Stars flock to Shelbourne for the big night
Shelbourne racing manager Declan Carey's regular complaint is that he is short of entries but it has been a different experience this week as he admits to being "inundated with entries for the weekend's racing and also bookings for trials".
He reckons the interest in Saturday week's Night of Stars programme is the main reason as owners and trainers try to get their dogs into the valuable championship races on the night. It is, of course, a great complaint and hopefully many of these dogs will still be available to fill races during the extra racing in the build-up to Christmas.
Carey has announced that there will be a Special Trial Session for intended Night of Stars contenders at Shelbourne on Saturday evening at 5,0pm. In addition, of course, there will be limited trials this evening before racing and again on Saturday between the weigh-in and the commencement of racing.
Most of the big names in all categories are already in the book for Night of Stars and it really is building up to a superb night. To date there are just two confirmed British entries with John Mullins wishing to run Swift Keith (middle distance) and Borna Champ (stayers). Entries for the Night of Stars will close on Monday morning due to the earlier printing deadlines.
Pat Buckley's original intention to run his star youngster Lenson Panda in the 525 contest on the Night of Stars has had to be scrapped following the injury sustained by the Texacloth Puppy Derby winner in the semi-final of the Gain Select Stakes at Waterford .
The trainer confirms that the dog has sustained a stress fracture and will have a lengthy rest but connections are hopeful that he will be fit to return for the major events next year when the William Hill English Derby would be seen as the ideal target, given his brilliant early pace.
An indication of the high level of entries this week is that tonight's meeting at Shelbourne will have 11 races and it a very solid card.
It includes the final of the A3 525 and here the Roscommon dog Gelong (9.28) looks the likely winner. This very promising puppy displayed a real touch of early pace and wasn't slowing late as he won his semi-final in 28.73 and the Ger Morris-trained dog should go in again. Others worth noting are the Vincent Morris-owned Bing David (9.13) and Larry Dunne's Slippery Brett (9.43).
There will be no racing at Galway tomorrow due to the Pro12 rugby game at the venue between Connacht and Benetton-Treviso. Racing and trials will be staged as normal on Saturday.