Ian Fortune

On Thursday evening, after the heats of the Open Unraced Bitch Stake, the final of NTSC A2 Tri Distance provided a tremendous spectacle at Newbridge.

Run over the 575yd trip, Paula and Maurice Heffernan’s Valegro (Ballymac Vic/ Higher Level) and Donal Brennan’s Night Time Danny (Sh Avatar/ Nom De Plume) served up a thriller.

Valegro took up the running at halfway and seemed set to come home clear but a flying finish from Night Time Danny saw him join the pace-setter on the line. The pair couldn’t be separated in the photo finish and the judge called a dead-heat in 31.53.

It really was a wonderful contest and further confirmed the notion that variety really is needed in greyhound racing. It wasn’t your typical Tri-Distance either as only two distances were used. The opening round was run over 575yds, the semi over 550yds and Thursday’s decider was back over 575yds but the very nature of the competition meant it was something different and that’s what we need to keep the racing scene fresh.

Two nights later, Shelbourne Park offered up a card on Easter Cup semi final night with races over four different distances, 350yds, 525yds, 550yds and 750yds. This Saturday, the final of the Ladbrokes Easter Cup and the supporting card from Shelbourne Park will be shown live on RPGTV and variety is again likely to give the evening a tremendous flow.

There will be races run over many distances. In fact, there could be as many as six different distances used on the twelve-race card. Of course, that is no surprise as the major nights at Shelbourne Park have always offered races over many distances. But, perhaps, it’s time to introduce this train of thought to midweek and lesser nights.

And why not run the odd eight bend race? Advertise it early, spread the word and hopefully said races would fill. Now that would really add to the variety.  

There’s no doubt punters prefer a bit of variety and a mix of sprint, middle distance and staying races would certainly ensure a few extra bodies make their way to the track when we do finally re-open to the public.