The local team of owners, Antoinette and Peter Norton, and trainer, the Dowdallshill-based Seamus O’Hanlon, go in search of another big prize this Friday night.
Running for the trio in the final of the prestigious Texacloth Puppy Derby is Ask Tom, and though the Tipperary-owned Borna Magic is almost certain to go off favourite, the Dundalk dog is not with a chance of causing an upset.
Connections will be encouraged by their charge’s fine run in the semi-finals. Faced by Borna Magic,
Ask Tom didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages, but finished with a flourish to take third.
He has drawn three in the final, and who knows, he could well emulate Black All-Star, winner of a big Shelbourne Park puppy event for the same team a few seasons back.
The semi-finals of the Irish Derby go ahead at Shelbourne on Saturday, night and main focus here will be on Razldazl George. Winner of the title last year, the Dolores Ruth-trained brindle is part-owned by Blackrock’s Billy Marks, and after making a slow start in defence of his title, the title-holder is now running better than ever, his second place in the semi-finals coming after he been denied a clear run.
Another who’ll attract attention, especially around these parts, is Coolykereen Imp. This lad won an opening round heat of the Bar-One Racing Irish Sprint Cup a number of weeks back, but was then withdrawn in order to commence his challenge for Derby glory.
Greybeards will recall that way back in 1975, a Dublin-trained dog by the name of Shifting Shadow followed the same route, winning a sprint competition heat at the Ramparts before being switched to Shelbourne.
Coolykereen Imp’s owner, John Byrne, from Lurgan, is no doubt hoping his runner can emulate Shifting Shadow, who, having navigated his way through the preliminaries, scored an outstanding triumph on Derby final night, trained by Dubliner, Podger Molly.