Dog chat: Ladbrokes deal gives massive boost to Irish Derby
Ladbrokes Ireland will be the new sponsors of the Irish Greyhound Derby and will support the race for the next three years.
The new tie-up was announced at a reception in Shelbourne Park yesterday, with Irish Greyhound Board Chairman Dick O'Sullivan warmly welcoming the new sponsors aboard.
He said: "It has been a difficult past 12 months for all sport and business but this is a great start to 2010 and the pulse of the sport will be racing faster as a result of this announcement. We are thrilled to welcome Ladbrokes on board and I have no doubt we will have a long and profitable association."
Paddy Power Bookmakers had supported the Derby for the past 10 years and Ladbrokes will be hoping that they can get a final next September to rival College Causeway's fantastic victory last year.
It's hoped that College Causeway will be back from stud duty to defend his title but, one way or another, the Ladbrokes Irish Derby will be the focus of the greyhound world between August 4 and September 11.
In confirming the sponsorship, Joe Lewins, Managing Director of Ladbrokes (Ireland), said: "The Irish Greyhound Derby is regarded as a prestigious sporting event both at home and afar, and our association heralds the start of exciting times for Ladbrokes and the broader greyhound industry.
"It is an event that captures the hearts and minds of the Irish sporting public and we intend to deliver that sense of sporting excellence to a wider global audience than has ever been the case up until now."
Further good news for the greyhound industry was forthcoming over the weekend with the confirmation that Gain Feeds will again sponsor the Irish Cesarewitch at Mullingar and this 600 yards classic will be run between March 13 and April 4.
The Tote Gold Cup has attracted a top-class entry and there will be a full dog 48 line-up for the first round on Saturday at Shelbourne. Entries close at 11am today.
The big race of the weekend will be the final of the Vetsearch International Kennedy Cup at Limerick on Saturday and there will also be a top-class supporting card.