Whoops Jack to set Kirby marker
Apart from being the second most valuable event on an Irish track, the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Juvenile Stake is one of the most richly endowed juvenile events in the world, and the fifth running of the stake will bring the stars to Limerick Stadium over the next four weeks.
The Kirby winner will earn a prize of €80,000 for the successful owner but there will be many a twist and turn before the podium is mounted on April 8.
All the top 2015 youngsters will be contesting the 72-dog event and its open nature is reflected by the betting issued by BoyleSports, which has four dogs listed as co-favourites at 10/1 - Drive On Tipp, Droopys Almond, Whoops Jack and Native Chimes.
All four face tricky tasks this evening in the first round.
First of them into action will be the Peter Cronin-trained Whoops Jack (7.55) in Heat 2, where he has formidable rivals in two Graham Holland-trained youngsters, the unbeaten Rackethall Jess and Clonbrin Warrior. The early pace of Whoops Jack should decide it.
Heat 9 promises to be one of the highlights of the evening with the clash of Johnny O'Sullivan's Native Chimes (9.40) and Pat Buckley's Droopys Almond. The latter looked a huge prospect at Shelbourne but experience of the Limerick track could swing it for Native Chimes, which looked so good when chasing home Priceless Brandy in the Leger final.
Holland's Drive On Tipp is banker material in Heat 10 where he goes from the inside trap and his early pace should be too much for the likes of Brinkleys Blaze.
A few others to keep an eye on are Droopys Cabaye (7.40), Burnt Beans (8.40), Jaytee Barracuda (9.10) and Hovex Mick (10.25).
The IGB yesterday issued a strong response to Thursday's Prime Time on RTE 1.
They strongly refuted claims made about the Irish Greyhound Industry and pointed out, among other things, that the IGB operates the most intensive testing regime of any sport in Ireland and that annually it drug tests between 5,000 and 6,000 greyhounds at races, trials, sales and out of competition.