Greyhound Racing: Taggart hoping Droopys Jet can build legacy
The excitement is building ahead of Saturday's English Derby final at Wimbledon, with Irish-trained Droopys Jet and Ballymac Vic dominating the betting lists to such an extent that you can bet 8/1 bar the pair.
Early indications are that the biggest Irish crowd for many years will descend on the decrepit south west London venue.
One man will have a major double interest in the proceedings. Paschal Taggart is not only one of the three owners of the 6/4 favourite Droopys Jet but is also hoping to develop Wimbledon into a modern-day, luxurious sporting venue.
Taggart more than anybody realises the disgraceful condition of the venue and the crying need for a new thriving greyhound track in the Greater London area.
He is also utterly convinced that the future of the Irish greyhound breeding industry is dependent on a major transformation of the sport across the water.
The former chairman of the IGB is hugely excited by the progress of Droopys Jet, which he owns in partnership with his friends Laurence Blunt and Martin Wakefield, in the Classic but also recognises the brilliance of the Liam Dowling-trained Ballymac Vic.
Fraser Black, who trains Droopys Jet, skipped yesterday's pre-Derby lunch to remain with his dog at his temporary base with Nick Savva.
"I couldn't be happier with the dog and, while the draw could have worked out a little better for him, it is great to be in the final and to have the dog 100pc," he said.
All the big names among the ranks of Irish stayers have been entered for the Gain Feeds Corn Cuchulainn, which will commence at Harold's Cross on Friday night.
As of lunchtime yesterday there were some 30 entries in the book and racing manager Derek Frehill was confident of achieving the necessary 36 to facilitate six heats.
Topping the list is Declan Byrne's White Soks Roks, the Night of Stars 750 and Golden Jacket winner, but among his formidable rivals will be the brilliant litter sisters Volcano and Old Refrain, Ring A Chris, Razldazl Marilyn, Plutos Rena, Gifted Again, Hi Dibbles, Bricken Maley and Shanless Baby among others.
BUCKLEY'S BIG DOUBLE
Following his success in the Race of Champions on Friday night at Tralee, Cappawhite trainer Pat Buckley made it a big weekend double when winning the TSC Munster Derby at Clonmel on Sunday.
Buckley's winner was the Jerry and Owen Flynn-owned Universal Dream, which was third for much of the race but snatched the near-€5,000 prize by a short head from Ardrahan Zebo and Haughty Oscar in 28.81.
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