Gala Meeting to round off memorable year
While 2015 will largely be remembered as the year which set the country back on the first or second rung of the economic map, it has been a very pleasing one as far as performances on the greyhound tracks were concerned.
We have enjoyed a wealth of terrific racing, and a prime factor in that achievement has been the Saturday night fixtures at Shelbourne.
The reward has been a packed stadium virtually every Saturday with the odd quiet one caused by either Bank Holiday weekends or other major sporting events being staged in opposition.
Gladly the tradition will be maintained to the very last Saturday of the year at Shelbourne, on Saturday week. It will be a Gala Meeting featuring the finals of the Comerford Cakes Open 525 and the Gain Christmas Oaks while the supporting card will do it justice with a series of open finals and one-off races.
That meeting on December 19 will be the last of the year at Shelbourne, with the gates not opening again for racing until Saturday, January 2.
The card this Saturday, incidentally, will feature the semi-finals of both the Comerford and Gain sweepstakes plus other open class stakes and races.
Shelbourne will stage the second of its weekly meetings this evening and it affords the Shanks Whelan-owned Piercestown Lisa (10.13) the opportunity to make amends for last week's defeat by Howld Ann when the pair clash again in the concluding D2/3 750.
On that occasion Piercestown had to do a fair bit of running to get to the front at the fifth bend and she then appeared to hit the wall turning for home. She was caught in the final few yards by Howld Ann and Slade Tammie.
This time Lisa can grab an earlier lead from her inside draw and she may have enough in hand to hold off the respective challenges.
Declan and Margaret Doherty have been enjoying a great run of luck with their small string and Dons Ego (9.58) can extend the winning sequence in an A3/4.
Clonmel Track will have a different racing schedule for the remainder of 2015. There will be no more Sunday Racing at the track before the new year and their weekly meetings for the next two weekends will be on Friday and Saturday nights.
The eagerly awaited Red Mills Unraced Stake will then kick off the new year and will also herald the return of Sunday racing. The first round of the Unraced will be staged on Saturday, January 2 and Sunday, January 3.
This Unraced competition has been a major source of young talent over the years - last year's competition was won by the great bitch Ballydoyle Honey.