Major sponsor boost for Irish Derby
Boylesports are to be the new sponsors of the Irish Greyhound Derby as part of a three-year deal which has been agreed with the Irish Greyhound Board.
Already the sponsors of a number of leading events, Boylesports will become the official betting partner of the Irish Greyhound Board for the duration of the deal.
As part of the new deal, Boylesports will sponsor the Irish Grand National as well as the Irish Derby.
Full details of the sponsorship have yet to be confirmed, but the premier classic is set to commence at Shelbourne on August 7, with the final to be run on September 13.
One would expect that one of the leading hopes for the Derby will be Boylesports Hero, winner of the recent Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake.
The draw for the Produce Stakes was made yesterday and 72 dogs will go into action in Sunday's session of 12 heats.
The big name among them is undoubtedly Boylesports Hero, which is sure to be at the top of the betting lists. He has been drawn to run in trap five in the second heat and will be a hot favourite to advance.
Another Kirby finalist, Green Prince, is also among the entries. Liam Dowling's dog is due to race from the inside box in Heat 8.
As ever, Graham Holland has a strong team and his Runaway Rover will be well fancied to win Heat 4 on the strength of his 28.44 run at Limerick.
John Linehan also has a strong hand with Droopys Der his top hope and he will wear the orange jacket in Heat 6.
Linehan also has Droopys Rafael in Heat 9 where he wears the blue jacket and will have John Kiely's Harley Dogson and Holland's Riverside Pat.
Tonight's Shelbourne card has an interesting A3/4 Backgraders stake and in the first semi-final five of the six runners have previously raced in open company. One suspects that Peter Tiernan's Not So Scottish (9.0) may see off Swords Star and Night Smoke.
Owners and trainers are advised to beware of traffic disruption this weekend due to the Giro d'Italia. Drumbo Park could be particularly susceptible and those travelling are advised to check the roads that are being closed.