Carrick-on-Suir trainer Declan Byrne has found the two Tipperary greyhound tracks to be his happy hunting ground. He enjoyed his biggest success at Clonmel when Whiteys Hawk won the 2011 Produce Stakes and on Sunday night he turned out Black Tom to score a very emphatic victory in the €7,500 Thurles Milk Tipperary Cup final.
Owned by a group of lads from Mullinahone who form the Go On Now Boy Syndicate, Black Tom has been a hugely consistent tracker but he reserved probably his best run yet for Sunday's decider.
He had a head-to-head battle with Curious Boy to the back straight before asserting and he then raced clear for a four-length margin over Curious Boy in 28.80 with The Other Major another three lengths adrift in third.
One suspects that the May '13 son of Sparta Maestro and Whiteys Buddella, which is closely related to Whiteys Hawk, will now be on the road to Shelbourne for the BoyleSports Irish Derby which commences on Thursday week.
But Declan admits to having mixed feelings on the matter. "I'd be inclined to give him more time and to go for the St Leger rather than the Derby. But the lads are naturally anxious to have a go at the Derby and it's hard to blame them. The likelihood is that he will have a trial at Shelbourne on Thursday or Saturday but he is improving all the time."
Ruby in big time
A clash of fixtures on a Sunday evening at the two Tipperary tracks was not the most sensible planning but Clonmel, which normally race on a Sunday, hosted the final of the Tullymurry Act @ Stud Open Unraced where the Brendan Maunsell-trained Big Time Ruby was the winner of the €3,000 prize.
With favourite Fairway View missing his start, Mustang Milo led up but the Stephen McNamara-owned Big Time Ruby forced his way to the front on the inside at the bend and had a few lengths in hand at halfway. Vivaro Swift came through strongly on the run-in to claim second spot but he was still two lengths down at the line in 28.78.
Meanwhile, following a hectic few days on the tracks, the countdown is now down to a matter of days prior to the commencement of the BoyleSports Irish Derby.
Entries close on Saturday with the draw on Monday morning and, as of yesterday morning, the list of entries had climbed above the 50 mark.
Few of the top kennels have yet given in their list and Graham Holland is sure to have the biggest team with at least 11 entries. Owen McKenna expects to have three or four with Farloe Blitz being joined by Farloe Rumble and Offshore Bound at least.