The 32 heats of the first round of Europe’s richest greyhound race will be run over three consecutive nights from Thursday August 5th to Saturday, August 7th.
There will be an advance purchase Festival ticket giving three nights admission for the price of two at €20, and the move has already been welcomed by English trainers and greyhound fans who would be travelling to Dublin for the opening heats.
“This is a great idea which will encourage even more entries and a bigger travelling group from Britain as well as from around Ireland,” said four times Wimbledon English Derby winning trainer Nicky Savva.
The new Aviva Stadium which fills the horizon at Shelbourne Park will have its first rugby and soccer matches in the days preceding the Ladbrokes Greyhound Derby Festival. An invitation will be extended to Sir Alex Ferguson to attend the first night after his Man United team has played at the stadium on the Wednesday night.
“We had a very successful Derby last year,” said Shelbourne Park Manager Patrick Flynn, “But 2010 will be the best yet and we believe the opening round Festival will give the competition a great start.”
Ladbrokes are putting up a ‘bounty’ of €80,000 in addition to the first prize of €120,000 should last year’s record breaking College Causeway come out of retirement and defend his crown.
“This is already shaping up to be one of the best competitions in Shelbourne’s long history,” said Ladbrokes spokeswoman Hayley O’Connor. “Thurlesbeg Joker heads our market at 16/1, while English Derby winner Bandicoot Tipoki and last year’s superstar College Causeway are both 25/1 chances. The race will start less than four weeks after the World Cup ends and will be on us in a flash.”