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Irish raiders sharpen claws for Derby crack

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Greyhounds

It's impossible to keep Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium out of the headlines these days.

Earlier this week approximately 100 Irish greyhound enthusiasts attended the Show of Passion at London's City Hall in support of the stadium, and now it seems Irish trainers are queuing up to join the challenge for the English Derby at Wimbledon in May.

Last week Peter Cronin brought dogs over for trials around the track.

Owen McKenna gave three of his charges a spin there over the sprint trip on Wednesday and will be trialling Vanrooney, Sidaz Eagle and Fiery Splendour over the full Derby distance tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, PJ Fahy has signalled his intentions of returning to Wimbledon this year after getting Tyrur Sugar Ray through to the semi-finals last year.

Sugar Ray is likely to return this year in what will be an abbreviated campaign, while he could be joined by rising star Tyrur Van Persie.

The Glenamaddy owner said: "Sugar Ray is in great form, but if he is going to Wimbledon we'll keep him fresh for that event with just a trial or two around Wimbledon beforehand."

The proximity of the Corn & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake at Limerick to the start of the English Derby is complicating matters for some owners and trainers.

The Limerick event doesn't finish until April 26, while the Wimbledon Classic will start just five or six days later.

Tralee in focus

With the Kirby Memorial and English Derby only around the corner, there are many owners and trainers scouting widely in search of young stars to contest those events.

Tralee will surely be a major stopping point for all of them this evening when the country's most valuable unraced event, the GMHD Juvenile Classic, kicks off.

A few really stand out, and Graham Holland's Vans Viking (10.10) deserves to be the outright selection on the strength of a special 18.69 sprint trial around Shelbourne.

Owen McKenna's Sidaz Pedro (7.55), after his 18.75 Shelbourne run, and Paul Hennessy's Jaytee Hawaii (8.10), which produced a 28.70 Shelbourne spin last weekend, also catch the eye.

At Harold's Cross this evening, Anthony Conlon's Icecool Pirlo (8.46) can take this A3, while Gerry Barber and Derek Hatch's Ravenswood Emily (9.45) is surely destined to run in much hotter company than an A3.

Irish Independent