Greyhounds: McKenna hoping Joker can come up trumps
Published 16/03/2010 | 05:00
The favourites tag hasn't proved very popular in the Tote Gold Cup and for Saturday's final at Shelbourne Park we have a new market leader in Thurlesbeg Joker.
Can he avoid the fate of his three predecessors and cross the line in front to credit owners Anthony Rhodes and Albert Draper the €20,000 prize? He is currently a lowest-price of 5/4 and a best-priced 2/1 but he will need to make a swift exit from six if he is to give trainer Owen McKenna his first success in this early-season feature.
Larry Dunne has a big hand with Fane Basher and Da Hatter occupying the middle traps. They could battle it out for early supremacy and they are disputing second favouritism. Paul Hennessy, who has won this event five times, must also have prospects with the massive finisher De Ex Factor. The field is completed by Mileheight Dazl and Castlehill Pat.
By the way, Hennessy will have two runners in the semi-finals of the Grand Prix at Henlow on Thursday after Group Skater and Hello Hippy ran big races in Sunday's second round.
The first round of the Gain Feeds Cesarewitch produced a fair share of shocks at Mullingar when the fastest winner was John Doyle's Kiltrea Kev. He will contest the final heat next Saturday when his rivals will include fellow heat winners Green St Lass and Gunner as well as old rival Ropewalk Wonder.
There are no fewer than four heat winners in opposition in Heat 5 with Accordello, Home Belle, Frisky Fantasy and Northbound Lucy all bidding to maintain unbeaten records.
The other big events are the semi-finals of the Cronin Readymix Juvenile Classic at Tralee on Friday and the semi-finals of the Kudos Supersprint at Curraheen Park on Saturday.
Fastest in both rounds of the Juvenile has been Soldier Laddie and he has an inside draw in the second semi, where the very impressive Big Appetite is a major rival. Just a spot separated this pair last Friday and they could have some buckle here. The only other unbeaten contender is Dromore Dazzler and he can take the third heat.
The Kudos Supersprint looks a really open affair and it could be between Cool Scorpion and Yes Boss in the opening heat while Droopys Sastre and Carlows Pride look the big two in the second heat.