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Greyhound racing: Barefoot Allstar's injury could be 'blessing in disguise'

The new sponsor for the Irish Greyhound Derby is expected to be unveiled inside the next month and rumours suggest that it will be a company not previously involved with the greyhound industry.

The deal will be for three years and will maintain the Irish Derby's position as one of the great Classics in the sport.

The Irish Derby was first sponsored back in 1970 when cigarette company PJ Carroll stepped in and they remained at the helm until 1988, when Kerry Group took over the classic.

Next up was the 'Ireland on Sunday' newspaper in 1997 and they were followed by Paddy Power in 2000. Ladbrokes have been the sponsors for the past three years. Meanwhile, Barefoot Allstar's defence of the Scottish Derby is now extremely unlikely after the Paul Hennessy-trained black hobbled in at the back of the field in a Limerick sprint on Saturday night.

The trainer reported yesterday that the dog is lame and sore but the extent won't be known until he visits the vet this morning.

"At this stage I think we can rule Scotland out, but hopefully he will be back in form for the English Derby at Wimbledon," said Hennesy.

"It could well turn out to be a blessing in disguise and we could end up with a very strong team for the English Derby. Money Talks and Priceless Sky are already booked in."

Hennessy has two finalists in the Gain Feeds Cesarewitch at Mullingar on Sunday, Ringtown Snowy and Priceless Pilot are the 9/4 joint second favourites with Paddy Power, while Gizmo Classic is a 5/4 favourite. It is 16/1 bar the three.

The Mullingar card will kick off at 6.0 and it will be a benefit for Offaly DSI. It will be a family occasion with face painting and pony rides.

The semi-finals of the Easter Cup will be run at Shelbourne on Saturday and Ballymac Vic is a best price 6/4 with Boylesports, while North Bound is next in the betting at 5/1. The Easter Cup has been full of shocks and punters will be treading carefully this weekend.

Ballymac Vic is perfectly drawn in trap one in the second semi-final, where he will have fellow second-round winners Murralli Junior, Cabra Buck and Hillcroft Champ among the opposition.

The other heat has Niall Dunne's North Bound, which could have a great battle with Droopys Adler.

Produce Stakes

The next Classic on the agenda will be the Red Mills Produce Stakes at Clonmel which will have a winner's prize of €20,200 from a total fund of €48,000. The entries close next Monday, with the first round commencing on Thursday week.

Irish Independent