Leading Irish trainer Graham Holland had a successful trip to England last night when his Garryvoe Bobby maintained his unbeaten record in the Calne Racing Arc at Swindon and will now be a big fancy for the final.
A litter brother to last year's Irish Derby final favourite Sonic, Garryvoe Bobby reached the semi-finals of the cancelled Gold Cup at Shelbourne. A late entry for the Arc, he has taken to the Swindon track well and impressed when winning the opening semi.
He wasn't that well away but got up the inside to take over from Dorotas Del Mar and Droopys Costa on the first bend before pulling clear for a three-and-a-half-length verdict over Doratas Del Mar in 28.52. The other heats were won by Barricane Tiger and Black Zack. Peter Cronin's Ela Alecko failed to make the final.
The draw was made yesterday for the FFK McCalmont Cup which commences at Kilkenny tomorrow. The A1 event has attracted a really good entry with plenty of runners which have run with distinction in open company.
Liam Dowling makes the journey up from Kerry with Ballymac Scala, while other prominent names in the line-up include Paul Hennessy's Michelito, Pat Buckley's Droopys Payet, Tom Buggy's Kilgraney Master, Brian Divilly's Crafty Trivago and Sean Dunphy's Bar The Sizzler.
A worrying development this week was the failure of the Hegarty Sales Cork Oaks to fill and Brian Collins had no option but to defer the event by a week. Only 21 entries had been received for the event designed for 36 runners and with a €5,500 winner's prize. Collins has decided to commence the stake on Saturday week and it will be a three-run 24-bitch competition. The winner's prize will remain the same.
While on the subject of Curraheen Park the second National Greyhound Sales will be staged at Curraheen on Saturday of next week, March 25. This time the event will be for Raced and Unraced greyhounds and each category will be kept apart in the pre-Sales trials.
Entries for the Sales will close after racing at Curraheen on Saturday night. As with the inaugural National Sales, there will be special competitions run in April for Raced and Unraced and the winner of each will receive €4,000.
There are a few changes to the racing schedule this weekend. Galway will race tonight and Saturday but will have no racing tomorrow. Tralee will also have no meeting tomorrow or on Saturday night but they will race tonight and again on Saturday morning at 9.11am.