Sunday 22 April 2018

Independent Laurels deadline delayed

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

Michael Fortune

With the Easter break intervening, only half the required entries have been received so far for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels which is set to start at Curraheen Park on Saturday night.

Speaking from the track yesterday, racing manager Brian Collins reported that only 40 of the required 72 names were in the book but he is hopeful that the phones will be buzzing this morning.

"Easter hasn't been a help but I am hoping that a flood of entries will come in this morning and, in the circumstances, it has been decided to put the draw back to Wednesday morning to allow more time for the entry process," he explained.

The clash with the English Derby has been the main problem, with owners and trainers attracted by the massive prize-money on offer at Wimbledon - but only one dog can win that £250,000 prize and the money down the line is not anything like as impressive.

In reality up to half the Irish dogs travelling to Wimbledon have no hope of winning the big prize, whereas many of them would be in the frame for the Laurels around Curraheen.

There is also the terrific €250,000 bonus on offer for any dog to win the Laurels, the Irish Derby and the Irish St Leger this year. With the new calendar schedule, this is achievable and owners should consider it strongly.

There were some interesting Laurels trials at the weekend, and the best were the 28.28 runs from Graham Holland's Gaytime Hawk and Liam Dowling's flying youngster Ballymac Matt.

Cable Bay staying put

Talking of the English Derby, it looks as though Brendan Matthews will be giving it a miss with his Kirby Memorial winner Cable Bay and litter brothers Boylesports Jet and Leave At Dawn.

In the aftermath of Saturday's Kirby Memorial success at Limerick, Brendan's sons Damian and Plunkett had suggested that Wimbledon might be on the dog's agenda, but the vibes from the successful Newry kennels yesterday were beginning to suggest otherwise.

Brendan, who was winning the Kirby for the second year on the trot, remarked: "I honestly think there is more than enough for those dogs to be aimed at in Ireland rather than go across to Wimbledon.

"The type of dogs they are, they can compete over any distance up from 525 to 600 and coming up in the next few months will be the Gain 600, the Boylesports Race of Champions, the International at Dundalk, the Hamilton Architects Champion Stakes, the Irish Derby, the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger and the Night of Stars."

Irish Independent

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