Laurels kicks off with new sponsor
The Irish Laurels kicks off at Curraheen Park this evening with a new sponsor, the 'Friends & Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing'.
The campaign, led by legendary GAA Figure Jimmy Barry Murphy, has promised their support of the southern classic for the next four years - and they should be immediately rewarded with the entry for this year's event as strong as any in its long history.
Certainly, if reigning champion Rockybay Foley is to defend his crown he will need to be at his very best in the coming four weeks.
The Kieran Lynch-trained star kicks off his defence in Heat 5 and there is no room for error from a tricky draw in four. With Riverside Leo, Clona Blaze and Droopys Legend in opposition Rockybay Foley will need to hit the ground running.
The ante-post betting suggests that Grangeview Ten is the one to beat. The Produce Stakes champion lit up the early rounds of the Derby and he should be ideally suited by the Curraheen Park test. He can begin his challenge with a comfortable victory in Heat 7.
2018 Derby champion Ballyanne Sim will take on the hugely talented pair of Boylesports Xtra and Ballymac Anton in Heat 9. Throw Jumeriah Shandy into the mix and it promises to be one of the races of the night.
Jaytee Taylor was a surprise entry with a return to 525yds likely to test his early speed, but he does look the part in Heat 3. From an ideal draw in the stripes he can come though in the closing stages to score.
Meanwhile, at Shelbourne Park the likes of Skywalker Logan, Clonbrien Prince and Lenson Blinder will be in action in the opening round of the greyhoundaspets.ie Open 600.