Dog chat: Dowling eyes final spot for 'bouncing' Ballymac
Ballymac Vic is an odds-on favourite to win the Connolly's Red Mills Irish Laurels in advance of Saturday's semi-finals at Curraheen Park.
Liam Dowling's dog has been imperious in the Classic, winning his three rounds by an aggregate distance of 17 and a half lengths, setting a track record in the second round. But the Laurels takes a lot of winning and this event is building towards a thrilling finale, with massive early pace involved.
Dowling yesterday had an upbeat report of Ballymac. "He is in much better form than he was last week and he is bouncing," he said. "Fingers crossed it remains that way as he has done a lot of running.
"The main thing will be qualifying for the final -- I would be really thrilled to get there."
Ballymac seems to have the best draw in trap two in the second heat. On the inside will be Allen Master, which takes the paint off the rails and is ideally positioned to give Marie Gilbert a Laurels finalist.
Boherna House and Confident Hawke are other big early pacers, while Liveanddangerous and Ballybough Hawke will be flying home.
In the second semi-final there is some staggering early pace involved. All six can fly out of the traps, and Dolores Ruth's reigning champion Razldazl Rioga is ideally positioned in two.
He is flying but will need to be at his best with the likes of Tinas Nova, Knockglass Billy, Camas Crash, Ashfield Impact and Cashen Mafuma in opposition.
There will be a special Red Mills greyhound forum staged at Curraheen Park on Monday night which will be broadcast live on RTE News Now, available on Saorview, www.rte.ie and on RTE apps between 8.0 and 9.0.
The first half of the forum will feature a preview of the Laurels final, while the second section discusses the Irish greyhound industry.
Questions must be submitted in advance of the night and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. A number of spaces are available for those who wish to attend: they should apply to the same address.
Entries for the valuable Catunda Harry Munster Puppy Cup at Clonmel are scarce, and the event is due to close today. At the moment there is a danger the event may have to be put back.