There is an unusual and unfortunate twist to tonight's ETS Irish Greyhound Derby with only five dogs lining up for the biggest prize in Irish Greyhound Racing.
Pat Curtain’s Kereight King, who qualified in third place in last Saturday’s second semi-final, was found to have broken a toe and will not be taking his place in the showpiece event at Shelbourne Park, which will be broadcast live on RTÉ Two television and around the world on RTÉ.ie/sport.
Curtain, who both trains and part-owns the dog, told The Racing Post: “I knew straight away that the Derby dream was over. The bone was sticking out of the skin on the toe and the vet said it was the worst toe-break he had seen in 50 years at the track.
"He was a very brave dog to qualify in the circumstances but I don’t want to dampen the final for the other owners and trainers.
"This is part and parcel of sport and we wish them the very best of luck in the final.”
Kereight King’s absence means that Trap 4 will now be vacant on the night.
Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Vic, who was an injury doubt ahead of his semi-final, starts on the inside, with Tyrur Sugar Ray in Trap 2.
The Conor Fahy-trained dog finished fifth in last year’s Derby Final, and has again impressed on the way to this year’s renewal.
Carrowgarriff, the only bitch in the race, starts in Trap 3, and will be hoping to repeat the flying start she had in the semi-final.
Cabre Buck, fastest dog in last week’s semi-finals when starting from the outside trap, will be looking to give Graeme Holland a win with his first Derby finalist from Trap 5.
Trainer Robert Gleeson is also having his first runner in the big event as Slippery Robert lines up in Trap 6.
The bookmakers cannot separate Ballymac Vic and Tyrur Sugar Ray with both being quoted as 7/4 favourites to land the title and the winner’s purse of €125,000.
Cabra Buck will jump off at around 3/1 with Slippery Robert at 9/2. Carrowgarriff is the outsider of the field at 33/1.
Live television coverage of the ETS Irish Greyhound Derby from Shelbourne Park from 20:30 on Saturday 14 September on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Worldwide).