Friday 15 December 2017

Greyhound Racing: Puma's pace to catch eye on Shelbourne return

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Skywalker Puma will make his first visit to Shelbourne Park tonight since his sensational Irish Derby triumph at the track last September.

The Frances O'Donnell-trained superstar is booked in for a pre-racing trial in preparation for next weekend's Townview Foods Champion Stakes and then the ETS Irish Derby.

Matt O'Donnell yesterday reported that Skywalker Puma is in excellent form following his first race of the year at Limerick, which saw him smash the 550-yards track record.

There will be many eyes focused on the clock this evening when Puma goes through his paces.

Meanwhile, the fastest greyhound ever around Shelbourne, Paradise Madison, makes his eagerly anticipated return to racing in the ETS Derby Trial Stake. He sustained a serious injury back in March but did well in a trial last weekend and has pleased trainer Ollie Bray since then.

Hopefully this brittle star stands up to this evening's race as his presence in the Champion Stakes and Derby would be a huge boost.

PARADISE MADISON has a difficult enough task on his return, with Ardfert Thunder, Money Talks and Lodgefield Turbo particularly dangerous. He can win this on his best form but the main thing will be that he comes through unscathed.

The big race on the card is the final of the ECC Timber 550 and here Christys Bolt is an absentee due to his unfortunate hock injury.

With trap two vacant, PARADISE SILVA'S chances of clearing the bend will be much improved and Pat Buckley's charge can land the €5,500 prize.

This is a tough contest, with Graduation Day well housed, while the two Skywalkers, Star and Mandy, are in the form of their lives. Add in big-finishing Townspark Tucker and it is a lethal cocktail. But Paradise Silva looks a rare prospect and can shorten even further in the Derby lists.

Paddy Hennessy's LEAMANEIGH TURBO missed the start in the ECC last week but can make amends in the concluding race. Another worth noting is Paul Hennessy's BAREFOOT BANDIT, which will benefit considerably from last week's Dublin debut and can emerge victorious in the fourth contest.

One that really caught the eye last week was Paradise Madison's litter brother MALL BRANDY, and Martin Fahy's charge can step up to the plate in an Open 550.

Pilot off-colour

Priceless Pilot was withdrawn from last night's Corn Cuchulainn semi-finals at Harold's Cross due to being off-colour. He will now be aimed at the Irish Derby followed by the English St Leger.

Saturday yankee

Barefoot Bandit 8.32 Shel Pk

Mall Brandy 9.15 Shel Pk

Paradise Silva 10.0 Shel Pk

Leamaneigh Turbo 10.30 Shel Pk

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