Our columnist rounds up all the latest news in the world of greyhound racing with Talking Dogs TV launched live from Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.
IRISH greyhound racing receives a boost tonight (Saturday) with the launch of Talking Dogs TV - and fans of the sport everywhere can tune in.
Broadcast every Saturday night from Shelbourne Park and featuring the action from the Dublin venue plus one other track, tonight’s fare comes from Limerick with the heats of the top-class Con & Annie Kirby Memorial - a superb night to launch this pay-per-view concept.
The Kirby Memorial, launched in 2013, is sponsored by JP and Noreen McManus and brings together the best Irish youngsters for top-class prize-money and prestige. It boasts a top-quality list of previous winners and, while a great competition in its own right, is very much seen as a pointer to the all-aged Classics.
The Limerick and Shelbourne action can be accessed via https://page.inplayer.com/TalkingDogsTV/ and will be hosted by Ian Fortune.
TALKING of top puppy events, Wednesday’s Newcastle card features the Arena Racing Company Northern Puppy Derby Final.
All the action can be seen on Sky Sports Racing with a strong supporting card with two other finals in addition to the puppy showpiece - in which Graham Rankin’s Jaguar Macie aims to land a famous double having plundered the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby at Monmore last month.
This outstanding bitch will need to beat champion trainer Patrick Janssens’ Bockos Melody, who matched Jaguar Macie’s semi-final time, plus Andrew Wood’s Rockmount Dizzee, who is bidding to follow up the same kennel’s success in the event with Droopys Trawler a few years back.
Steve Anderson’s Bramble Ontheup and Stuart Tighe’s Garys Diamond are hardly making up the numbers as leading pups to have also made the final, while Dannid completes the line-up. The latter is trained by Matt Dartnall for Andrea Wylie and top golfer Lee Westwood - and named after the well-known drag artiste. Dannid has developed a major following for those reasons - but can certainly run, too.
GREAT to see a match race on the card at Towcester next week.
The track has several major competitions lined up in 2021 and, having revived the Blue Riband earlier this year, launches a new event on Tuesday with the TRC Health and Hygiene Northamptonshire Sprint.
However the three-runner Towcester Marathon ‘Shoot-Out’ also spices the card and sees Three Ems, Savana Volcano and Aayamza Royale do battle over 942m for a winner-takes-all £1,000 purse - as a 13th race on the SportyStuff TV card.
Redzer Renae, who ran-up to Aayamza Royale in the TV Trophy, had been an intended runner but is currently sidelined and her return down the line will certainly spice a division with plenty of opportunities this year - including match races!
They certainly have a place in racecards, perhaps as an additional contest to the usual programme so novice racegoers - when allowed back in - don’t feel short-changed.
Conversely, form students enjoy them and connections revel in the rivalry - and in Towcester promoter Kevin Boothby, very much a dog man, it can be no coincidence that his Savana Volcano is taking part in Tuesday’s contest.
Match races tap into the very essence of sport’s competitive nature and, in this instance, absolutely harks back to greyhound racing’s origins with one man and his dog wanting to beat another man and his dog - in this case two men and one woman!
So good luck to the Paul Young-trained Three Ems, Diane Henry’s Savana Volcano and Mark Wallis’s Aayamza Royale.
Incidentally, a top-class entry was received by Towcester for the heats of the TRC Health and Hygiene Northamptonshire Sprint, which looks a superb addition to the list of Category One competitions in 2021.
Pick of the six heats on Tuesday is certainly heat two where Coral Golden Sprint winner Bockos Jon Jo takes on GBGB Sprinter of the Year Shrewd Call.
BEFORE then the semi-finals of the Cearnsport Springbok take place at Central Park on Sunday with the clash of Seaglass Smokey and Droopys Rex, both impressive heat winners, definitely the pick.
The superb jumping of Droopys Rex, in particular, has definitely been a feature of this year’s novice hurdlers’ championship - although up against fastest heat winner Seaglass Smokey and the speedy Coolavanny Archy will not make things easy.
Looking at the outright odds, support for big-priced Four Fifty Max might not be the worst thing. He showed great early speed last year and now lines up in the weaker second semi-final and a place in the first three could set things up nicely for the final. Fingers crossed.
IF you enjoy your football, greyhound racing - and all sport in general - make sure to catch the episodes on Youtube of ‘Teddy’ - the life and times of Teddy Sheringham MBE - which is helping to raise money for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Childrens’ Charity.
Produced by Steve Katz and Jimmy Flint’s Wapping Assasin/Blue Tuna companies, this seven-part series includes interviews with Teddy’s great friend Maurice Newman, himself a leading GOSH fundraiser, and a key player in setting up this project.
The series charts Sheringham’s career from junior football to European Cup winner, with Teddy’s love of golf and greyhound racing also included in later episodes.
‘Teddy’ is filmed by Steve Katz, a leading greyhound owner himself with the ‘Lemming’ racers, and sponsored by Nic Jeal’s Wood & Wood Signs company. With wife Amanda, Nic owns the ‘Antigua’-prefixed greyhounds.
Catch the first episode below. Any donations (£5) can be made by texting GOSHFIVE to 70125.