Sunday 22 April 2018

Derby hero Blake set for reappearance

Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Last year's Irish Derby winner Laughil Blake is set to return to action in the Dandelion Bar & Nightclub Easter Cup, and he will make his first public appearance since the Night of Stars in November when he has a sprint trial at Shelbourne on Thursday night.

While no official announcement has yet been made, the feeling is that the dog, currently a short-priced favourite for the English Derby, will stay in Ireland for all his racing this season.

The Michael O'Donovan-trained champion is a massive drawing card as a result of his performances in winning the Derby at a canter and then registering a tremendous victory when beating all comers in the Night of Stars.

Speaking of trials, a number of other top contenders will have their Easter Cup trials on Saturday.

Among those already booked in are Droopys Nidge, Sidarian Blaze and Native Hut. Already the Easter Cup looks like being a real cracker, and it will be following on from the Best Car Park Gold Cup, which reaches a conclusion on Saturday.

Track record

The Clonmel Festival of racing came to a fine conclusion on Saturday, capped by a track record performance from the Pat Dalton-trained Volcano as she won the Greyhound & Pet World Open 790 in 43.66.

The daughter of Flying Winner hit the front at the fifth bend but only had a length and a half to spare from young rival Ballymac Bonnie. Both first and second are set for a big year in the marathon events.

Graham Holland's Ballydoyle Honey gained her anticipated success in the Red Mills Unraced Stake, where she led home her kennel companion Riverside Gold by three lengths in 28.50. The winner is a very useful young bitch and could develop into a star stayer.

Belfast owner/trainer Jim O'Kane continued his tremendous winning run with his two-runner kennel when Cromac Belle landed the Suirview Kennels Open Bitch Stake when leading all the way to beat Leeview Lady by a length and a half in 28.71.

A relative newcomer to the game, O'Kane has won the Christmas Oaks and this event since mid-December, while his other runner Cromac Enako won a stake at Shelbourne recently and looks a huge prospect with her stunning early pace.

Entries sought

Entries close this morning for the valuable GMHD Juvenile Classic at Tralee which is due to start on Friday night. The draw for this 525-yard event will be made this morning and is likely to be run for 36 dogs.

Meanwhile, Liam Kennedy at Limerick is seeking entries for an Open 525 to be run on Saturday night and closing today.

Irish Independent

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