010, there is much to look forward to.
Despite the heavy track conditions, there were a number of superb performances in the John J Casey 575 with the likes of All Dolled Up, Burnpark Champ and De Ex Factor impressing the most.
However, others including big guns Accordello and Corporate Attack suggested that they would also have a major part to play during the latter stages of the competition.
The second-round draw has thrown up some mouth-watering clashes, although that of De Ex Factor and Corporate Attack in the opening heat is a little special.
If the former is to follow up his opening round success, he must hope that Corporate Attack doesn't turn too close.
Heat 3 is another that could provide a thrilling finish with opening round winners and kennel companions Group Skater and All Dolled Up facing reigning Ladbrokes 600 winner Accordello. Much will depend on which of these fast finishers gets first run.
After an impressive opening-round victory, Deanridge Fury could start the hottest favourite of the round in the final heat where he again looks certain to set a strong gallop from trap two. And of his rivals, Dooey Shaw perhaps poses the biggest threat.
Elsewhere, the IGB Open Unraced 525 got under way at Clonmel on Saturday night and Ken Foley's Boggan set the standard with a 29.13 return, closely followed by Jack Meade's Dalcash Divinsky, which won his heat in 29.18.
Both greyhounds look likely to go on to better things, although many potential stars could yet emerge from the valuable stake.
Indeed a number of those which suffered defeat in the opening round could step up on their efforts this weekend. Watch this space is the best advice offered.