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Buzz of anticipation sets a truly big occasion apart
THERE is already a huge buzz in Dublin ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes.com Irish Derby final at Shelbourne Park, just the sort of anticipation that Wimbledon needs to aim to create when Hills’s record £125,000 purse is up for grabs next year.
There is no getting away from the fact that Shelbourne is seenas more of a ‘can’t miss’ occasion than Wimbledon these days and the huge annual pilgrimage from the UK is already under way. Connections of Steel City Cup winner Mill Bling Bling were early arrivals on Thursday and did not seem to be holding back!
One thing Shelbourne’s final does have in common with Wimbledon this year is the great storylines of all the finalists. Dolores Ruth is double-handed with Razldazls Bugatti and George, progressive and, possibly, regressive respectively, Krug Ninety Five is in a third Derby final, we have a Belgian-born trainer in Rockchase Bullet’s Ronny Wuyts and Dream Walker, handled by Jonjo O’Neill’s brother, Tom.
And what about Peter Cronin, whom victory for Rockview Head would complete an amazing hat-trick? He can already lay claim to having schooled this year’s Scottish Derby winner Taylors Cruise and then briefly trained at an early stage of his career Wimbledon hero Taylors Sky.
Away from Ireland, what a night Sheffield trainer Elaine Parker had on Thursday with her Mountjoy Rock making it six on the bounce when winning at Belle Vue, but kennelmate Rubo breaking a hock and, far more worryingly, husband Mick suffering a heart attack.
Thankfully he was reported on the long road to recovery on Friday and there was a further tonic with news that Mountjoy Rock had deservedly been named Greyhound of the Month for August after his record-breaking performance in the Peterborough Derby.
Mountjoy Rock saw off Taylors Sky to claim the monthly prize and there earlier further disappointment for the Derby hero when he was knocked out of the East Anglian version at Yarmouth after a troubled run.
Both trainer Charlie Lister and owner Steve Taylor were philosophical about the setback reasoning that you can’t win them all, and Taylors Sky is still the one to get past in Greyhoundof the Year reckoning although Lister is possibly right that another title – the Betfair Laurels at Belle Vue is a possible target – would not go amiss on that score.
The elimination of his main hope has left 11-times winning Yarmouth trainer Lister looking a bit threadbare this time, although his Yahoo Jamie was still fastest on Wednesday and he has Taylors Cruise surviving too. However, Chris Allsopp is making a concerted bid to land the title as he chases a first Trainers’ Championship and his three remaining hopefuls – Ballymac Ace, Brittons Empire and Fifos Rocket – arguably make him the one to beat.
Looking beyond Saturday, the imminent arrival of the Sky Sports cameras on Tuesday week has seen a very decent field attracted to Harlow for the bigwin.com Property Stakes heats on Sunday, while Monday night offers Puppy Derby winner Eden Star as the headline act in the Romford Puppy Cup heats.
There is hardly time to draw breath!
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