Tuesday 16 January 2018

Greyhound Racing: Rail draw can help Christys Bolt make hay in Timber

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Back in May at Clonmel, the final of the Red Mills Produce Stakes resulted in a length-and-a-half victory for Christys Bolt over Graduation Day.

The pair will renew rivalry in the first semi-final of the ECC Timber Open 550 at Shelbourne Park and the clash is expected to provide some fireworks.

Since then Graduation Day has been bought by former soccer star Niall Quinn on behalf of his children Aisling and Mike and is now trained by John McGee.

He came right back to top form last week when leading all the way to win easily in 29.65 and is likely to go off favourite to follow up.

But Owen McKenna's CHRISTYS BOLT (10.0) has had a break and he ran on very strongly last week after missing the start in the first round – and the trap one draw could well see him confirm his earlier superiority.

Mind you, with Fear Big Star and Skywalker Mandy among the opposition, this is far from an outright match.

The second semi promises to be another cracker, with Skywalker Star and Paradise Silva reopposing after last week's battle, which the former won by a neck.

I was surprised that PARADISE SILVA (10.15) was overtaken last week after leading but am prepared to give Pat Buckley's tracker another chance.

However, Paddy Hennessy's Leamaneigh Turbo and his conqueror of last week, Highview Speed, also enter the reckoning here in what should be the race of the night.

With the ETS Irish Derby just five weeks away, the result of the concluding 550 will be particularly relevant with the likes of Ardfert Thunder, North Bound and Nothing Simple being taken on by the rising star Mall Brandy and the established duo of Whatsonjack and Abbeyville Tipp.

If ARDFERT THUNDER (10.30) can make one of his better starts, he might just get the early run on the field.

Talking of the Derby, the Waterford Trial Stake will be run this evening and, while one doubts if any of the participants will make any impact in the Classic, the honours can go to track specialist Caretaker Jo.

Dundalk's card will feature the semi-finals of some stakes that will conclude on the International card next Friday, and one that stands out is Larry Mason's AIRLIE DAZZLER (10.40) in his step up to 620 yards.

Liz moves in

Liz Cribbin has been appointed the new general manager at Limerick Stadium in succession to Imelda Cahalan.

Liz (nee Igoe) formerly occupied the same position at Curraheen Park prior to moving to the IGB in Limerick. She will take up her new role on Monday next.

Saturday Yankee

Christys Bolt 10.0 Shelbourne

Paradise Silva 10.15 Shelbourne

Ardfert Thunder 10.30 Shelbourne

Airlie Dazzler 10.40 Dundalk

Irish Independent

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