Greyhound Racing: Sugar Ray earns shot at the title
A huge crowd enjoyed some terrific action in the semi-finals of the ETS Irish Derby at Shelbourne on Saturday night before news broke that the ante-post favourite Kereight King would not be able to contest next Saturday's final due to a broken toe.
The tone was set by a superb performance from the Conor Fahy-trained Tyrur Sugar Ray in the opening heat. He was only fifth to the opening bend as the 33/1 outsider Carrowgarriff shot out of traps and led up from Hawaii Kinsale and Isabels Boy.
Tyrur Sugar Ray then produced a massive surge of pace down the back to glide into second spot on the third corner with Carrowgarriff still holding the call.
Slippery Robert was also perfectly poised on the outside and almost on terms.
But when the nose of Tyrur Sugar Ray showed ahead on the final bend the result was inevitable and this flying machine then opened up a three-length margin by the line over Slippery Robert in 29.87 with Carrowgarriff a length and a half back in third.
The market in the second semi-final was dominated by Ballymac Vic and Kereight King but it was Cabra Buck which shot out of trap six and raced clear to the bend.
It was very tight on the inside with Ballymac Vic edging outwards and Kereight King moving in from his draw in four.
Cabra Buck cleared the bend by two lengths and led down the back from Ballymac Vic with Borna Gem and Kereight King having a real battle for third.
The brave Ballymac Vic could make no impression on Cabra Buck, which won by two lengths from Ballymac Vic in 29.83 and it was another two lengths to Kereight King, which just touched off Borna Gem by a short head for the last final spot.
Within minutes the news broke that Kereight King had broken a toe, which will be operated on this morning.
Incidentally, Ballymac Vic's cut paw opened slightly and he was again in poultice yesterday. Liam Dowling says he will run in the final unless an infection sets in.
For Graham Holland, it was a dream night with Cabra Buckbeing the highlight of a five-timer for the Golden-based handler.
John McGee had a double for the second week in a row in the Fair Warrior Sprint at Mullingar with Tasmanic Jaxx winning in 21.65 and Bulmers Baby in 21.50.
The other heat winners were Gortmelia Gorey in 21.37 and Holborn Mac in an identical time.