GREYHOUND PREVIEW: The TV Trophy final is the big one in the UK on Saturday night at Oxford. Shelbourne Park stage the quarter finals of the Bresbet Easter Cup whilst at Limerick it’s the opening round of the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Puppy stakes. BARRY CAUL previews the action ….

TV Trophy Final at Oxford

Another super Saturday is in store this weekend for greyhound racings fans on both sides of the Irish sea. At Oxford on Saturday night, it’s the final of one of the most famous races in the sports history, the TV trophy. While back in Ireland the opening round of the 2024 Con and Annie Kirby Memorial gets underway at Limerick and at Shelbourne Park its quarter final time in the Easter Cup.

TV Trophy at Oxford

Ballymac Taylor had always looked like a staying career awaited her ever since her debut runaround Tralee in February of last year. After that run she made the switch to Mark Wallis where she really came into her own when switched to staying trips. She has now won from 500 meters all the way up to 925 meters and goes into this Saturdays TV Trophy final on the back of yet another track record breaking performance in the semifinals. She will go off odds on for the final and deservingly so. However, she won’t have it all her own way and there is little margin for error despite the distance. Oxford is not a circuit you can get to far behind at and there are a couple in here that will be looking to get first run on the favorite. Garfiney Blaze will be looking to do just that. High class when trained by Graham in Ireland he too has proved a real star since his switch to the UK. Blaze should have too many guns for Taylor in the opening part of the contest and if she were to be held up, he could be gone beyond recall. He doesn’t have too much to find on the clock and I fancy him to make all this Saturday night.

Easter Cup at Shelbourne

The news broke earlier in the week that Boylesports Coco has picked up a virus and won’t take her place in the second round, a real shame for connections but the issue is not a major one and the plan is to have her back in action for the Sporting Press Irish Oaks in May. She was due to run in heat one and now all eyes will be on Highview Splash who looks to have a good make-up. Splash showed some excellent form around Shelbourne late last year and looks to be returning to form with every run following his winter break. He should be hard to beat in this. I must give a mention to Hukum in here. Still available to 50s with the sponsors, he is highly likely to qualify this weekend and while I don’t think he can win the event, Adam Dunford’s powerhouse will be hard to keep out of the frame.

Undulation had her first race since September of last year when running out a comprehensive winner of her opening round heat. You would imagine there is more to come from the daughter of Pestana. She may take a step to her left on the run to the corner, but it’ll be fascinating to see how she gets on this weekend. Superfast Gordon got up late to deny the reopposing Ballymac Walt last weekend. Walt probably has the best of the draw but needs to stay on a little better. The other three Droopys Fidget, Pennys Lynx and Scotty Scheffler are all strong runner and will be powering home from halfway. Whichever one of that trio turns in front will have a say in the outcome.

Bens Teddy was the fastest of the opening round and he looks to be running as well as ever. Last years Irish Derby third really does fly from the third bend and will be difficult to oppose for the in-form Pat Buckley team. Its certainly the heat of the round and he will need the gaps to appear at the right times. His kennel companion Glengar Martha is better than her recent form suggests and is well drawn as the sole wide seed. Clona Duke is one of the fastest in training and is another with an excellent draw to work from. Such is the quality of this contest we have yet to mention De Lahdedah or Boylesports Bob. The pair are much better than they showed last week, and I feel De Lahdedah is due a break this Saturday night. Catunda Ciaran will be running on from halfway but needs luck. If pushed, I’ll just side with Bens Teddy to get the better of De Lahdedah and Clona Duke.

Graham Holland looks to hold the aces in the final heat on the night with Nomadic Nova and Clonbrien Treaty. Despite fading badly on the run-in last weekend, I expect Clonbrien Treaty to strip much fitter this weekend and prove to sharp for Nomadic Nove. Deadly Jet and Ballymac Marino can go up well and would have a say if either was able to dictate. Beepers Lariat has a good draw but needs to trap better. Local Runner Jetstream Breeze will be flying at the finish bet needs luck early.

Con & Annie Kirby Memorial at Limerick

One of the most informative events of the year gets underway at Limerick on Saturday night with the opening round heats of the Kirby Memorial. Its an event with a history of throwing up some stars or the future with recent winners Clonbrien Treaty and Swords Rex making it a double in successive years for trainer Graham Holland. This year’s event looks a hot as ever with Coolavanny Otto currently heading the market. Otto was runner up in the recent Juvenile Classic at Tralee behind Ballymac Patriot who is available at 10s. Carrick Keano will be my ante post selection. I was impressed with him at Shelbourne Park a couple of weeks back and he looks like a greyhound with a huge future, he can be backed at 12s. One at a massive price is Ian Reillys Phoenix Tyson. He won an A2 stake recently but looks to be improving with each run. He has fine early zip and the 150/1 on offer with some firms is an insult to the dog’s ability.

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