Milldean Panther has class to defy outside draw
It's one of the most significant weeks in the greyhound calendar, with the Boylesports International at Dundalk on Thursday, the Corn Cuchulainn at Harold's Cross the following night, followed on Saturday by the start of the two-run Champion Stakes at Shelbourne.
The Boylesports race doesn't justify the international tag due to the regrettable absence of any British-trained greyhounds, with just two runners bearing the names of a UK joint-owner.
However, it is still a highly interesting race with a massive prize of €20,000 for the single run and featuring the return to racing of superstar Milldean Panther.
He will find himself in the exalted company of Irish Derby winner Razldazl George and his litter brother, dual Betfair 600 winner Kingo, Oaks one-two Milldean Tally and Cabra Millie and rapidly improving Cox Cup winner Quail Hollow.
The draw has placed the Panther in trap six and it certainly is no help. He is an inside runner but did win the only previous time he wore the striped jacket -- but that was a puppy contest at Thurles.
Such is his outstanding talent that he is given the vote to lead home Razldazl George and Kingo in what should be the highlight of a terrific card at the border venue.
The Gain Corn Cuchulainn final brings together most of the top six bend performers in the country, three of them under the tutelage of Pat Buckley.
Incitatus should be best of the Buckley runners and if he can make as good a start as last week and clear the bend it would be the case of 'open the gates'. But he is drawn a long way out and the most consistent starter is the Bridie Moore-trained Stallone Bart and he is nominated as the likely winner of a tight battle.
Shaneboy Dream and Dogwithacollar are two well-drawn, strong stayers and they should also be involved.
Entries close at noon today for the Champion Stakes semi-finals and the Champion Plate, which is a valuable consolation event for the dogs that don't make the cut of 18.
There is already huge quality in the list, with the likes of Sparta Maestro, Ballymac Vic, Razldazl Jayfkay, Tibetan Skies, Power Of God, Barefoot Allstar, Rockchase Bullet and Danmar Benny among the leading fancies.