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Greyhounds: Maverik leads Buckley's Puppy Derby assault

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Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Last week the stars of the present treated us to a memorable night of racing at Shelbourne Park but tonight the attention turns to the stars of the future as they continue their battle in the Dublin Coach Puppy Derby second round at Harold's Cross.

Unfortunately the crowd will be somewhat smaller this evening than it was on Derby final eve last week, but a fine turnout is still expected given the sheer quality of the racing.

The two favourites in the long-odds betting are Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz and Pat Buckley's Paradise Maverik and at least the draw has kept them apart.

Farloe Blitz (9.10) figures in a difficult Heat 5 where he looks destined to have an early paced battle with Dians Shadow. This pair clashed in the Texacloth at Newbridge and Farloe had the advantage there and may do so again, with Quietly one to keep very much in mind also.

Paradise Maverik (8.55) has a potentially lethal draw in Heat 2 (8.40) where he will have the big early pacers Baile Mhic and Whisht A Mhic on his inside. There is little room for error in this one but memories of Paradise Maverik's Derby performances are still vivid and he has improved with each run. He can pay to follow again.

Buckley has a strong hand in the competition and his Dolcino Flyer (9.40) is a dog of real promise.

Another of the Buckley team worthy of mention is Lenson Sanchez (9.25) and, while he is very much an inside seed, he may overcome a trap five draw in Heat 6. An interesting rival is Fair Taxes, which is jointly owned by former EC commissioner Charlie McCreevy and Texacloth Derby sponsor Aidan Walsh.

Tavern the one

Hurling is very much the topic of the moment down Kilkenny way but there will be a nice turnout at the local track this evening where the semi-finals of the Langton Hotel Derby will be run.

Declan Byrne's Millies Tavern (9.0) has been one of the stars of this competition thus far and the Southern Oaks winner has a great chance of adding on this prize. She has a plum inside draw in the first heat and that entitles her to the call ahead of Norristown Bud, Master Gorryisle and Olympic Money.

In the second semi it is difficult to look beyond the well-drawn Dannys Zebo (9.12). John O'Connell's charge won the Tipperary Cup and has put in two smashing runs in this competition. He will love the inside slot.

The Tralee card includes the final of the FFK Stake, where Docs Bar (9.58) looks the one to beat on his qualifying form.

Irish Independent