Betting giant returns to sponsor Shelbourne prize
Ladbrokes are set to return as sponsors at Shelbourne Park with the confirmation yesterday that the company will sponsor the Easter Cup which commences on Saturday next.
They formerly sponsored the Irish Derby between 2011 and 2013 while they also supported the Ladbrokes 600 and, earlier, the Anglo-Irish International.
Speaking at the launch, Ladbrokes' director Jackie Murphy said: "It is great to be re-establishing our relationship with Shelbourne Park. We have been looking for the right opportunity and the Easter Cup is the ideal event for us."
Meanwhile, the crowds will throng to Shelbourne this evening for the final of the €20,000 Best Car Parks Gold Cup and a terrific contest is in prospect.
All six runners are reported in top condition with the betting market suggesting that Slippery Fred can complete a tremendous double for owner Larry Dunne and his "right-hand man" Aidan Finnegan.
Five years ago Slippery Bob won this event and now his half-brother Slippery Fred bids to emulate him. What an achievement it would be for the dam Steamy Windows which, of course, also threw the 2013 Irish Derby winner Slippery Robert!
Slippery Fred (9.57) loves an inside draw and the red jacket will be a huge advantage. His main early-paced rivals are the Graham Holland-trained duo of Proud Graham and Sidarian Vega but there must be a real possibility that they can hamper each other on the run to the bend.
The big finishers Jaytee Dutch, Painstown Chief and Fair Taxes must come right into the reckoning. Fair Taxes is running as well as at any stage of his career and is also well housed but Paul Hennessy's Jaytee Dutch could be the main threat to Slippery Fred and he represents real value at 7/1.
Jaytee Jet (10.12) makes his long-awaited return in the AAO 550 and he can lead the way home, though he is sure to improve from the run. Then, in the concluding AAO 575, Tom O'Neill's Night of Stars winner Ballyhooly Henry (10.27) can also make a winning return.
Last year was a good one for Irish stayers, thanks to the efforts of Tradition and Ballymac Bonnie.
The pair clash in the final of the Yahoo Kennels Open 730 at Waterford and the inside draw can swing the verdict for the Pat Dalton-owned Tradition (9.50).
Down at Curraheen Park, the first round of the Greyhound & Petworld SuperSprint will be run and it features some very interesting performers. Ian Reilly has two very likely two-bend stars in Quietly (8.05) and Hee Haws Sheriff (9.05), while Robert Gleeson's Toolmaker Scot (8.35) is another which could star at this discipline.