Greyhound Racing: Barry-Murphy launches 70th Irish Laurels in Cork
Cork hurling manager and greyhound enthusiast Jimmy Barry-Murphy took a break from his hectic week when visiting Curraheen Park to launch the Red Mills Irish Laurels, which will again be sponsored by the Goresbridge company this year.
The Laurels has been run in Cork since it was first staged in 1944 and this will be the 70th running of the 525-yard classic. Last year was the first time that Red Mills sponsored it and Gareth Connolly was present at Curraheen to join the hurling legend in confirming their continued involvement.
The first round will be run on Saturday, September 21, with the final to be shown live in a two-hour programme on TG4 on Saturday, October 19.
The winner's prize will be €30,000 and, as reported yesterday, reigning champion Knockglass Billy will be defending his title. There will also be a bonus payment of €3,000 for the bitch which progresses furthest in the classic.
Yesterday we mentioned that Graham Holland and Larry Dunne are the only people with a double interest in the ETS Irish Derby in advance of the semi-finals. However, Glenamaddy owner PJ Fahy also has a strong double interest in the classic and his two charges will clash in the first semi-final.
Fahy's Tyrur Sugar Ray is bidding to reach the final for a second year, while alongside him in trap three is Carrowgarriff, a bitch that is owned by Eleanor Mullins and Eimear Curtin from Gort and which is a daughter of Wicked Marita.
Wicked Marita is a daughter of Tyrur Ted and Tyrur Marita and was bred by Fahy. She is actually a litter sister to Fahy's first Derby winner Tyrur Rhino.
Fahy is hoping for a big run from Tyrur Sugar Ray and said: "He is in great form and came out of the race at the weekend well. He checked out perfectly yesterday and fingers are crossed that he qualifies from a tricky draw. Third place will do this week, the final is the one you want to win!"
There will be the usual €1,000 Jackpot guarantee at Shelbourne this evening and Paudie Ryan's Jackal Frampton (9.30) can turn over the fastest qualifier Ballinveala Deco in the final of the Bridge Turf Lawns A3.
Another worth noting is Pat Dalton's Old Refrain (9.45), which has her first race since May, but she can be too strong for rivals in the Novice 750.
The final of the Red Mills 600 will be run at Enniscorthy tomorrow night and Rita Downey's Monleek Force (9.15) must be a very strong fancy from a favourable draw in six.
He finished very strongly last week on his first run over the Enniscorthy track and can get home from Myella Lucky and Willow Man.