Matt confirmed for Wimbledon challenge
Following his narrow defeat in last week's Scottish Derby final at Shawfield, last year's Boylesports Irish Derby winner Ballymac Matt is to contest the William Hill English Derby, which begins at Wimbledon on May 4.
Matt finished a couple of bobbing heads behind Hot Pipe and Fair Taxes in third place in Scotland but former trainer and current part-owner Liam Dowling has confirmed that the dog came out of the race in good condition.
The dog will remain with Kelly Macari to be prepared for Wimbledon and will then return to Dowling once the Derby campaign runs its course. He will then, all going well, be readied for a defence of his Irish Derby title.
Meanwhile, Dowling has two runners in tonight's final of the John & Mary Killeacle Dowling Memorial 570, which is run at Tralee in honour of his late parents. Both Anopheles and Paradise Simona will be well fancied in a very open contest.
Dowling's nephew Sean also has the fast-starting Killeacle Tammy in the race.
The one to beat is surely Anopheles (9.57) which completely missed the start last week when third behind Chilmark Chaser and Killeacle Tammy. But Anopheles, which won last year's Juvenile Derby at Harold's Cross, has a best time of 30.64 in this stake and if he gets away in front he is the one to beat.
Ger Nugent's Greenane Rocco and big finishing Chilmark Chaser, owned by Francis Flavin and Kathryn Steel, are the main threats.
The Tralee card also includes the opening five heats of the Lee Strand 550 and a few worth noting in this confined event are Deanmill Ferrari (8.12) and Pennylane Lucky (8.27).
It emerged yesterday that there will be a new, earlier date for the BoyleSports Race of Champions at Tralee. This two-run feature was originally due to be run on June 3 and June 10 but it has been brought forward and the final will be run on Friday, May 27.
The Race of Champions will have a prize fund of €24,500 and the night doubles as a benefit night for the Kerry GAA Training Fund.
The new date will allow greyhounds to take part without difficulty before heading for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels which starts at Curraheen on June 18.
Gilroy Kate (10.10) has been a popular choice with Friday night punters at Harold's Cross over the past year and she has a very good strike rate. It can be improved upon when Tommy Bolton's bitch is eased in grade in an A3/4 contest at the Cross this evening. She can lead all the way to win from Cuil Tom.
Another worth noting is Willie White's Lapari Girl (8.25), which can end an 18-race losing streak in an A4 contest. A trap five draw may not be ideal but she is well capable of overcoming it.