THE draw for the opening round of the 2021 Friends & Supporters of Cork Greyhound Racing Irish Laurels took place at Curraheen Park on Monday evening.
As expected, it's another magnificent event with so many magnificent trackers.
The Patrick Guilfoyle trained Good Cody; a recent winner of the Bar One Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk will start as one of the leading fancies.
He was out of luck in the opening round of the SIS Juvenile Derby at Shelbourne Park last week, but he remains one of the most exciting trackers in the country.
Runner-up in the final of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby, the Pat Buckley trained Singalong Sally will be a huge attraction in the event.
A winner of the Juvenile Classic in Tralee, she will have plenty of supporters.
English Derby finalist Ballymac Fairone is another exciting entry along with the warrior Ballymac Wild. Both trained by Liam Dowling, they will be expected to be involved in the business end of the competition.
A quarter-finalist in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby, the early paced Droopys Good, who is trained by Owen McKenna, should be ideally suited to the Cork circuit.
Mark O'Donovan's Skywalker Barry, a winner of the Select Stakes and also the Clona Blaze @ Stud Open 525 around course and distance earlier this year is another standout entry.
Graham Holland has a very strong team, Monraud Thunder, Romeo Magico and Rural Star are notable entries.
The Johnny Linehan-trained Broadstrand Ryan will be one of the leading Cork fancies as the Blarney handler will bid to make it back-to-back Laurels titles. Con Guiney's Jacob Tashadelek is another interesting contender for Cork fans.
In 2020 the final proved itself to be a competitive affair with the popular John Lenihan trained Runninta Seeya winning after an exciting photo-finish final! This year an equally competitive event is anticipated.
The Irish Greyhound Laurels has a long & proud history in Cork, as the premier racing event of the year.
It was run for the 1st time in 1944 in the old Western Road track over a distance of 500 yards.
Robeen Printer was the first winner in a time of 28.98. This year marks the 77th running of the event.
Legendary Cork GAA figure Jimmy Barry Murphy believes the Laurels is one of the highlights of the year.
“The Laurels continues to be the highlight of the racing calendar for us here in Cork and has an impressive first-place prize of €30,000 up for grabs. "We believe that it is second only to the Irish Greyhound Derby, and we look forward to 5 weeks of top-class racing.
"Once again I wish to thank all of those who along with Greyhound Racing Ireland have guaranteed the prize-money for this Classic competition until 2023."
The 2021 Laurels will begin on Saturday, 25th September and will run for five consecutive Saturdays, with the final hosted on Saturday, October 23rd.