Peter Farrell

This Saturday night will see the opening round heats of the 2022 Con & Annie Kirby Memorial get underway at Limerick Greyhound Stadium and its set to be one of the hottest on record based on the first round draw which was made yesterday afternoon.

Given the wealth of young talent in the Country at present, it is no surprise that they have all flocked to Limerick for the richest Juvenile event on the calendar. As a result, the classic will carry an additional heat and there will now be thirteen races on Saturday night’s Limerick card as opposed to the standard twelve. Of the opening round heats, three will automatically qualify for the second round, with the nine fastest fourth-placed greyhounds also progressing into the next round.

As expected, the draw was littered with stand-out performers and it didn’t take long for them to start flowing out of hat at 1pm yesterday afternoon. Swords Rex was a recent winner of the Rural Kennels Unraced at Clonmel and Graham Holland’s charge will get his Kirby tilt underway in heat two where the Michael O’Donovan-trained Burnchurch Best is amongst some powerful opposition.

As with many classics, there is always a heat of death and this is certainly the case with heat nine. Magical Mary, Priceless King, Crafty Kokoro and Scoobys Prince all take their place in a lineup which is worth the entry fee alone.

Another exciting buckle is guaranteed in heat seven when the Pat Guilfoyle-trained Juvenile Classic winner, Wi Can Dream, is drawn against Tralee 525 record breaker, Ballinabola Ed. Both greyhounds arrive at Limerick with glowing reputations and will be fancied by many to go deep into this year’s showpiece event. Indeed, that isn’t the only rivalry to renew from Tralee on the night. In heat three, Droopys Edison will meet Coolavanny Hoffa and that is expected to be another thrilling contest.

Other standout entries set to grace Limerick on Saturday night are recent Tralee 570 record breaker, Bobsleigh Dream who runs in heat four, while Magical Kuba is another with massive potential and he runs in heat six where The Other Kobe represents his main threat. Lenson On Ice is one to keep an eye on in heat eight when he meets Dundalk Trial Stake winner Deadly Showtime, and Da Bold Freddie is another who could give Michael Corr a nice spin in heat twelve after some sparkling performances in this year's Juvenile Classic.

Click HERE to view the opening round draw of the 2022 Con & Annie Kirby Memorial and a reminder that a full preview of the first round will be available on Talking Dogs on Saturday morning.