GREYHOUND PREVIEW: It’s the end of season Winter Racing Festival at Shelbourne Park this weekend Friday/Saturday. Over €100,000 is on offer in prizemoney on the Saturday night alone, so as you would expect it has attracted the best greyhounds around.

Winter Racing Festival at Shelbourne Park

The end of year bonanza that is the Winter Racing Festival takes place this weekend at Shelbourne Park on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s card features the final of the Shelbourne Park A0/A1 600 but its Saturday night that the action steps up a level featuring races over distances from 350 yards to the stamina sapping 850-yard contest. Last weeks St Leger winner Clonbrien Treaty will once again lock horns with his kennel mate Swords Rex. The 2022 St Leger champion Bobsleigh Dream lines up in trap one on the inside of one time Derby favourite De Lahdedah, Another Holiday and Champion Stakes winner Trinity Junior complete the line up in one of the races of the night. Let’s look at all the action on a star-studded night at Shelbourne Park.

Race 1. 19:15

Daleroad Duke gets the nod for me in a thrilling opener. Behind the reopposing Jacktavern Bolt here on Nov 18th Patrick Guilfoyle’s son of Good News is drawn to reverse the placings. A fine winner on Nov 4th from this draw when posting a rapid third bend sectional Duke can make all if starting on terms. The key to the race is holding Jacktaven Bolt to the opening turn, a level start should suffice, and I predict big things in 2024 for Daleroad Duke. Seven Beach produced an eye-catching trial last Saturday night and Jetara looked a potential star earlier in his career but needs to step up on his latest trial effort. For me Daleroad Duke is one of the better bets on the card and can take the opener at the expense of Jacktavern Bolt.

Race 2. 19:29

The sprinters are in action in the second race on the card and it’s a cracking line up to say the least. Road Exile got the better of Ballinakill Alf at Limerick last weekend when he flashed from traps to make all. Before that run Alf had got the better of Road Exile on two occasions and I expect him to confirm the Shelbourne form once again. For a sprinter, Ballinakill Alf’s habit of missing the kick is certainly cause for concern. However, once he hits the ground his early pace is simply sensational and let’s be honest, he is due a start! Irish Sprint Cup winner Carrick Aldo must be feared from trap four while Get It Right produced a smart comeback run here last Saturday night. Pavilion Fire has a fine strike rate while Cree Jo Jo should improve on his recent comeback run. Jo Jo is the track record holder for this trip at Limerick but may need a couple more runs to get back to peak fitness. I’ll side with Ballinakill Alf to prove too strong in race two.

Race 3. 19:47

Recent St Leger finalist Ballinabola Una has been handed a plum draw in the bitch contest over 550. Una has some smart form over this trip at Shelbourne Park and has been drawn to go close. Undisputed was out of luck on her return to action at Limerick last weekend but her previous trial had been encouraging. She should step forward and is another who has some smart from around here. Laurels Runner up Easy Razzle has a perfect draw out in six and has a chance if she can hold her pitch early. My vote just goes to Undisputed to make all and see off Ballinabola Una.

Race 4. 20:06

Mr Chelm ran a blinder in the recent St Leger when showing massive mid race pace after a slow start. Drawn in trap one for only the fourth time in his career tonight (won all previous three) he can make the most of his rail’s pitch for trainer Peter Cronin. Mr Chelm runs Shelbourne well and has posted 29:21 around here this year. Clonroosk Sydney looks to be his main danger but can be a little tardy at boxes. Clona Curly looks to be a puppy with a bright future but takes on some experienced performers in this. The prolific Miami King has won his last three but faces his toughest test to date. Ballymac Walt set the pace in a good contest over further last time out and is not without a chance. Sogna In Grande won a decent contest at Limerick last Saturday but this looks tougher. Mr Chelm is put forward to make the most of his draw and get the better of Ballymac Walt.

Race 5. 20:26

One of the hardest races on the card. The early yards will be vital. You would imagine whatever leads will take all the beating. All six can fly to the turn. Predicting which one will do it on the night isn’t easy. A tentative vote goes to Ballymac Finn, but it’s a very tricky contest.

Race 6. 20:46

UK Raider Droopys Clue will attract plenty of support from his army of fans, but in this contest, he faces some of Irelands best stayers. On the face of it you would think Droopys Clue has a good draw between Pablo Escobark and McNeill. Although that pair are not renowned for their early pace, they are well capable of a smart break. The run to the first bend in the 750 trip is a short one and Droopys Clue could find himself on the back foot early. Derby finalist Threesixfive may have a decent draw in six despite being an inside seed. Scott Phelans star bitch has some cracking form over this trip and has moved well in a couple of prep trials. Kinturk Road is another with a fine record over the trip and she will look to make all. On her best form Kinturk Road will be tough to beat. Garfiney Blaze has a good record and is capable on his day.

Race 7. 21:05 (I.G.O.B.F National Puppy Final)

The inside duo look set to dominate the market, Scooby Countess and Whyaye Bonnylad. On last weeks running Bonnylad just shades it on the clock, but the trap draw gives Scooby Countess a real chance. The early yards will be crucial. Despite his age Whyaye Bonnylad has plenty of experience around here and your eye is drawn to his 1.97 sectional. If he can repeat that sort of split time he’ll surely lead and be hard to beat. Dunnanelly Fred and Jim By Two are not out of it but may need a little luck. There is a possibility of the inside two coming together on the run to the corner and that may allow the others play a part. It’s a good final and all six should star on the track in 2024.

Race 8. 21:24

Ballymac Katie will be the shortest priced favourite of the night when she lines up in the stamina sapping 850-yard contest. Her main market rivals will be Hukum and Jacktavern Bella. Katie is not expected to play a part in the early proceedings, but she will be storming home from halfway. Hukum will be popular, high class over four bends he may set the pace and any trouble in behind will aid his cause, but it’s hard to look past Ballymac Katie.

Race 9. 21:38

The prolific Droopys Mandolin comes here after winning the Galway Oaks when last seen in action. She has an incredible record of ten wins from thirteen starts and is well drawn on the fence. Popular local Rathdown Molly will have her supporters on the night. Molly has been keeping top company around here in recent weeks and go well despite a middle draw. English Oaks runner up Jet Stream Angel deserves a mention but she must do everything right on her return to Shelbourne Park. Bockos Crystal just failed in her bid to win this years Irish Derby. She was a select Stakes finalist in Nottingham earlier in the week, she faces a tough draw and need a fast start. I think this could be one for the locals and I’ll just side with Rathdown Molly to take race nine.

Race 10. 21:54

For many the race of the night. Clonbrien Treaty will be popular as he looks to confirm recent form with Swords Rex. For me Clonbrien Treaty is a better dog around Limerick. Treaty has won nine of his thirteen starts at Limerick while his record at Shelbourne stands at just two wins from ten outings. Swords Rex is running a shade below his best but a return to Shelbourne could see him return to top form and he’s not without a chance. On his best form Another Holiday could easily make all while Champion Stakes winner Trinity Junior has a chance but faces a tricky draw. De Lahdedah is a dog with incredible pace. His trapping can sometimes be an issue and he may have to avoid Another Holiday on the run up, but if he can hold his position on the run to the corner, he is the most likely winner for me. Bobsleigh Dream can never be discounted. She will be doing her best work from halfway and will need the gaps to appear in the second half of the contest. A genuine case can be made for all six but I’ll just side with De Lahdedah to come out on top.

Race 11. 22:08

Blackstone Lacey got the better of Gaytime Hugo last time out at Limerick and the pair should feature at the business end in this contest. Optic Chico was a good winner of a strong race here last time out but will need to come away racing if he’s to have a say. Recent Derby finalist Bens Teddy has a perfect draw in trap one. He runs Shelbourne Park well and can go up smartly with a decent start. He can’t afford to give the leaders too much rope but hopefully he can make one of his better starts and gain the big race victory his talents deserve.

Race 12. 22:22

Sober Glory ran an absolute cracker when third in the St Leger Final last weekend. He was the fastest semifinal winner of that event but missed the break badly in the final before storming home for the bronze medal. Hes obviously in super form and can start fast from this draw. He will need to as Beepers Lariat could be a torn in his side on the run up. Lariah was himself a Leger finalist and could improve if getting to the front. He runs this place well as he showed in this years Derby Plate. Derby Finalist Music Glideaway can fly from traps and would be hard to catch if doing so. Similar comments apply to the inside pair of Jetstream Breeze and Ballymac Marino while local runner Lotto Six One is running at the top of his game but faces the toughest test of his career. The early yards will be crucial, but a tentative vote goes to Sober Glory. Keep Beepers Lariat in mind at a big price. He is not without a chance.

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