Momentum builds ahead of Clonmel Festival
It's the time of the year when the focus of the greyhound world turns towards Clonmel and the build-up to the Racing Festival next week gathers pace over the weekend with a series of semi-finals due to be run tonight and again on Sunday.
The big race of the festival is, of course, the final of the Red Mills Open Unraced and the semis will be run on Sunday. The word from Eddie Anderson is that there are no reports of any doubtful runners and all eyes will be on the renamed Boylesports Duke following his recent sale to John Boyle.
Dolores Ruth reports Duke to be in great form following his defeat in the quarter-final and is quite happy with the outside draw. He renews rivalry with his conqueror of last week, Locnamon Eva, while the opening heat also includes two other very strongly fancied candidates Colarhouse Jim and Kilgraney June. Boylesports Duke (9.30) has to be a strong fancy.
The Ruth kennels also have a huge chance in the second semi with Razldazl Tierna (9.45) where Airmount Tess and Coolavanny Wendy look the main dangers.
Tonight's card at Clonmel features the semi-finals of the Greyhound Shop Guys & Dolls and the two likely winners are Dermot Maher's Minnies Basket (9.19) and David Whelan's Blackrose Buddy (9.34).
Minnies Basket and Mullaca Psycho renew rivalry following their clash last week and Minnies has the draw to prevail. Blackrose Buddy was a runaway winner last week and was earlier unlucky not to beat tonight's rival Saint Denis.
Having finished 2015 as the runaway winner of the trainers' winners list at Harold's Cross, Offaly trainer Tommy Bolton is determined to again top the list this year.
Bolton has a number of fancied runners this evening and we'll nominate Ravenswood Gold (10.10) as his main hope in the A2 tenth race. He only failed to catch Ravenswood Star last week but has the pace to lead home Parknook Billy on this occasion.
The Ian Reilly-trained Master Balboa (9.40) let us down last week when he only failed by a short head when caught on the line by Lolos Alexander. They renew rivalry in the A3 eighth contest and Master Balboa is capable of a much faster start on this occasion.
Others worth noting at the Cross are the Gerry Barber and Derek Hatch-owned Shugabear Barber (9.55), which can lead home Hee Haws Romo and Fork Lightning, while Michael English is entitled to fancy the prospects of Mind The Gap (9.25) to get the better of Ravenswood Star.