GREYHOUNDS: Christmas Competitions semi-finals at Lifford Stadium

Greyhounds racing at Lifford Stadium in Donegal. (Picture Margaret McLaughlin �)
Greyhounds racing at Lifford Stadium in Donegal. (Picture Margaret McLaughlin �)

The semi-finals off all the Christmas competitons, kindly sponsored by McLean Bookmakers will be the main races on a 12 race card at Lifford Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night.

By ‘The Tracker’

After last week’s first round heats all three competitions look very open on form but having looked those races there are three greyhounds that I think have a good chance in their respective competitions. In the Christmas Surprise Sprint, ‘Count on Otto’ looks to have a great chance. The January ‘14 pup, owned by Ronan Mckeever had won its two previous races going into last week’s competition but he was stepping up a lot in grade last week but that proved no problem. He showed very good early pace to lead from traps and ran really well to win easily by over four lengths in a decent time of 19.05. That was his third win in a row at Lifford and he will be difficult to beat on that form in his semi final.

The semi-finals of the ‘www,betmclean 525’ look tough races but I thought that ‘Drumsna Pearl’ was the most impressive heat winner last week. The March ‘12 bitch had been running in top grade around Shelbourne Park in its previous races and it was surprising that she was freely available at 3/1 on the bookmakers boards. She was quickly away from trap four in her heat and showed great early pace and back straight pace. Although she did tire a bit in the home straight, she still won by over two lengths in a time of 28.95. She should improve from last weeks race and looks the one to be on in this competition.

The final competition on the card will be the semi-finals of the ‘Christmas Cracker 575’ where I selected ‘Tahina Ace’ to win its first round heat last week in this competition and he did not let me down. Well punted from 5/4 to a solid 4/5 before the off, ‘Tahina Ace’ never gave his followers a moment’s worry as he lead from trap two in his heat. From there the strong stayer was going to take some pegging back and he ran on strongly and won in a time of 31.88 in good fashion. The 575 trip around Lifford is tailor made for ‘Tahina Ace’ and he looks to have a great chance of winning this competition for his Co. Fermanagh trainer, Vera Croarkin,.

The first race will be at 7.50pm as normal.

Lotto Sprint final at Brandywell

The final of the lotto sprint will be the main race on the Brandywell card on Monday night. There were two semi-finals last week at the track with the first semi-final being won by ‘Lisneal Grace’, owned by Damien Barker, in a time of 17.30 with the unlucky ‘Our Liam’ - owned by Michael O’Kane - a short heat behind in second,

The second semi-final was won by ‘Sugarland Rose’, owned by Leslie Hunter in 17.26. It’s a interesting final and the two semi-final winners will probably start favourites but I’m going to take a chance on ‘Our Liam’ in this final as he was having his first race last week and ran as if he will improve a lot. So he is the selection to win for local owner, Michael O’Kane.

There were no winners of the track lotto last week. The numbers drawn were 16, 29 and 30. The jackpot now stands at £2,850 and tickets can be bought before the first race at 8.00pm.