A WINTER FESTIVAL TO GET EXCITED ABOUT

Ian Fortune

Following the postponement of the 2020 Night of Stars, Greyhound Racing Ireland have stepped forward in a swift manner to fill the gap on the calendar with a hugely exciting weekend of racing action.

The RCE/ GRI Winter Racing Festival will provide some incredible racing over the weekend of Friday, December 4th and Saturday December 5th.

The feature action will take place on the second night to coincide with the final of the €15,000 IGOBF National Puppy Stake. There will be a thirteen-race card consisting of eight one-off Open races worth a wonderful €2,500 to the winner and a further four races worth €1,750 to the winner.

The races will be run over all distances and will give many of Ireland’s best greyhounds the opportunity to sign the year off in style.

Graham Holland has already intimated that he will look to run both his Derby champions, Lenson Bocko and Newinn Taylor, on the night, while Pat Buckley is also keen on the idea and could target his English Derby champion Deerjet Sydney at the gala evening.

The €2,500 races will be run over all distances from 350yds to 750yds, while there are also plans to run a Bitch 525 and a Bitch 550. The €1,750 races will include a race for syndicate owned greyhounds, a veteran’s race, an Open Juvenile 525 and a second Open 525.

Leinster Racing Manager, Derek Frehill said of the festival, “We’re absolutely delighted to able to put together a weekend of racing such as this in what are extremely difficult times. Like everyone I was disappointed when the Night of Stars was, understandably, cancelled but hopefully the winter racing festival will in some way make up for this. I am confident that this festival will be well supported by all owners and trainers and we can’t wait to see some of our best greyhounds back in action again this year”

Frank Nyhan, Chairman of RCÉ added "2020 has been a difficult year for all. RCÉ want to end it on a high and also mark the new beginning for RCÉ/ GRI. What better way of doing that than to showcase the best talent in Irish greyhound racing during the year. I hope the night delivers a welcome boost to all involved in the greyhound community and is something that we can all look forward to with anticipation over the coming weeks"

The Friday night action will include the semi finals of the valuable Dublin Cup, a number of sweepstake finals and four supporting opens. The full breakdown for the Winter Racing Festival can be seen below, while there will be a full press release on Monday to announce the launch of the RCE/ GRI Winter Racing Festival.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5TH

The eight €2,500 races have an entry fee of €150

1.             Open 350 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

2.            Open 525 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

3.            Open Bitch 525 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

4              Open 550 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

5              Open Bitch 550 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

6              Open 575 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

7              Open 600 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

8              Open 750 – Winner €2,500, R-up €500, Third €250

The remaining Open races have and entry fee of €100

9               Open “Old Stagers” 525 (3.5yrs and older) – Winner €1,750, R-up €400, Third €200

10             Open Juvenile 525 (whelped Oct 18 or later) – Winner €1,750, R-up €400, Third €200

11              Open Syndicate 550 – Winner €1,750, R-up €400, Third €200

12              Open 525 – Winner €1,750, R-up €400, Third €200

13              Final of the IGOBF Puppy 525 Winner €15,000

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4TH

To compliment Saturday’s card there is a high class card on Friday, December 4th that will feature the finals of a number of 12 dog sweepstakes, the semi-finals of the Dublin Cup and some one-off races.

  1. Semi Final Dublin Cup – Winner €6,000
  2. Final of A0 525 (12 Dog Sweep) – Winner €1,750, Entry €50
  3. Final of A1 525 (12 Dog Sweep) – Winner €1,750, Entry €50
  4. Final of AO/A1 600 (12 Dog Sweep) – Winner €1,750, Entry €50
  5. Final A2/A3 525 Spk Regular (12 Dog Sweep)- Winner €1,250, Entry €50
  6. Final A3 No Backgraders (12 Dog Sweep) – Winner €1,750, Entry €50
  7. Open 525 – Winner €1,000, Entry Fee €50
  8. Open 550 – Winner €1,000, Entry Fee €50
  9. Open Novice 525 – Winner €500, Entry Fee €30
  10. A1 Syndicate 525 – Winner €600, Entry Fee €30