Shelbourne Park to host return of top-flight Irish dogs in 2022

Shelbourne Park greyhound racing will return on January 15 2022
Top flight racing will return to Shelbourne Park on Saturday night, the first big race series of 2022 in Ireland. Picture: Supplied.

We may be only into our second week of racing for 2022 here in Ireland, but major events are already on the horizon and last weekend we saw the first-round heats of the Rural Kennels ON2 at Clonmel.

It’s an annual competition for unraced dogs who qualified in a standard a little below open class, but that’s not to say it doesn’t produce many a future star.

Last year’s winner Jackslittlething finished third in the 2021 Irish Greyhound Derby and the majority of the finalists over the past few years have gone on to have glittering careers.

Ireland’s leading Trainer Graham Holland has won this event for the past two years and he had a treble last Friday night with Swords Rex the fastest of the eight heat winners stopping the clock in 28:74 for the 480-meter trip. Holland was also responsible for Silverhill Frank (28:79) and Newinn Nifty (29:00), with the latter a half-sister to Newinn Taylor, the 2020 Irish Greyhound derby winner.

Owen McKenna trainer of last year’s derby and oaks champion Suzie Sapphire had a double on the night courtesy of Emers Spike 28:85 and Postman Cat 29:11. It’s a competition to keep an eye on over the coming weeks.


Susie Saphire due to return on Saturday night

Speaking of Susie Sapphire, she is due to have a comeback trial over 320m this Saturday Jan 15 at Shelbourne Park, this will be her first official outing since winning the derby last year, she completed a famous Oaks/Derby double in 2021, a month before her second birthday and McKenna reports her to be a stronger bitch this year.


Gold Cup to headline Shelbourne Park action

The first major open class event of the year kicks off at Shelbourne Park this Saturday night, the RCETS Gold Cup.

The Gold Cup carries a prize fund of just under AU$60,000 and as expected has attracted a host of big names including Grade one winners Good Cody, Priceless Jet, Ballymac Kingdom and Skywalker Barry. Also entered are the hugely fast Beach Avenue, recent Christmas oaks winner Clona Sky and early speedsters Serene Ace and Corbrack Prince.

Recent Dublin Cup winner Ballymore Border is an exciting youngster with a bright future, and he could be one to focus on at a big price, it promises to be an explosive start to the year.

RCETS is a new traceability system brought in by GRI (Greyhound Racing Ireland) over the past couple of years to track a greyhound.

The system is designed to track a racing greyhound through all its life stages including birth, microchipping, registration, racing career, change of ownership/trainer, location, export, retirement and end of life.


UK greyhound racing to be headlined by Essex Vase

In the UK we have a fine weekend of action ahead of us with the Essex Vase at Romford starting this Friday night (Jan 14) over 575m.

The London venue is a unique tight track with the 575m trip run over six bends. Warzone Tom is the Ante post favourite for outright honours at 4/1 with sponsors Coral. He’s three from four over the trip and has won six of his last seven starts.

Towcester, the home of the English Greyhound Derby, hosts the quarter finals of the Premarket Pets Blue Riband on Sunday Jan 16 and sees 2021 derby winner Thorn Falcon line up in the final heat.

Thorn Falcon was no match for Fabulous Azurra in the first round last week when she won in a competition fastest 29:22 for the 500m trip. Azurra was a finalist in the 2021 Rural Kennel un-raced stake we mentioned earlier in the piece, unfortunately she picked up an injury and won’t take her place in the upcoming quarter finals.

Brookside Richie was an impressive winner last week, after a poor start, He displayed real early zip to make the bend in front and there’s plenty more to come from this young son of Droopys Sydney, at 9/2 with Ladbrokes he still represents some value for outright glory.


Barry Caul’s best bets of the weekend

Barry Caul has nominated his best two greyhound tips for the weekend:

  • Ballymore Border (RCETS Gold Cup)
  • Brookside Richie (Coral Blue Riband 9/2)

More greyhound racing news

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