Brendan Teer should be the athlete to watch in the Rollercoaster Road Races promoted by East Down AC round the perimeter of Downpatrick Racecourse on Saturday.
Teer has been missing recently with injury after winning at Comber and placing second at Ballyclare but should be in shape to retain his title in the colours of the promoting club.
David O’Flaherty and David McNeilly came second and third in last year’s race and will be in a Newcastle line-up which should include the in-form Seamus Lynch, the winner at Stormont, and David Steele.
East Down will also have Barrie Atkinson winner of the Greenmount Masters and Martin Wilcox while Annadale’s Paul Carroll and Conor McMullan, Richard Coey of Ballydrain and Thomas Leitch of Orangegrove will all take high places.
The Ladies race will feature Gerrie Short of Beechmount and East Down’s Catherine O’Connor in a re-run of their Moira duel. Laura Gardiner, also East Down, Denise Logue and Debbie Matchett of Ballydrain and Lagan Valley pair Shileen O’Kane and Ruth Magill will all go well.
Since the action is at the racecourse all the events are billed as for ‘Colts’ and ‘Fillies’ and the distances are in furlongs.
Meanwhile, Katie Kirk and Ciara Mageean will be on the Irish team for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in the USA.
They will compete in the melody relay with Katie running 800 metres and Ciara 1600. Both are outdoor all Ireland champions.
In other news, Declan Reed is expected to successfully defend his Irish Masters title at Tuam, Galway, on Sunday.
The City of Derry athlete took the Ulster and Northern Ireland crown at Coleraine before winning at Irvinestown and he will be hot favourite.
Pauric McKinney from Innisowen, runner-up at Coleraine, can go close again along with former Senior winner Peter Matthews of DSD.
North Belfast have a great chance of a team medal with Alan O’Hara, Andrew Considine, Neil Carty and Matt Shields.