Can we do it all again? What a journey. What a Derby. What a bitch.
I can’t believe its all over. Never have those six weeks gone by so fast. Susie Sapphire was crowned the 2021 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby champion and broke several records on her way to victory. Owen McKenna’s superstar went unbeaten in the competition, something that hadn’t been done since 2009. Susie became the first bitch to win the Derby crown since 1999 and also became the fastest ever Derby winner when clocking a blistering 29.18. Susie also became the first bitch to win the Sporting Press Irish Oaks and the Derby. Add all of those facts up and you have the greatest ever winner of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.
None of us greyhound enthusiasts will take that Derby roar for granted ever again. Never have fans meant so much to a sport. Never has a winner got such a tremendous reaction and never has a reserved man like Owen McKenna danced his way up the front of a heaving stand at Shelbourne Park.
It was a beautiful night. No one can deny the McKenna’s and the Comerford’s this victory. It was destiny and we all believed she could do it. As soon as I pulled her name from the draw after the semi-finals, I knew she would be crowned the Derby champion. Never have I had so much confidence in my selection in all my life. After what happened with Pestana twelve months ago, the industry needed this result. We have been through so much turmoil both pre and post covid. We are a resilient bunch and thanks to our canine friends because we wouldn’t be here without them.
Greyhound Racing is ‘Sexy’ Again
Susie Sapphire lit up HQ like a Christmas tree. She is the Honeysuckle of the horse racing world. The Kellie Harrington of the boxing world and the Leona Maguire of the golf world. It really has been a year for the ladies and about time too. Susie Sapphire has made greyhound racing sexy again and I couldn’t be prouder of our industry.
I don’t think there was a dry eye in HQ on Saturday night. Even people who didn’t back Susie were cheering for her because real greyhound fans knew she was the classiest one in the race. The most consistent, the youngest and the most talented. This Derby final will live long in all of our memories. We will be telling our grandchildren about the night Susie Sapphire brought the greyhound world to a standstill. We will all remember where we were the night Owen McKenna’s little Susie became the 2021 champion. Long live greyhound racing.
Well done to all the finalists. It was huge achievement to get that far and at least you can all go to bed knowing you were beaten by the best greyhound in the race. What a run from Singalong Sally. My ante post pick at 66/1. She done me proud. Well done to Pat Buckley for getting her into tip top condition at the right time. We can’t wait to see what our finalists do next.
There is no time to rest though. We have the Puppy Derby and the Laurels to devour next. We are spoilt for choice. Don’t just support the Derby, support the industry as much as you can. Visit your local track for a night out, for great good, for a pint, for a chat with friends. Go racing to see if you can learn more about the sport. Go racing to see if you can spot the next Derby winner as they make their debut. I’m sad that its over. I really am.
I woke up on Sunday morning with a horrible empty feeling in my stomach. It sounds dramatic but the amount of work that goes into an event like the Derby is enormous. It’s a job that I love and I’m incredibly lucky to be in the position I’m in so a massive thank you to John Boyle, BoyleSports and my boss Leon Blanche for trusting me with such a big event.
I done all my thanks to everyone in last week’s blog so I won’t bore you all again haha. For me it was the most enjoyable Derby I have ever experienced. I said it from the very start this was the year for the ladies. I was one of few who witnessed the bleakness of the 2020 Derby and I hope we never have to endure that ever again. Our industry is full of love and care for our greyhounds. That was pretty evident this year due to the power of social media. The sooner we get back onto mainstream television the better. We deserve the coverage. We deserve to show the world our brilliant sport.
Keep up the good work everyone. We are absolutely flying it.
Thank you all so much from myself and BoyleSports for all the lovely messages and comments. The engagement on social media has been HUGE. From Brian Arnold to our zooms with Ian Fortune, Barry Drake, Kevin Hennessy and Damien Lonergan. We have a fantastic group of knowledgeable people and that must be highlighted.
I would say see you all next year but I’ll see you all at the track. I’m looking forward to the Puppy Derby and I aim to go to the Laurels this year as I have never been before.
Over and out.
All my love, Sarah. X
All About Ted
WHAT. A. FINAL!! Let’s look at our finalists in trap order.
We really are running out of superlatives for this classy little lady. So young but has achieved so much. Puppy Oaks, Oaks and now into the final of the best greyhound race in the world. She is the only unbeaten finalist in the competition with her odds clipped into 11/4 from 8/1 since her semi-final victory. You are my tip, Susie. Just one more big break and the Derby title could belong to you girl. Be safe.
A black and white beauty with so much potential. Came into this Derby with a massive uphill task in front of her but she overcame the battles each week and is due a massive break, like the ones we have seen in Limerick. 12/1 from 25/1. Many won’t give you a chance Sally but all you need is a bit of luck. You have gotten this far so who knows. It’s 9/4 for either bitch to win.
A huge training performance from Thomas Buggy to get this dog into the final. Another very young greyhound with a dazzling future. This is the first time Thomas has reached the final of the Derby and at 25/1, he is the outsider of the six. Can he overcome his underdog status and become the top dog?
A worthy 2/1 favourite and a superstar for Patrick Guilfoyle. He is so shiny and glossy it’s beautiful. He is our biggest liability in the ante post book. We couldn’t keep the punters off him. He has style, he has grace, he can fly through any race!! There is no Ballymac Ariel to beat him so if he leads, I can’t see anything picking him up.
The Pillar syndicate deserve the title just as much as anyone else. Years and years of time, dedication and money poured into this industry. Graham Holland is chasing the three-in-a-row. Can it be done? He is 7/2 to land the €125,000 prize and he will need the start of his life but it’s not impossible.
All About Ted
A greyhound who has caught the eye from the early rounds for Peter Cronin. A professional tracker who makes it look easy. 3/1 from 8/1 and a big loser in the each-way betting for us. He has every chance of winning and could potentially be the only one who can come from behind?
A terrific final to say the least but we all must pick one. I tipped Singalong Sally as my ante post selection, so I’m delighted for my followers who got on at 66/1 but I’m going to side with Owen’s Susie Sapphire. Out and gone.
All Good Things Must Come To An End
It takes me about a month to get over the absence of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby and as much as I’m looking forward to Saturday night, I’m also dreading it. It’s not just the six-week journey that we cover as we are building up to the event for months in advance with the launch, the draw, market movers and endless meetings. I get so depressed when it’s all over.
I miss the adrenaline, the buzz of heading into HQ every week, watching my favourite greyhounds progress each week, but all good things must come to an end. It’s what makes it more special each year and the older I get, the more my love for it and the industry grows. It has also made me realise (with age haha) the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. From trading decisions to branding, from hospitality to the track maintenance. Everyone has a part to play.
I have said this a few times, but it really does take an army to run an event like this. I will try to cover as many people as I can here so a big thanks to:
Orla, Dawn and Thomas from GRI
Michael Dempsey and his team
Dave and Derek and all the staff at Shelbourne Park
Eimhear our head of sponsorship
Leon our head of communications
Lawrence my colleague
Our content/social media & design team
Damien our greyhound trader
Barry Drake and George McDonagh
Ian Fortune and Kevin Hennessy
The video crew
RPGTV and all involved
John Boyle for his sponsorship
Elaine for looking after all of our signage
And a special mention to Patrick Flynn for being an absolute gentleman to work with. I have known Pat for most of my life and he was a pivotal part in my early career in Harolds Cross and Shelbourne Park. He always believed in me as well as his wife Sam. Top class people. I will miss working with you Pat, but I wish you the best for the future. Shelbourne Park will miss you.
There are a lot more people to thank but another special mention to all the radio stations and media/newspapers that cover our wonderful sport. This year, more than ever along with social media, has resulted in our sport reaching all areas of the world and it’s something we can all be proud of.
It as great to see some of you at the Derby lunch on Monday and thanks again to Shelbourne for a lovely afternoon. The zooms were a great touch too. A well organised event that is crucial part of the Derby final. The food was fab, the interviews were great and it’s brilliant to see things returning to some sort of normal. Don’t want to jinx it haha!
BEST OF LUCK
Finally, the very best of luck to everyone this weekend. I would give anything to be in your position. You can all be proud of what you have achieved. For keeping your dog in good form and free from injury. May the best dog/bitch win and all get home safe
Long. Live. Greyhound. Racing. See you all Saturday.
A word for Riverside
Graham Holland has been enjoying a fruitful time at HQ and it’s safe to say his kennel is in great form. You can never underestimate Graham in any race but especially not the BoyleSports Derby. Graham along with Nicky, Rachel and Timmy make a fantastic team and it’s great to see them arrive to Shelbourne Park with their talented army of dogs every Saturday. We all love the underdogs and the stories about the smaller trainers, but Riverside Kennels deserve the praise as they have a very impressive outfit. Their social media coverage is awesome with their Instagram page showing their superstars happy in their beds, enjoying the paddocks in the sun or having a tasty treat. It’s easy to see why they are successful because their dogs genuinely seem so happy especially Kameko who licks the face off anyone he can get near haha.
All the Single Ladies
The quarterfinals were nothing short of sensational. I say it every year that this is the best Derby ever but honest to God this year is different because the ladies are really making it interesting. We have been waiting since 1999, give the people what they want! It’s 5/4 from 2/1 for a bitch to win the Derby with four talented ladies left:
4-5 Ballymac Ariel
5-2 Scooby Princess
5-2 Susie Sapphire
12 Singalong Sally
Cloud Lifted from Ballymac Ariel in the Best Way Possible
Liam Dowling is a great man. Not all trainers would report that their dogs have issues, but the Kerry native has been keeping us up to date about his superstar. She worked hard to win her heat on Saturday clocking 29.37 coming from behind beating the ante post favourite Explosive Boy for the second week in a row. He led to the third bend clocking career best sectionals at HQ of 3.33 and 16.98. He was cruising but not as much as Ariel. All About Ted ran awesome to grab third.
Explosive Boy remains 5/2, Ballymac Ariel remains 7/2 and All About Ted is 8/1 from 14/1 as he is the favourite to win his heat this Saturday
Singalong Sally Digs Deep To Grab First Derby Heat Victory
It was sad to see Deerjet Sydney get knocked out, but team Buckley were over the moon with their pride and joy Singalong Sally. She really is a little cracker. 29.70 coming from behind to pick up Monraud Thunder who was only having his 9th career start. Gortkelly Nestor continues to fly the flag for the underdogs after coming home strong to deny Rural Star a spot in the semi-finals. A great race.
Sally is 25/1 from 40/1 and 12/1 to be the top bitch
Oaks Champion Susie just too Good
What’s not to love. Susie loves to race and always comes off the track bouncing and ready for more. Owen McKenna has done a marvellous job with her as she remains unbeaten in this competition. 29.48 with 3.41 and 17.04 sectionals. There is a lot to like about Susie who continues to dominate her rivals for owner Peter Comerford. How good was Scooby Princess. This Jennifer O’Donnell trained bitch is in fantastic form. The ground she makes up is remarkable. Ballymac Fairone wasn’t too bad either. It’s great to see such a variation of trainers and owner into the semi-finals.
Susie remains 8/1, Scooby is 10/1 from 16/1.
Jackslittlething Continues to Satisfy
Jack has now won his last six races and that is something that must be celebrated. I know the Pillar syndicate have been anyway! I think the entire greyhound industry are cheering for you lads, it’s great to see so the best of luck. He won in 29.23 with sectionals of 3.43 and 17.03. He was flying once he got going and there was no catching him. Carrigeen North was second for Thomas Buggy with Priceless Jet third for Paul Hennessy.
Jack remains 4/1
Remembering Michael Fortune
The Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate didn’t disappoint either with Skywalker Barry now the 11/8 from 5/2 favourite to win the title. The other three heat winners were Sweep The Yard, Gaytime Milo and the exciting Droopys Gloss. It’s a cracking competition with €5,000 to the winner and Michael will certainly be enjoying all the action with a pint of Guinness up in the clouds.
It’s only five more sleeps till the semi-finals of both competitions. All outright and heat betting is available here along with some new specials we have.
Which Semi Final Will The Winner Come From?
2-7 Semi Final 2
5-2 Semi Final 1
See you all on Saturday and don’t forget to tune into RPGTV if you can’t get to the track (sky channel 437). I’ll also be on Galway Bay FM Monday night if you want to tune in.
Stay safe and thanks for all the lovely messages. I love bringing all the action to you at home. I’m very lucky to have such a cool job.
We were spoilt for choice in the 3rd round of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby on Saturday night at Shelbourne Park as 48 became 24 following some blistering performances.
Now that the madness of the opening rounds is over, suddenly we are down to the quarter finals and are left wondering how we are here already. The time has flown by, but we have been treated to top-class action to say the least.
Light A Candle For Ariel
Ballymac Ariel is the new joint favourite in the outright betting with her odds tumbling into 11/4 from 8/1, however there is concern for the superstar. It was reported on Talking Dogs on Monday that Liam Dowling has confirmed his daughter of Ballymac Bolger has an issue. The full news is available on the link below, but it goes without saying we wish you the best Liam and the candles have been lit that she will be fit and well for her quarter final clash this weekend.
Ballymac Is Wild For Action
I say it every week, but seriously what more can you say about him? Ballymac Wild is the greyhound we all dream about having in our kennels at home. Talented, consistent, a big heart and a ferocious love for what he does. He won in 29.47 beating Galvarino and Droopys Good. He justified his short odds of 11/10 to win by no less than nine lengths. He is the best competition dog we have seen in some time and I hope he makes the final again. Flashbacks of Ballymac Vic now that I think of it!
Ballymac Wild has been cut into 12/1 from 16/1 while Droopys Good and Galvarino remain 33/1 and 150/1 respectively.
Blind Date Cilla? Men Will Be Queuing Up For Skywalker Cilla
I did tell you all. I bet you were listening to me going will she ever shut up?! Money has been coming for Cilla for weeks now. 33/1 from 100/1 prior to the Derby and now she is only 16/1 after her 29.45 win. She breezed by Ballymac Fairone handy enough coming to the line and I loved everything about her performance for trainer Mark O’Donovan. She is 7/1 to be top bitch in the competition with Ariel 4/5, Susie 5/2, Scooby 4/1 and Sally 10/1.
Jazz Toes grabbed third and is a 100/1 shot for the big €125,000 prize for Peter Cronin.
Deerjet Sydney A Clever Greyhound For Team Buckley
Emma Buckley’s pride and joy. We love Emma and we love Syd. He had to put in a bigger effort to win and cut the nose off Broadstrand Ryan at the third bend to take up the lead and win in 29.75. When he broke, he wanted the rails and Scooby Princess wanted to come off the rails so it was a fantastic recovery from Syd. Rural Star ran a cracker for Graham Holland and Syd wasn’t pulling away from him. A special word for Scooby Princess though who flew home. Well done to Jennifer, Layla makes you proud every time she races.
Deerjet Sydney is 14/1 from 16/1 & Sccoby remains 16/1.
Ariel Showed Us Why She Is The Best Lady In The Country
It’s hard not to love Ballymac Ariel. I mentioned on Talking Derby last Monday with Ian Fortune and Tommy Lyons that if Ariel got a length or half a length near Explosive Boy she would beat him. I’m not always right, but I think this bitch is so talented that I was very confident she would beat him if she got a run at him. I tipped Explosive Boy though didn’t I, so I wasn’t that confident after all! I honestly didn’t think she would record a 3.36 sectional, but there you go.
As mentioned above, we wish Liam and Ariel well.
Ariel is 11/4 joint fav from 8/1, with Explosive Boy 11/4 from 7/2. Priceless Jet was 3rd and is 20/1 from 25/1.
All About Ted. It Really Was.
Peter Cronin is never far away when it comes to the big competitions with his All About Ted running a cracker on Saturday. 29.35 was the winning time with the lovely Singalong Sally second and Gunboat Showman third. Deadly Destroyer was desperate to come away from the rails and it cost him the race, but it was All About Ted who took advantage with a perfect draw wearing the stripes. I spoke to Willie Rigney afterwards and it’s great to see him with a classy greyhound so best of luck lads.
Singalong Sally is 33/1 from 40/1 while Gunboat Showman is the 150/1 rank outsider.
Delighted For Thomas Buggy & Carrigeen North
It was one of the trickiest heats of the night, but Carrigeen North prevailed in 29.63 for Thomas Buggy. He loved the inside draw and made all to win by five lengths to Gortkelly Nestor and Brykar Oak another ¾ of a length back in third for Michael Carey.
Carrigeen was only 5/2 to win his heat so he must have been fancied with his outright chances into 33/1 from 40/1.
Jackslittlething Roared Home Again
It’s safe to say there wouldn’t have been a big gamble on Jackslittlething as he was a short 1/3 to win, but regardless the Pillar syndicate enjoyed every bit of the victory. He was fast away and made all in 29.51. He remains 5/1 in the outright amazingly enough with Graham Holland having an awesome record in the Derby. No Green Dye is running terrific as he grabbed second place and Holland also got Monraud Thunder through. A great result all round.
No Green Dye is 50/1 from 66/1.
Susie Sapphire 5/2 To Be Top Bitch
What a little cracker she is for Owen McKenna. I suppose you could say she is the female equivalent of Pestana (I know, that’s taking it too far!). Susie was sublime from a tricky draw in the black jacket but won in 29.31 from the fast-finishing Swords Maestro and last standing Trial Stake winner Re Sure.
It’s 2/1 from 5/2 for a bitch to win the Derby and Susie is 5/2 to be the Top Bitch. I’ve said it from the start, if the long wait since 1999 is going to be broken, this is the year.
Re Sure remains 66/1, Susie is 8/1 from 14/1 and Swords Maestro is 25/1.
The heat betting for the quarter finals and the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate is all online NOW:
See you all Saturday, it’s going to be another cracker, so keep those seatbelts fastened.
BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Specials ~ Top Bitch? - Irish Greyhound Derby
4-5 Ballymac Ariel
5-2 Susie Sapphire
4 Scooby Princess
6 Skywalker Cilla
12 Singalong Sally
With some non-runners reducing the field before they took to traps, 93 became 48 at Shelbourne Park last weekend and we now know the greyhounds through to the third round. How is it the third round already. It feels like only yesterday that Explosive Boy was winning the Larry O’Rourke National Produce Stakes at Clonmel and now he is unbeaten in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby as the ante post favourite.
Time Flies – enjoy every moment
We are so desperate for the Derby to start so we can enjoy the big final night that we can forget to enjoy the journey along the way. That’s the beauty of my job. I have the best of both world’s as I get to stay outside the weigh-room area and capture all the winners and qualifiers coming in off the track. I have access to all the owners and trainers for pictures and interviews. It’s brilliant because I find out so much about our canine friends that I wouldn’t normally know. Even Matt Bergin owner of Callmesteve (how good was he by the way), his dad last had a runner in the Derby in 1971. It’s the little things.
Greyhounds are our friends
Their nicknames for example and what they are like at home in their kennels. The bread thieves, the barkers, the ones who kiss the face off you and the ones who won’t leave your side out in the fields. Scooby Princess is called Layla at home, Epic Hero is called Jim. Pierno is called Bill, Explosive Boy is called Bertie. Priceless Jet is known as Corky, Droopys Good is called Jakey and Beach Avenue is called Rory. They are not just racing greyhounds they are pets and loved so much by their handlers. All you have to do is look at the way Emma looks at Deerjet Sydney, the way Sarah Hennessy looks at Beach Avenue and the way Owen McKenna looks at Susie Sapphire. True love. (Pictures below).
Let’s look through some of the winning heats in heat order.
Droopys Good just too good for his rivals
We will never forget the journey Owen McKenna enjoyed with Pestana last year and although you can’t compare other dogs to him, it’s great to see the loveable trainer still in with a chance. Droopys Good showed incredible gears from a tricky draw wearing the orange jacket. He won in 29.62 from Jazz Toes and Singalong Sally with the latter digging deep to make sure she booked her spot into the third round. As Ian Fortune mentioned in our Talking Derby video on Monday, Pat expects Sally to improve plenty as she has dried up, so we hope to see her make the final. Girl power.
Droopys Good now 33/1 from 100/1
Speaking of girl power, it’s 9/4 from 7/2 for a bitch to win the 2021 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.
Jackslittlething continues to impress
Graham Holland has a nice batch of greyhounds through to the 3rd round with Jackslittlething the shortest priced of his runners. He is the second favourite for a reason. OK his time wasn’t as good but they can’t be perfect every week. He won in 29.71 justifying his short 3/10 odds. Coolavanny Chick has pups about 15 weeks old so HUGE well done to Noel Hehir for having her in such good form, we hope she keeps qualifying.
Jackslittlething 5/1 from 6/1 & gaining on Explosive Boy
I know I mentioned it on Talking Derby on Monday but honestly my heart goes out to the Matthews. There is an awful stigma attached to dogs getting disqualified in my opinion. It’s no reflection on the trainer whatsoever so we hope to see him return soon. It’s a tough job having to make those decisions too for all the racing team. Sometimes we forget that. Well done to Priceless Jet who ran a huge race and that Amidus Luke is flying home too.
Priceless Jet aka Corky, 25/1 from 33/1
Andy Murray a gentleman
I love meeting all these new people at Shelbourne Park. It’s my pleasure to talk to you all and see how happy you are just to qualify. Finishing third will do you but a win is a bonus. Gortkelly Nestor was 100/1 to win the Derby a few weeks ago and after his 29.75 victory at the weekend along with his wide seeding, he is one to watch. A word again for John A. Linehan who qualified his three runners Broadstrand Ryan, Galvarino and Droopys Yes. Well done.
Gortkelly Nestor was cut into 33/1 from 66/1 after his win
It could just be ‘All About Ted’
I was waiting for this dog to win at HQ and he did just that in 29.61. He was fantastic in Towcester and there is more to come that’s for sure. Leger champ Epic Hero ran awesome in defeat along with Cricket Bell.
All About Ted was cut into 20/1 from 33/1
Jacob Tashadelek just class
Well done to Con Guiney from Co. Cork. Another gentleman to talk to. Jacob is flying and another who is unbeaten in this Derby. He has a tough heat Saturday but he is in with a chance to qualify. Re Sure ran a cracker to finish second and don’t forget he doesn’t turn 2 until October. Craggan Mor grabbed third. Winning time 29.50. Solid from Jacob.
Jacob Tashadelek was hammered into 12/1 from 20/1 following his win
Deerjet Sydney I’m sorry I doubted you
What a greyhound. He loves that red jacket that’s for sure. 29.56 for trainer Pat Buckley. This was a tough heat as we had to lose three top-class greyhounds in Skywalker Barry, Romeo Magico and Pennylane Sheba. We can’t wait to see where they run next but I would go as far to say that Deerjet Sydney’s win was probably my favourite out of all the 16 heats. See you Saturday champ.
Deerjet Sydney cut into 16/1 from 25/1
Ballymac Ariel – 29.40. Love her. Fastest to the third turn last weekend. Check out the splits here: https://www.grireland.ie/talking-dogs/ariel-is-white-hot-to-third-turn/
Explosive Boy – 29.40. Speedy. And heading Down Under for his stud career the lucky thing.
Deadly Destroyer – 29.56. Classy. Finished behind Explosive Boy in the National Produce Stakes final
We are just spoilt aren’t we. Three terrific greyhounds with not much between them on paper.
Explosive still heads the betting at 7/2 from 5/1. Ariel is 8/1 from 14/1 and Deadly is 12/1 from 25/1.
Watch Ian Fortune, Tommy Lyons and myself talk all about the second round and a quick look ahead to the third round:
Thanks for reading. Good luck to you all on Saturday night.
See you then.
BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Specials ~ A Bitch To Win The Derby? - Irish Greyhound Derby
BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2021
7-2 Explosive Boy
8 Ballymac Ariel
12 Jacob Tashadelek
12 Deadly Destroyer
14 Susie Sapphire
14 Scooby Princess
16 Deerjet Sydney
16 Ballymac Wild
20 Ballymac Fairone
20 All About Ted
25 Swords Maestro
25 Broadstrand Ryan
25 Priceless Jet
25 Athlacca Zette
33 Beach Avenue
33 Ballymac Art
33 Droopys Good
33 Gortkelly Nestor
33 Skywalker Cilla
33 Epic Hero
40 Monraud Thunder
40 Singalong Sally
40 Carrigeen North
40 Amidus Luke
40 Rural Star
50 Droopys Yes
50 Razldazl Peaky
50 Grangeview Mac
66 Jazz Toes
66 Coolavanny Chick
66 Deadly Samuri
66 Re Sure
66 No Green Dye
100 Kilbannon Psycho
100 Trap Joey
100 Craggan Mor
100 Brykar Oak
150 Coolavanny Sando
150 Cricket Bell
150 Triangle Hugo
200 Gunboat Showman
And just like that the opening round for the 2021 BoyeSports Irish Greyhound Derby is over. Wow. WHAT A WEEKEND of action. The racing was that good that I totally forgot about Dublin playing Mayo. We all love an underdog story and just like Mayo, there are numerous underdogs in this year’s Derby that have already shaken up the betting.
Dead Heat Start
Where do I start? Bloody hell. To be fair, it’s best to start from the beginning as the Derby got off to a flying start with a dead heat no less. Craggan Mor took a flier from trap three only to be chased down by the consistent Scooby Princess in 29.79. Thankfully Singalong Sally got through as a fastest 4th qualifier and she will come on for the run as it was badly needed. We said goodbye to Front Amani who failed to fire on all cylinders, so we wish her well as she didn’t seem herself.
Scooby Princess remains 25/1 for Jennifer O’Donnell while Craggan Mor was eased out to 100/1 from 66/1 and remains friendless in the betting for trainer Francis Murray.
BOY EXPLODES ONTO DERBY SCENE
Patrick Guilfoyle is just a lovely man to talk to. Softly spoken and very modest about his achievements. A cool customer who is an exceptional man with a dog. Explosive Boy is a son of Good News who of course won the Derby for Guilfoyle in 2017 so it would be a tremendous story if he could do it again.
Explosive Boy won his heat in 29.47 with odds cut into 11/2 from 6/1 but was as big as 12/1 prior to the start of the Derby. So, without even running a race in ages, his odds were hammered into the shortest priced ante post favourite we have seen in years. Steffans Rocket ran a stormer in second for Shea Campbell and is 50/1 from 100/1.
ULTRA Consistent Ballymac Wild & Gutsy BoyleSports King
I know it’s easy to get carried away after the opening round, we all do it. You see your favourite greyhound win their heat and think that’s it, sure he can’t be beaten now HAHA. I’m guilty of that anyway but one dog that even the coldest of hearts couldn’t help but love is Ballymac Wild. Liam Dowling oozes class and so do his greyhounds. They do him proud all the time. Ballymac Wild has been in so many finals, danced every dance and showed his rivals how to get things done in 29.66. Powerhouse.
What about BoyleSports King though. It has to be the nicest heart-warming story of the Derby this year. He was narrowly denied the Derby crown in 2019 and now after nearly 2 years on the side lines with an awful injury, our couch potato is back. Well done Dolores Ruth. We are all routing for KING and if you win the 2021 title, McDonalds should give you FREE McFlurry’s for life.
Ballymac Wild is now 16/1 from 25/1 while BoyleSports King is 50/1 from 66/1.
Neilus O’Connell is FLYING
Again, I know it’s very early in the Derby, but MY GOD Neilus and his kennel are flying. Razldazl Peaky has been enjoying a purple patch of late with three wins last month and then won his opening heat in 29.90. Razldazl Monarch and Razldazl Annie are through too with Peaky 66/1 from 100/1, Monarch 100/1 and Annie 200/1. Keep her lit Neilus.
The talented Skywalker Barry was third and remains 33/1.
Ariel has all the right signals
That man Liam Dowling Again. She is just magical to watch. One thing to note is her seeding has been changed to a middle from a wide. She beat the 2020 English Greyhound Derby winner Deerjet Sydney by 4½ lengths in 29.50 with her chances into 12/1 from 16/1.
It’s 10/3 from 4/1 for a bitch to win the Derby. Can it be done? We have Susie Sapphire, Ballymac Beanie, Ballymac Art, Pennylane Sheba, Scooby Princess and so on.
Great to see Broadstrand Ryan win in style
John A. Linehan is another lovely man to talk to, but I won’t tell you his nickname (ask Damien Lonergan haha). He got Broadstrand Ryan through to the second round along with Galvarino and Droopys Yes. Ryan came to SPK back in April and won in 28.24. He was added to the ante post betting immediately after and is one to keep an eye on for sure. Ryan clocked 29.66 and is 20/1 from 33/1 while Droopys Yes is 66/1 and Galvarino a 150/1 chance.
Our Champion Stakes winner, De Machine was second and remains 25/1 with Skywalker Cilla third. Another bitch to add to the list of ladies who was backed into 33/1 from 100/1 prior to the Derby kicking off. Interesting…
JACK Thing Is Not Little APPARENTLY
Jackslittlething is half a point away in the betting from becoming the new ante-post favourite and it’s not hard to see why.
This son of Droopys Sydney – Limini was paw-perfect wearing the black jacket on Saturday night he skipped round HQ in the fastest time of this year’s renewal so far in 29.10. It’s easy to see why his odds have tumbled into 6/1 from 20/1 meaning he is second favourite just in behind Explosive Boy. We get great craic out his name though. The Pillar syndicate might regret calling him that now haha poor Jack.
Other heat winners….
Ballymac Fairone was extremely impressive in heat 7 when winning in 29.67 beating the Corn Cuchulainn winner Priceless Jet by ¾ of a length. His odds have been shortened into 25/1 from 33/1.
Pennylane Sheba landed the finale on Friday night in 29.53 which resulted in her odds getting clipped into 50/1 from 100/1.
As well as Jackslittlething on Saturday night, the 2020 Sporting Press Oaks winner Ballymac Beanie was sublime from trap two with her chances cut into 33/1 from 50/1.
BoyleSports Champion Plate finalist Amidus Luke dug deep to win heat 17 in 29.63 and he is now 40/1 from 100/1. Other heat winners that have seen their chances clipped include Jacob Tashadelek (20/1 from 50/1), Macho Pride (33/1 from 100/1) and Mallogs Marley (50/1 from 66/1).
My ante post pick Romeo Magico is still 33/1 after he won the finale on Saturday night in 29.62. Thanks to team Holland for letting us get up close to their stars. Not sure Badger (that’s Romeo’s nickname) enjoyed our selfie though haha.
I’m conscious of my blogs being way too long and boring you to tears so I won’t cover every heat, but you can catch pictures of all the heat winners over on my social media.
A quick note to say THANK YOU to those of you who are kind enough to stop and let me interview you. Social media has become a huge part of our industry and while it’s great to see 200 fans on the stand and a 100 in the restaurant, we must look after the greyhound folk at home and at other tracks.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I cover it all. Our sport deserves the coverage and along with Talking Dogs TV and RPGTV, you won’t miss a thing. The more content we can give everyone the better so thank you and don’t be afraid to stop for a chat anytime.
Get well soon champ.
Finally, I want to wish Dromana Bucko a speedy recovery. I hope Mark O’Donovan and all his family along with the owners and connections are feeling OK. It’s the worst feeling in the world. The whole greyhound world is thinking of you and Bucko. We hope we see you back on the track someday. The same goes for anyone who suffered an injury with their beloved greyhound, Knocknaboul Syd in particular.
See you Friday,