There are five finals on Friday night’s 10th birthday card at Dundalk Stadium (see feature), and local kennels have a strong representation in them. Also featuring on the programme, for which there are complimentary tickets available, are three Opens.
Valeries Courage carries an unbeaten record into the Gourmet Island 525 decider, and is not without a winning chance for Cooley Peninsula trainer, Peter Noone. The Co Meath-owned dog came very late to score in last Saturday night’s semi-finals, just edging out Skerries Harp.
Valeries has a little time of semi-final running to make up on Royal Raven, who is likely to go off favourite, but he is well housed in three and a quick exit could see him lead all the way.
Also in the line-up are two from Larry Jones’ Carrickmacross kennel, Sad Bean and Monaghan Hawk, and one from Craig Kelly’s place in Clogherhead, Beretta Hawk.
Pat Duffy and Harry Lawrence’s Tullna Amy is not too well drawn in the Droopys Stud Bitch 550 final, but should she come away fast then she’ll be there with a chance.
Kenneth Finnegan, whose kennels are not too far from Peter Noone’s, has Too Much Control going for him in the TG Veterinary Surgery 400 final, and here’s one who caused a huge surprise in the semi-finals. The Kinloch Brae dog held out for a narrow win to the obvious delight of those who supported him on the Tote. The win dividend – for a euro – was just over €30, while the trio paid in excess of €600, which is more the prize for the final.
Michael Conroy, who came in as a sub for Mayo against Dublin in the All-Ireland final, has a dog named after him running in the Catunda Kennels 550 final, Mickey Cee Mayo.
The Davitts clubman is part owner of the dog with well-known chef, Danny Cawley, and the lads could be celebrating afterwards. Their charge went fastest in the semi-finals, having also led the time test in the opening round.
The Impact Bathrooms Tri-Distance is not beyond Darver King. Paul McDonnell’s mid-Louth runner was excellent in the semi-finals, leading throughout for a six-and-a-half length win in a fast time.
Kevin Commins’ Ardee runner, Strike Force, and the other semi-final winner, Letterafterex, trained in Castleblayney by Catherine Kerr, will be among Darver King’s opposition, the latter likely to offer him his stiffest challenge.