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Susie Sapphire made history when adding her name to the Derby Roll of Honour on Saturday 18th September in Shelbourne Park.

This special lady became the 2nd youngest winner, the fastest Derby Final winner, the first female winner since 1999 and ran through the competition unbeaten.

Ian Fortune & BoyleSports' Kevin Hennessy bring you through the race and share their thoughts on the 2021 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Final.

Join them to look back on the Final now.

***

REACTION ON THE NIGHT

Owen McKenna was understandably a popular man after the Derby final.

Speaking to Barry Caul, Robert Catterson and Sarah Kinsella, it was clear the victory of Susie Sapphire meant so much to a man hailing from the most famous greyhound family in the history of the sport.

Speaking with Robert Catterson on RPGTV, Owen suggested that his legendary father, the late great Ger McKenna, may have played a part in the success, saying: “This is everything. It means a lot. I went up Thursday to visit my mother in Borrisokane. She’ll be watching tonight. She’ll be delighted. I called into the graveyard to see the old boy and I said ‘if you could ever push her over the line for us, give us one more effort’ and you know what, everything went right.”

He went on describe his star, “She knows what you’re thinking. She’s come out of every race. I’m just delighted. It’s just great, I’ve had great dogs over the years beat in the final, last year Pestana, we had Farloe Blitz back in 2015, I was desperate disappointed for Paul Ellis in two Derby finals. Tonight was worth it all.”

“I WON’T COME DOWN FOR A WEEK”

He echoed those words as he walked back up the track with Barry Caul of Talking Dogs TV: “This is everything. I won’t come down to earth for a week. She’s some little lady, she’s dynamite. She has gone from strength to strength, and everything that’s been asked of her, she has done.

“I didn’t see the break but once she went around the bend, it was going to take a helluva something to pass her. She’s a Derby champion, an Oaks champion, a Puppy Oaks champion – probably a chance of getting Dog of the Year now.”

When the dust had settled somewhat, Sarah Kinsella managed to catch up with Owen at the kennelling area and he again expressed how he was feeling: “You don’t appreciate things when you are younger, you think ah this is handy. But it’s taken a long time, we’ve hit the crossbar several times since. It’s hard to surpass what she has done for us. It’s easy for us to look good when you have something on the end of a lead as good as her. She’s just amazing. I can’t say enough about her.”

“SO PROUD OF HER”

Owen also expressed how much this meant to his family and Robert Catterson caught up with Owen’s wife Sian. A clearly emotional Sian said: “We’re so, so proud of her. She’s been an unreal bitch for us this year. From the Puppy Oaks, we put her into the Oaks, and took a chance with her. She went through that, won that, and then we stuck her in this thinking we’ll just give her a go, and every round she went from strength to strength. She’s just unreal, just amazing. It’s crazy what she has achieved, for such a young bitch, and we’re just over the moon.

“Owen eats it, he sleeps it, and he puts the greyhounds first. That’s just him. I’m so happy for him, and so proud of him. We’ll go home with happy tears tonight because last year we were on such a high going into the final, and then disaster struck.

“At the beginning of the year we didn’t think we had anything to run in the Derby this year, and we said we’d give her a go, and now we’re here.”

***

FLAWLESS SUSIE RACES TO A FAMOUS DERBY SUCCESS

“Susie Sapphire has won the Derby” - The very words Owen McKenna and Peter Comerford would have dreamt of hearing as they went to bed on Friday night.

Whether they slept well or not matters little now as Susie Sapphire ran out the most incredible winner of the Boylesports Derby at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.

A SPECIAL OCCASION

This was a very special occasion.

There was a real sense of relief from those in the stands to even be present and the ovation that welcomed Susie Sapphire and Owen McKenna up the straight after her success was truly spine-tingling.

Just twelve months after the heartbreak of Pestana, Owen McKenna could scarcely allow himself believe that Susie Sapphire could expel the ghosts of 2020 but she didn’t just win, she also created history.

The race itself, like each of her five previous runs through the classic, was easy to describe. It will simply appear on the card in the future; FAw, Ald. 

SUSIE STARTED FAVOURITE

Of course, two racecard comments don’t go anyway near to describing the emotion and sheer brilliance on view at the famous Ringsend venue.

Susie Sapphire was popular in the ring and eventually went to boxes the 2-1 favourite.

Explosive Box was the second choice at 9-4 with All About Ted next at 11-4. Jackslittlething was a drifter before settling on 5-1 ahead of Singalong Sally at 10-1 and Carrigeen North at 40-1.

THE RETURN OF THE ROAR

The crowd played their part in making this a special moment with the Derby roar returning to Shelbourne Park.

The noise and the sense of occasion didn’t affect Susie Sapphire, however.

Making another lightning fast start from the inside box, it was clear from the earliest point in the race that the brilliant daughter of Droopys Jet and Jetstream Lynx was on her way to Derby glory and immortality.

Behind her the race to the turn couldn’t have been any tighter with the five remaining runners all in a line. Singalong Sally had the inside line in her favour and she displayed great determination to forced her way through into second.

This set off a domino type effect which was to end the hopes of Carrigeen North, Explosive Boy and All About Ted. Jackslittlething turned in third despite suffering crowding but he was too far adrift to worry the front two. It was now a race between the two bitches in the line-up but, in reality, it was a victory lap for Susie Sapphire.    

A VICTORY FOR THE LADIES

After twenty two years in the wilderness, since Spring Time in 1999, Susie Sapphire was going to win the Derby for the fairer sex.

She entered the back straight with six lengths in hand on Singalong Sally and continued to hold a commanding lead to the penultimate corner.

Singalong Sally did show massive pace around the last two bends to close and continued to gallop on well but there was no stopping Susie Sapphire’s march to glory. The bitch, who won’t be two years of age until next month, produced on the big night again.

Already the Puppy Oaks and Sporting Press Irish Oaks champion, Susie Sapphire will now forever be remembered as the 2021 Boylesports Irish Derby champion after she crossed the line three lengths clear in a brilliant 29.18.

HISTORY CREATED

As she had done in both the Puppy Oaks and Irish Oaks finals, she produced her very best run on the night that mattered.

In victory she became the first bitch to record the Oaks/ Derby double, the first greyhound to go unbeaten through the Derby since College Causeway in 2009, the youngest winner since Tina Marina in 1996 and the second youngest winner of all time.

Singalong Sally also ran a remarkable race in defeat and Pat Buckley and Gilbert Anderson can be proud of her achievements. The same can be said for Jackslittlething in third and while it didn’t happen for the remainder in the decider, they played their part in making this one of the most memorable Derbies of all time.

For owner and breeder Peter Comerford, it was a very special night, his greatest in the sport, while it was clear from Owen McKenna that this meant the world. They can enjoy the coming days safe in the knowledge that they are responsible for one of the truly great Derby champions.

The 2021 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby winner Susie Sapphire. Trophy presentation made by Mark Kemp CEO BoyleSports to owner Peter Comerford and trainer Owen McKenna.                Pic; Imelda Grauer

***

KAMEKO HANDS GRAHAM ANOTHER PLATE SUCCESS

While Susie Sapphire was the headline maker at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night, the remainder of the card was also pretty brilliant and the feature race, after the Derby, was the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate.

After the victories of Black Parachute and Blue East in the last two years, Graham Holland landed Plate for the third year running with Kameko causing a minor upset as he overturned hot favourite Skywalker Barry.

This was a contest that was decided in the early yards. Kameko came away well but had a real battle to clear Skywalker Barry into the bend. Once doing so, he still had to repel his kennel companion Sweep The Yard who stayed to the fence to go second.

Into the third turn, Sweep The Yard attempted to make his move but Kameko was nothing if not game and he cut of his kennelmate to increase his advantage. Larry O’Rourke’s Kameko stayed on strongly to eventually lead home a one-two for Graham Holland, seeing off Sweep The Yard by a length in 29.49. Skywalker Barry was another length and a half away in third. 

Presentation of trophies after Kameko won the Michael Fortune Memorial Plate Final. Pictured Rita Fortune, Rachel Holland and Frank Nyham Chairman Greyhound Racing Ireland.           Pic: Imelda Grauer

NO SURPRISE AS CILLA GOES FAST IN CONSOLATION

The Consolation final of the Boylesports Derby was over in a matter of strides as Skywalker Cilla made a fast start from a preferred middle draw.

The Mark O’Donovan trained daughter of Laughil Blake and Droopys Zero had been really finding form through the Derby and it was evident she was ready to produce a special run.

That came as she led the field into the turn before powering her way to a wonderful victory. Swords Maestro was soon in chase but he was never going to get to the leader. Ray Patterson’s brilliant bitch is as strong as she is fast and she ran right to the line to emerge a very deserving three and a half length winner in a very fast 29.19. Swords maestro ran his heart out in second while Scooby Princess ran on strongly to finish just three parts of a length adrift in third.

Presentation of trophies after Skywalker Cilla won the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Consolation 550. Pictured are Brendan O'Neill, Jenna Boyle and Kevin Kells.         Pic: Imelda Grauer

***

FINAL CHAPTER OF DERBY JOURNEY TO PROVIDE DRAMA

Just over five weeks on from the start of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby, all eyes will be on Shelbourne Park at roughly 9.14pm this evening as the 2021 champion is crowned.

It has been a vintage Derby with so many incredible performances, storylines and the odd plot twist.

The final chapter will be written in the coming hours with six of the very fastest greyhounds on the planet set to battle it out for the €125,000 winner’s purse. And we really are left with a fitting final.

In any normal year, there would be a big finisher in the line-up that could potentially pick up the pieces but what makes this evening’s decider so fascinating is that each of the six runners need the same thing – an early advantage.

The battle for early supremacy could be epic. Susie Sapphire and Explosive Boy are perhaps the most likely pace-seters and their chance is reflected in their price with the duo heading the betting. But don’t ignore the very obvious claims of Jackslittlething and All About Ted, both of which are also capable of a flying start.

Singalong Sally and Carrigeen North complete the line-up and while both will start at double figure odds, they too much be shown respect given their undoubted ability.

SUSIE REALLY IS A PRECIOUS GEM

Most of the chatter in recent days has been about Susie Sapphire and her chances of becoming the first female winner of the blue riband since Spring Time in 1999.

She is also aiming to go through the Derby unbeaten, a feat not achieved since College Causeway in 2009.

Incredibly, she is also bidding to become first Oaks winner to go on to win a Derby, while she would be the youngest Derby winner since Tina Marina in 1996 and the second youngest of all time. 

Her handler Owen McKenna captured the Derby back in 2004 with Like A Shot and, given the heartbreak of Pestana in 2020, few would begrudge him a second Derby victory. She is also owned by Peter Comerford, one of the great supporters of the sport, and it would mean so much to him and his family.

But that means little when they line-up this evening. Susie Sapphire is a rare talent with exceptional early speed. She is also electric at traps but she may need to be this evening given the proximity of Singalong Sally.

If Susie Sapphire is to score, she must turn in front, which is very dependent on her missing Singalong Sally in the opening strides. With the track likely to running on the lively side this evening, Susie Sapphire would most likely to hold on if turning in front and that’s what her supporters will be praying for.  

It's worth pointing out that she captured both the Puppy Oaks and Irish Oaks from the inside box, producing her best run of each competition in the decider. How Owen McKenna and Peter Comerford would love to continue that trend.

EXPECT ANOTHER EXPLOSIVE DISPLAY

It’s been quite a few years since the ante-post Derby favourite came through and won the competition but Explosive Boy has a massive chance of doing just that.

The Produce Stakes and Race of Champions winner was hugely popular with the layers in the days leading up to the opening round and his supporters will be hoping he can produce his best run of the classic this evening.

It seems fair to suggest that Explosive Boy has been running well without producing his very best run but the signs are there that he can go faster this evening. After suffering defeat in each of his last three outings, the son of Good News may still go to traps favourite to emerge triumphant.

The draw has certainly been kind to Peter Sutcliffe’s charge. A natural starter with wonderful early speed, he is likely to be in the firing line from the opening strides and should the inside duo bump, it could be left to the Pat Guilfoyle trained Explosive Boy to dictate the pace into the back straight.

In such a scenario, the brilliant tracker would be very difficult to stop. Of course, he has also shown in recent weeks that he stays the 550yds very strongly but, as stated earlier, this is a contest where the winner is likely to set the pace.

TED READY TO PRODUCE ANOTHER SUPERB DISPLAY

Peter Cronin has been responsible for three Irish Derby finalists in the past without much luck. In fact, his three finalists all finished at the tail of the field but it seems safe to suggest that he has never had a better chance of claiming a first Derby success than with All About Ted.

The son of Kinloch Brae entered the consciousness when producing the most incredible display in defeat at the Winter Racing Festival last December. He was slow to return this year with Peter deciding to give him time to strengthen up and develop.

It was an inspired move. A failed Kirby Memorial challenge was followed by a fruitful spell in the UK but it was his return to Shelbourne Park that saw All About Ted make the move into the very top bracket of greyhounds in training.

His progress through the Derby has been most eye-catching. Improving with each and every run, he posted a sizzling 29.23 to set the pace in the semi-finals. Much like so many of his rivals, he is a good starter with fine pace throughout.

His owners Willie Rigney and Richard Brown have ben involved in so many good greyhounds over the years but All About Ted is their very best. If he is to score, he must hit the ground running and get into full stride before the turn but there is every chance he could do so.

Clearing the likes of Susie Sapphire, Explosive Boy and Jackslittlething from his wide draw seems a big ask but it is possible and he will certainly prove popular with punters ahead of the big race.

JACK IN NEED OF A FLASH

Jackslittlething won’t be feeling the pressure but he has the opportunity to hand Graham Holland a fourth Irish Derby success and an incredible third in a row when he lines out in trap five.

Owned by the popular Pillar Syndicate, the son of Droopys Sydney suffered his first defeat in almost two months in the semi-finals.

His connections and supporters will be hoping it was just a blip and he can return to his very best this evening. A fast starter with wonderful pace throughout, his claims are obvious. The presence of Explosive Boy on his immediate inner means Jackslittlething may need to produce his fastest ever start but there is no doubt he has the capability to do so.

It’s also worth pointing out that he is the fastest of the six finalists on form with his 29.10 return in the opening round only bettered by Ballymac Ariel in the Derby. His fans would give anything for him to repeat that display. If he does, he is likely to come home in front.

SALLY CAN PLAY A PART

That leads us back to the aforementioned Singalong Sally.

One of the stars of the early season, he captured the Juvenile Classic at Tralee in thoroughly professional fashion before making the final of the Kirby Memorial at Limerick.

Blessed with huge pace throughout she has improved with each start through the Derby after a seasonal rest. In an ideal world, Pat Buckley would have liked another two weeks with his charge but she has shown enough in the last two weeks to suggest she could still play a big part in proceedings. 

Her presence ads so much intrigue to proceedings as she is capable of a flying start while she will certainly cut for the rail in the early yards. If she does clash with Susie Sapphire in the opening strides, it could open the race to those drawn on the outside of the track.

Her connections will be hoping she can avoid Susie Sapphire, however. If she were to somehow get across Susie Sapphire in the first few strides, the 14-1on offer about Gilbert Anderson’s star would look very big indeed. That is no easy task but given her CV, it would be unwise to dismiss the idea completely.

No matter the result, you can expect the daughter of Tullymurry Act to produce another fine display. Whether that will be enough to secure victory is open for debate.   

PROMISING NORTH

And so, to Carrigeen North, the rank outsider of the field.

Michael John Patterson, who owns and bred the son of Skywalker Puma confirmed earlier in the week at the Derby lunch that the semi-finals was their Derby final.

That doesn’t mean he can’t make his presence felt. Thomas Buggy will be so relieved to have final reached a Derby decider after gong so close in three of the past four years. He can now forget about his three Derby semi-finalists that failed to make the final and focus on Carrigeen North.

Only Susie Sapphire is younger than Carrigeen North and it seems there is better to come from the October ’19 whelp. In truth, anything he achieves at this point in his career will come as a bonus but there is a scenario where he can make a bold bid this evening.

Should Susie Sapphire and Singalong Sally clash, Carrigeen North could find himself with room on his inner and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he could be close to the pace on the corner.

That said, he does need plenty to fall in his favour and quotes of 25-1 certainly confirm that he is facing the toughest test of his short career.

BIG RACE VERDICT

It really is a wonderful Derby decider and, before we make our predictions, we must congratulate all those with a runner.

To reach the final is an incredible achievement in itself and you really should be proud.

But there can be only one winner. So much has been said and so many possible scenarios have been expressed in recent days but when al is said and done, the bookmakers seem to have the market about right. The most likely winners are Susie Sapphire, Explosive Boy and All About Ted.

The presence of Singalong Sally will certainly come into my prediction. Should she hit the ground running from tap two, the chances of Susie Sapphire will be greatly diminished. That doesn’t mean Susie Sapphire can’t win. Of course she can and, given her incredible trapping ability and early dash, there is a strong hance she misses Singalong Sally and makes every inch.

Explosive Boy has a better draw, however, and that could make the difference. If producing one of his trademark flying starts, he should have enough to hold the likes of All About Ted and Jackslittlething on his outer into the turn, while also expected to lead Carrigeen North in three.

If Susie Sapphire and Singalong Sally bump, it could be Explosive Boy leading the field around the turn and that might be enough secure success. All About Ted can emerge as his nearest rival with Susie Sapphire third. Once again, best of luck to all. May they all come of safe and sound.

BARRY HARD TO STOP IN PLATE DECIDER

Skywalker Barry has been brilliant form in recent weeks and he looks set to complete his march through the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate.

Certainly, sponsors Boylesports think so with the Mark O’Donovan trained star a long odds-on to come home in front.

The 2020 Juvenile Derby champ was a runaway winner of his semi final and looks ideally housed in two. With another of his trademark fast starts, Skywalker Barry can contain Callaway Mort into the bend before going on to make all.

Elsewhere on the top-class card, Pierno is nominated as the nap with the long run to the turn again likely to play to his strengths in the tenth race over 600yds. Two Amigos can justify favouritism in the open sprint, while Billys Diva can add to her Shelbourne tally from an ideal draw on the fence in the Open Bitch 525.

***

ONLY ONE DERBY BONUS TO BE DECIDED

As we look ahead to Saturday’s Boylesports Derby decider, only one of the Derby bonuses remain undecided with Susie Sapphire and Singalong Sally set to battle it out for the honour of top bitch.

Of course, the pair will line up side by side with Susie Sapphire disputing favouritism from the inside draw, while Singalong Sally races from trap two. She may be a 14-1 chance but seems to be getting better with each and every outing after returning from a seasonal rest to take her chance in the classic.

The achievements of both have been remarkable with Susie Sapphire aiming to go unbeaten through the Derby, while also bidding to become one of the youngest Derby winners of all time. Singalong Sally also demands so much respect for getting this far.

It was clear she was well behind her best when lining up in the opening round but she has negotiated her way through the stake with real determination and ability. As she returns to her very best, her connections can dream that she will produce her very best form on the night that matters.

SURE THE TRIAL STAKE WINNER

The remaining Derby bonus winner have been confirmed.

Re Sure, who is due to take his place in the opening round of the Juvenile Derby on Friday night, is the winner of the €1,500 bonus for the Trial Stake winner to go the furthest. He may have been withdrawn at the quarter final stages but had already secured the prize.

JACK PAYS FOR PILLAR SYNDICATE’S DRINKS BILL

Jackslittlething has a little bit of unfinished business to take care of on Saturday s he will line out in trap five in the Derby decider but he has been confirmed as the last surviving Syndicate owned greyhound.

No matter where he finishes on Saturday, he is guaranteed a minimum of €7,500 although his connections will be hoping for €125,000. He has already picked up €1,500, which should just about cover Saturday’s drinks bill for his owners, the Pillar Syndicate.

ANDY’S NESTOR WINS THE OWNER TRAINED BONUS

Andy Murray had the most wonderful journey through the competition with Gortkelly Nestor and, while he narrowly missed out on a place in the Derby final, he managed to emerge as the last standing Owner trained greyhound.

Of course, this category excludes licensed trainers with a runner in their own name, meaning Gortkelly Nestor laned the €1,500 prize. 

***

SUSIE LEADS FASTEST TO THIRD TURN ON SEMI FINAL CLOCKS

By now you will be more than aware that Susie Sapphire was the fastest of those in action in the Boylesports Derby semi-finals to the third turn.

The Owen McKenna trained starlet recorded a stunning 16.96 on her way to yet another wonderful victory in the classic.

It means that heading into Saturday’s final, she is the only remaining competitor that can boast an unbeaten record in the competition, while she is also the only runner to lead at the third bend in each and every round to date.

All About Ted was just a length behind her to the third turn, posting a rapid 17.03 in the opening semi-final. It was the third time he led to that point through the stake, bettering his 17.08 return in the third round. 

The full breakdown of the third bend leaders through the entire Derby can be seen below:

*Same heat – couldn’t be separated

Leaders Clocks (Fastest to Slowest):

 

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

Q–Finals

S–Finals

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susie Sapphire            

17.12

17.12

17.04

17.04

16.96

All About Ted

 

17.30

17.08

 

17.03

Explosive Boy

17.19

17.11

 

16.98

 

Jackslittlething           

16.96

17.41

17.14

17.03

 

Monraud Thunder

17.43

 

 

17.32

 

Ballymac Ariel

17.09

17.03

16.88

 

 

Ballymac Fairone       

17.30

 

17.19

 

 

Deerjet Sydney

 

17.25

17.28*

 

 

Broadstrand Ryan      

17.25

 

17.28*

 

 

Ballymac Wild            

17.49

 

17.32

 

 

Carrigeen North

 

 

17.33

 

 

Droopys Good

17.30

17.12

 

 

 

Jacob Tashadelek       

17.16

17.17

 

 

 

Deadly Destroyer

 

17.20

 

 

 

Ballymac Art  

17.24

17.28

 

 

 

Athlacca Zette

 

17.35

 

 

 

Scooby Princess

 

17.35

 

 

 

Gortkelly Nestor

 

17.43

 

 

 

Sizzler

 

17.44

 

 

 

Tradesman                 

17.35

17.48

 

 

 

Deadly Samuri           

17.19

17.57

 

 

 

Romeo Magico          

17.06

 

 

 

 

Macho Pride              

17.12

 

 

 

 

Grangeview Mac       

17.16

 

 

 

 

Swords Maestro         

17.22

 

 

 

 

Pennylane Sheba        

17.25

 

 

 

 

Craggan Mor

17.36

 

 

 

 

Tiangle Hugo  

17.40

 

 

 

 

Glenquain Pat

17.41

 

 

 

 

Kameko          

17.43

 

 

 

 

Razldazl Monarch      

17.46

 

 

 

 

Ballymac Beanie        

17.48

 

 

 

 

Moanteen Maestro    

17.49

 

 

 

 

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

 ***

THIRD BEND CLOCKS TELL A STORY

The third bend clocks are one of the great innovations of the Irish track scene in recent years and, more and more, punters and form watchers are taking notice of the sectionals.

The table of fastest third bend clocks through this year’ Derby tells its own story.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s Derby decider, four of the six finalists feature in the top five runs to the third bend. Of course, Ballymac Ariel who posted a fastest of the Derby 16.88 to the third bend in the third round failed to make the final but Susie Sapphire and Jackslittlething will be there.

They have both posted 16.96, making them the joint second fastest runners in the classic to the third bend. Jackslittlething posted his mark in the opening round, while Susie Sapphire recorded her best run in the semi-finals.

Explosive Boy has a 16.98, making his mark the fourth fastest return of the stake, while All About Ted is joint fifth fastest with his 17.03 semi final return. It’s worth noting that Susie Sapphire has three of the top ten fastest third bend clocks of the Derby. A full list of the ten fastest times can be seen below.   

Top 10 times to third bend through the Boylesports Derby

 

 

 

Order

Greyhound (Number of top 10 appearances)

Time (Round)

 

 

 

1

Ballymac Ariel (1)

16.88 (3rd Round)

=2

Jackslittlething (1)

16.96 (1st Round)

=2

Susie Sapphire (1)

16.96 (S-Final)

4

Explosive Boy

16.98 (Q-Final)

=5

All About Ted

17.03 (S-Final)

=5

Jackslittlething (2)

17.03 (Q-Final)

=5

Ballymac Ariel (2)

17.03 (2nd Round)

=8

Susie Sapphire (2)

17.04 (3rd Round)

=8

Susie Sapphire (3)

17.04 (Q-Final)

10

Romeo Magico

17.06 (1st round)

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

EXPLOSIVE BOY THE DERBY FAVOURITE

Sponsors Boylesports have introduced Explosive Boy as their clear favourite for Derby glory next weekend with the Pat Guilfoyle trained star a 2-1 chance to come home in front.

Of course, the firm do have liabilities on the Produce Stakes champion but, given his favourable draw in four, it’s no surprise to see him head the market.

After their wonderful performances in Saturday’s semi-finals, Susie Sapphire and All About Ted are both 3-1 to continue their winning ways. Susie Sapphire is bidding to create a little bit of history by becoming the first bitch this century to land the classic, while also bidding to become the first winner since College Causeway to march through the competition unbeaten.

It would be an incredible feat given her age. All About Ted is bidding to hand Peter Cronin his first Derby success and he certainly seems to be reaching the very peak of his powers at just the right time.

After suffering defeat for the very first time in this year’s Derby in the semis, Jackslittlething is 7-2 to score. Should he emerge triumphant in five days, he would be handing Graham Holland an incredible third Derby victory in a row.

Singalong Sally has been installed a 12-1 chance. As with Susie Sapphire, she is bidding to become the first bitch since Spring Time in 1999 to land the blue riband, while also hoping to hand Pat Buckley his second Irish Derby after the aforementioned College Causeway.

Carrigeen North completes the line-up at 25-1. He too is still a puppy and is a first Derby finalist for Thomas Buggy after having a semi-finalist in three of the four previous years without making it to the final dance.

BoyleSports Irish Derby

Sponsor’s prices:

EXPLOSIVE BOY                  2-1

SUSIE SAPPHIRE                  3-1

ALL ABOUT TED                  3-1

JACKSLITTLETHING          7-2

SINGALONG SALLY            12-1

CARRIGEEN NORTH          25-1

***

BARRY ODDS-ON FOR DERBY PLATE

After two splendid displays through the early rounds of the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate, Skywalker Barry is an 8-13 favourite with Boylesports to land the €5,000 competition on Saturday night.

Outside of the favourite, it looks pretty open with kennel companions Sweep The Yard and Kameko next in at 5-1, ahead of Callaway Mort at 6-1. Madabout Cody is at 10-1 with the rank outsider of the party Evermore at 14-1.

Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate

Boylesports bet:

SKYWALKER BARRY         8-13

SWEEP THE YARD               5-1

KAMEKO                                   5-1

CALLAWAY MORT              6-1

MADABOUT CODY             10-1

EVERMORE                              14-1

***

AND THEN THERE WERE SIX AS TED AND SUSIE IMPRESS

After four weeks of the most incredible racing action imaginable, the Boylesports Derby field was reduced to the final six at Shelbourne Park on Saturday evening.

There were many superb performances on the card but the undoubted stars were All About Ted and Susie Sapphire as they dominated in their respective Derby semi-finals to claim their place in the greatest race on the planet.

READY TEDDY GO

All About Ted came in for floods of cash right through the week and evening to go to traps the 8-11 favourite for the opening semi-final and it was inspired money.

The brilliant son of Kinloch Brae and Enable has improved with each start through the Derby and it was immediately evident that better was still to come.

Coming through the bars from the outside box, Willie Rigney and Richard Brown’s All About Ted was always in complete command. Things were far less straight forward on the inside of the track, however. As expected Singalong Sally dived for the fence from trap three, causing Scooby princess to lose all momentum.

Suddenly, passing the winning line for the first time, the shape of the race was clear for all to see. All About Ted was in command with Singalong Sally now in a clear second, while Carrigeen North was third.

Gortkelly Nestor, Monraud Thunder and Scooby Princess came next and it was clear they were in need of something special to make the frame. The same couldn’t be said for All About Ted. The Peter Cronin trained star was on his way to an emphatic success.

Singalong Sally gave chase throughout but never looked like bridging the gap, while Carrigeen North continued to contain those in behind. The order never changed thereafter and All About Ted emerged a brilliant winner by four lengths in a rapid 29.23. Singalong Sally was second, two and a half lengths clear of the third qualifier, Carrigeen North. 

SAPPHIRE REALLY IS PRECIOUS

The second heat had been billed as one of the great races with a line-up fitting of any classic decider but, for the second week running, Peter Comerford’s Susie Sapphire displayed amazing early speed to dictate from the early yards to remain unbeaten in the Derby.

It was a copy and paste type display from the sensational daughter of Droopys Jet and Jetstream Lynx as she produced a typically professional display of early speed. Recording a 3.41 split for the second week running, she comfortably headed the fast-starting Explosive Boy into the bend. Jackslittlething and Ballymac Ariel came next with Ballymac Fairone and Priceless Jet not far behind.

Susie Sapphire was in pole position. Entering the back straight with two and a half lengths in hand on Explosive Boy, it was clear to all she was going to take some catching.

Behind the front two, Jackslittlething had just cleared Ballymac Ariel on the bend, forcing the latter to check her stride, allowing her kennel mate Ballymac Fairone to move fourth. Susie Sapphire and Explosive Boy seemed guaranteed their place in the decider with the pair remaining clear of their pursuers.

By halfway, the Owen McKenna trained Susie Sapphire had increased her lead to over three lengths but it was back to two lengths between the last two bends as Explosive Boy drew closer. Susie Sapphire never looked like getting picked up but Explosive Boy did close the gap all the way to the line.  

Susie Sapphire held on to take the verdict by a head in 29.34. Not only had she beaten one of the best fields ever assembled, but she also maintained her unbeaten record in the competition. Explosive Boy was second, while there was a four length gap to Jackslittlething in third as he held the challenge of Both Ballymac Fairone and Ballymac Ariel.

KAMEKO ARRIVES LATE

Kameko and Skywalker Barry did what was needed to win their respective semi-finals in the Michael Fortune Memorial Plate.

Callaway Mort seemed destined to win the opening heat when making a flying start from the inside to lad or much of the journey.

Larry O’Rourke’s Kameko turned second and seemed certain to qualify but probably finish runner-up but Callaway Mort started to show signs of fatigue around the final two bends. The Graham Holland trained Kameko (Good News/ Mysterious Ways) didn’t need a second invite.

Staying on well, Kameko reeled in Callaway Mort in the closing yards to emerge a length and a half scorer in 29.75. Callaway Mort was second with Madabout Cody, just a short head away, the third qualifier. 

BARRY DOMINATES

Skywalker Barry was a foot-perfect winner of the second heat, dominating from the early yards to emerge a comfortable winner for Mark O’Donovan and Ray Patterson.

The son of Droopys Jet and Calzaghe Jan broke fastest and soon opened a race-winning advantage.

Sweep The Yard drove the bend to move second but there was no way he was going to bridge the gap to Skywalker Barry. Instead, Darbys Delight flew home to grab second spot, although the stewards felt he did enough in the closing yards to justify needing a conduct trial.

Skywalker Barry eventually crossed the line with two lengths in hand in 29.48. Darby Delight had a half length in hand on Sweep The Yard while Evermore was just another three parts of a length adrift in fourth. The latter progressed to the final following the action taken against Darbys Delight.

 ***

A NEAR PERFECT DRAW FOR DERBY DECIDER

The draw for the final of the Boylesports Irish Derby has thrown up the almost perfect conclusion with each and every greyhound holding strong claims.

One by one, as the name of each greyhound was called, there seemed to be a roar of approval from the Shelbourne stands.

Susie Sapphire and Singalong Sally will attempt to become the first female winners since Sprint Time in 1999. Susie Sapphire will wear the red jacket of one while Singalong Sally will be housed next door in two.

Carrigeen North, like Susie Sapphire, is still a puppy. He will race from trap three in what will be just his fifteenth career start. Explosive Boy, who has been Derby favourite for some time, will line out in trap four with the sole middle seed Jackslittlething in five. All About Ted as the sole wide seed is drawn in the stripes.   

It really is a race to look forward to and there seems every chance it could offer the most incredible spectacle.

BOYLESPORTS IRISH DERBY FINAL DRAW

1 SUSIE SAPPHIRE

2 SINGALONG SALLY

3 CARRIGEEN NORTH

4 EXPLOSIVE BOY

5 JACKSLITTLETHING (M)

6 ALL ABOUT TED (W)

MICHAEL FORTUNE MEMORIAL DERBY PLATE DRAW

1 SWEEP THE YARD

2 SKYWALKER BARRY

3 KAMEKO

4 CALLAWAY MORT

5 MADABOUT CODY (M)

6 EVERMORE (M)

***

A RACE AND A NIGHT TO SAVOUR

This year’s Boylesports Irish Derby has been a vintage renewal.

We have seen so many incredible performances, a number of shocks and plenty of wonderful storylines.

Tonight, twelve sets of connections will make the journey to Shelbourne Park for the semi-finals of the classic with their dreams intact.

For most, they are looking forward to the most important thirty seconds of their involvement in the sport of greyhound racing. As you would expect at this late stage in a Derby, the two semi-finals are absolutely packed with quality.

The opening heat is a hot affair, although All About Ted will be a warm favourite. Some seventeen minutes later, one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the past two decades will light up Shelbourne Park.

The second semi-final has been spoken about ad nauseam. It’s now time to let the dogs do the talking and all evidence would suggest that could provide one of the most incredible races ever seen at the famous Ringsend venue.

TED TO MAKE IT ALL ABOUT HIM

The opening heat has ben somewhat overshadowed in recent days by the colossus that is Heat 2, but for those involved it’s every bit as important.

Indeed, the prize for finishing in the first three is the same for those n the second heat.

The betting suggests that All About Ted is the one to beat. The Peter Cronin trained star has taken a step forward with each outing through the Derby and he is now a real contender. He was a 6-4 chance in places during the week but don’t expect to see anything like that price tonight.

In fact, All About Ted could be as short as 4-5 come the off. His nearest rival in the betting is Scooby Princess but she faces a very tough draw in trap two. With Monraud Thunder likely to go up strongly from the inside box and move of the fence and Singalong Sally certain to cut inwards from trap three, Scooby Princess could find herself the meat in the sandwich.    

The Jennifer O’Donnell trained star has been one of the stars through this year’s Derby, however, and her pace from the second turn should allow her recover. None will be finishing faster than Scooby Princess and she is fancied to make it through to next weekend’s decider.

Singalong Sally has been improving through the competition. She is now clear of her season but faces a tricky draw in three. If the Pat Buckley trained star is to progress, she must hit the ground running and get to the fence. That won’t be easy in such a competitive race.

Monraud Thunder is having just his tenth career outing but has been running very well. His chances depend on whether he can turn close to the pace. His tendency to move to the middle of the track is a slight concern but he’s clearly progressive and can’t be completely dismissed.

That leads us to Carrigeen North and Gortkelly Nestor. The former is still a puppy and won’t be two until next month. He fully deserves his place in the semi-finals but Thomas Buggy will be in no doubt that he needs to get his charge out of boxes tonight.

The son of Skywalker Puma has an ideal draw in four. With Singalong Sally going to move left from trap three, Carrigeen North should have room to race in the early yards. If turning close, he could play a part.

The same applies for Gortkelly Nestor.

A model of consistency, the son of Droopys Jet flew home to grab third spot last week. He will need to go up stronger this week but he is certainly capable of doing so. Should Gortkelly Nestor turn in the first three, it would need a special effort from one of his rivals to knock him out of the frame.

All About Ted is the favourite, however, and with reason. He posted 3.37 and 3.38 into the turn in his last two outings and a similar start this evening would almost certainly see him lead th field into the back straight.

In such a scenario, All About Ted would be almost impossible to pick up. Scooby Princess will finish with a wet sail and is chosen to take second spot, while the race for third could go right down to the wire.

AN INCREDIBLE CONTEST

The second semi-final is an incredible contest. Few can remember a race to rival it in terms of overall quality.

The fact that beaten English Derby favourite Ballymac Fairone and classic winner Priceless Jet are available at 14-1 and 16-1 with the sponsors highlights the unbelievable quality on show. 

Susie Sapphire, Explosive Boy, Ballymac Ariel and Jackslittlething head the market and it could be debated which will even start favourite. They are exceptional greyhounds and their similarities are very obvious.

All four are natural starters, have tremendous early speed and are electric down the back straight. Picking a likely winner with any degree of confidence is a near-impossibility. In short, this could develop into one of the most incredible races seen in a long, long time.

In theory, Susie Sapphire has the best of the draw along the fence but this is her toughest test yet. The Oaks and Puppy Oaks champion is, remarkably, still two months shy of her second birthday but is very special.

Owen McKenna’s starlet can fly from traps, has the most incredible acceleration into the turn and wonl;t move off the fence. With all that in mind, he is perhaps the most likely pace-setter, although containing the likes of Explosive Boy and Ballymac Ariel will be no easy task.

Explosive Boy posted a sensational 3.33 sectional last week and is another potential pace-setter. He remains favourite, due to liabilities, for outright glory with sponsors, Boylesports. Should he produce another flying start, he is certain to play a big part in proceedings, although recent evidence would suggest an early lead is no guarantee of success.

In each of his last two starts, he led from traps only to be picked up by Ballymac Ariel. In the third round, the latter took up the running into the bend, while a week ago she took over at the third turn despite racing under a cloud.

A week on, Liam Dowling seems much happier with Ballymac Ariel and there will be no excuses if she fails to maintain her unbeaten record in the competition. The daughter of Ballymac Bolger has always been a bit special but her displays through this year’s Derby have been extraordinary.

A trap four draw is a slight concern as she does tend to edge wide at boxes. She will need to avoid Jackslittlething but, if doing so, could again find herself in the perfect position to launch a challenge into the back straight.

Jackslittlething is on a run of six straight wins. A natural starter with massive pace throughout, the Graham Holland trained star has very obvious claims although he may need to repeat his fastest ever exit from a tough draw in five. If he fails to hit the ground running, things could get very serious very quickly.  

The aforementioned Ballymac Fairone and Priceless Jet may need things to fall into their lap somewhat but, given their undoubted ability, their presence adds further intrigue to what is already a very special race.

It’s not the type of contest where you can declare a likely winner with any real confidence but Ballymac Ariel has answered every question put to her over the past four weeks and she is nominated to come out on top. Susie Sapphire and Explosive Boy are chosen to chase her into the Derby final.

To each and every person with a vested interest, the very best of luck. May both races be cleanly run and all twelve greyhounds come off safe and sound.

BARRY TO TAKE TO THE SKIES IN PLATE

The Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate will serve as the perfect accompaniment to the Derby action and both heats offer so much.

Skywalker Barry is favourite for outright success and he will seek to continue his winning ways in the second heat.

The 2020 Juvenile Derby champion has an ideal draw on the fence and will be a hot favourite to emerge triumphant. Blessed with superb early speed, the son of Droopy Jet can dictate to the turn before going on to contain the likes of Promising puppy Droopys Gloss with the powerful Darbys Delight.

MIGHTY MORT TO GET LOOSE

The opening heat looks wide open.

It’s the type of contest where the on-course bookmakers could go 3-1 the field. The draw could play a big part in proceedings but Callaway Mort seems to be strengthening up with each outing and, given his favourable draw on the fence, he makes most appeal. He was right on the heels of Skywalker Barry at the turn last weekend and a similar start would see him turn in front.

Kameko and Moanteen Maestro are likely to go up fast from traps two and three. Should they fail to lead into the back straight, they might struggle to get back on terms, however. Instead, Angry Tornado and Fast Fit Paddy will look to get after Calloway Mort but the vote remains with the latter.

***

BOY THE THIRD BEND STAR

Explosive Boy may have suffered defeat on Saturday night in the quarter finals of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby but I’m sure he pleased all those that have him backed long-odds, while Pat Guilfoyle and Peter Sutcliffe will be more than satisfied by his progress.

He was fastest of the four third bend leaders when posting a rapid 16.98. In doing so he became just the third greyhounds to break the 17 second barrier in this year’s Derby alongside Jackslittlething (opening round) and Ballymac Ariel (third round).

The table below highlights the fact that only two greyhounds have set the pace to the third bend marker in each of the four rounds. They are the aforementioned Jackslittlething and Susie Sapphire. Jackslittlething was pretty flawless on Saturday, popping from trap four to make every inch in a fastest of the round 29.23. His third bend clock of 17.03 was joint fourth fastest of the entire competition.

Susie Sapphire was just behind Jackslittlething on the third bend clock. Despite not making her very fastest start, she still managed to clock a rapid 17.04. It was exact same clock she posted a week earlier in her third round success. 

Monraud Thunder was the slowest of the four third bend leaders but there was nothing wrong with his 17.32. He id drift off the corner and would have handed away a length at minimum. A full list of the third bend leaders from each of the four rounds can be seen below.

*Same heat – couldn’t be separated

Leaders Clocks (Fastest to Slowest):

 

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

Q – finals

 

 

 

 

 

Explosive Boy

17.19

17.11

 

16.98

Jackslittlething                       

16.96

17.41

17.14

17.03

Susie Sapphire            

17.12

17.12

17.04

17.04

Monraud Thunder

17.43

 

 

17.32

Ballymac Ariel

17.09

17.03

16.88

 

All About Ted

 

17.30

17.08

 

Ballymac Fairone       

17.30

 

17.19

 

Deerjet Sydney

 

17.25

17.28*

 

Broadstrand Ryan      

17.25

 

17.28*

 

Ballymac Wild            

17.49

 

17.32

 

Carrigeen North

 

 

17.33

 

Droopys Good            

17.30

17.12

 

 

Jacob Tashadelek       

17.16

17.17

 

 

Deadly Destroyer

 

17.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballymac Art  

17.24

17.28

 

 

Athlacca Zette

 

17.35

 

 

Scooby Princess

 

17.35

 

 

Gortkelly Nestor

 

17.43

 

 

Sizzler

 

17.44

 

 

Tradesman                 

17.35

17.48

 

 

Deadly Samuri                       

17.19

17.57

 

 

Romeo Magico                      

17.06

 

 

 

Macho Pride              

17.12

 

 

 

Grangeview Mac       

17.16

 

 

 

Swords Maestro         

17.22

 

 

 

Pennylane Sheba        

17.25

 

 

 

Craggan Mor

17.36

 

 

 

Tiangle Hugo  

17.40

 

 

 

Glenquain Pat

17.41

 

 

 

Kameko          

17.43

 

 

 

Razldazl Monarch      

17.46

 

 

 

Ballymac Beanie        

17.48

 

 

 

Moanteen Maestro    

17.49

 

 

 

***

EXPLOSVE BOY STILL FAVORITE WITH SPONSORS

Explosive Boy remains the favourite for outright honours in the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby with the sponsors at 5-2.

Of course, he has suffered defeat in his last two outings in the competition but it’s clear to all that he has outstanding claims.

Damien Lonergan of Boylesports explained the reasons, “Obviously, he’s been beaten by [Ballymac] Ariel two weeks running but he’s still our worst result, liability wise, and the draw has been relatively kind to him in an incredible heat.”

The aforementioned Ballymac Ariel, who remains unbeaten in the Derby, is a 7-2 chance, while another unbeaten runner, Jackslittlething, is next in at 4-1. The last of the three unbeaten greyhounds in the Derby, Susie Sapphire, is available at 8-1 alongside All About Ted. Scooby Princess, at 10-1, is the only other greyhound below the 25-1 mark. The full market can be seen below.

Boylesports Irish Derby (Outright Prices)

5-2          Explosive Boy

7-2          Ballymac Ariel

4              Jackslittlething

8              All About Ted

8              Susie Sapphire

10           Scooby Princess

25           Singalong Sally

25           Priceless Jet

25           Ballymac Fairone

33           Gortkelly Nestor

33           Carrigeen North

33           Monraud Thunder

***

AN INCREDIBLE NIGHT AT SHELBOURNE PARK AS JACK GOES FASTEST

It was a joy to be at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as the very best greyhounds on the planet produced run after run of the highest quality.

Of course, the quarter finals of the Boylesports Derby were the highlight and the ladies looked set to steal the headlines with Ballymac Ariel, Singalong Sally and Susie Sapphire all winning in incredible fashion for the fairer sex.

Jackslittlething had other ideas, however, and he stepped forward in the final heat to again remind the world that he is a major player in this year’s blue riband with a stunning fastest of the round 29.23 victory. 

AWESOME ARIEL PREVAILS IN A THRILLER

Ballymac Ariel once again confirmed her standing as one of the true greats with another stunning display in the opening quarter final.

Explosive Boy was electric at boxes and led the field into the bend but Ballymac Ariel was soon in chase.

Of course, the daughter of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Cameo was under a cloud through the week but Liam Dowling was given the green light to run his star and she did him proud. Ballymac Ariel entered the back straight two lengths behind Explosive Boy but she displayed real pace and determination to challenge into the third turn.

Showing incredible pace, Ariel struck the front on the third bend in a decisive maneouvre. She soon moved on by two lengths but Explosive Boy wasn’t finished with yet. The brilliant Produce Stakes and Race of Champions winner rallied on the run in to close on Ballymac Ariel.

Incredibly, after the week she had, Ballymac Ariel prevailed, crossing the line with a half length in hand on Explosive Boy in 29.37. All About Ted was third throughout but that didn’t tell the full story. He was actually held up into the turn by Ballymac Ariel and ran a tremendous race to finish just two lengths behind Explosive Boy in third. Sadly or 2020 English Derby champion Deerjet Sydney, he could never get back into the qualifying positions after turning fourth.

SUPER SALLY IS BACK

Gilbert Anderson’s Singalong Sally has improved for every outing through the Derby and, after the success of Ballymac Ariel, she made it two from two for the ladies when taking the second heat in fine style.

The Pat Buckley trained Juvenile Classic winner again dived for the fence in the early yards but had room as Monraud Thunder took a flier from the inside box to lead the field into the bend.

On the inside of a line of four greyhounds, Singalong Sally drove the turn to move a clear second behind Monraud Thunder. It was suddenly race on. The latter continued to dictate by two lengths into the backstraight but Singalong Sally had the bit between her teeth and the daughter of Tullymurry Act and Droopys Smasher started to bridge the gap.

Displaying the sort of pace that saw her establish herself as one of Ireland’s early season stars, Singalong Sally shot up the fence to lead into the third turn. She did tire slightly on the run in but still emerged an impressive length and a half scorer in 29.70. Monraud Thunder played his part in making this a wonderful spectacle and he held on to grab second while the race for third went right down to the wire. For so much of the journey it seemed as though Rural Star would be progressing but he was collared on the line by Gortkelly Nester, who despite being forced to change sides early in the home straight, ran on strongly to finish three lengths behind Monraud Thunder. Sadly, for connections of Rural Star they were denied by an agonising head.  

SUSIE MAINTAINS HER PERFECT DERBY RECORD

Not to be outdone by Ballymac Ariel, Susie Sapphire also maintained her unbeaten record in the Derby with a typically slick display of front running as she contained the incredible finish of Scooby Princess in a thriller.

Of course, in victory, Peter Comerford’s Susie Sapphire was completing a treble of the ladies in the quarter finals. This was a tremendous contest with Ballymac Fairone and Scooby Princess forcing Susie Sapphire to dig deep.

The Owen McKenna trained Susie Sapphire didn’t actually fly from traps but her first two strides were incredible. Showing the most wonderful acceleration up the fence, the daughter of Droopys Jet and Jetstream Lynx quickly asserted at the head of affairs. Ballymac Fairone also went up well to give chase in second, while Swords Maestro was third.

Susie Sapphire seemed to be in total control entering the straight but Ballymac Fairone did close into the third turn while Scooby Princess was starting to move through the gears back in fourth. Susie Sapphire remained in the driving seat as they turned for home but her pursuers were closing with Scooby Princess, in particular, finishing fastest.

In a desperate finish, Susie Sapphire held on from the advancing Scooby Princess to score by a head in 29.41. Scooby Princess ran an incredible race in second with Ballymac Fairone a half length adrift in third.

JACK SENDS A MESSAGE

Jackslittlething sent out a clear and pretty emphatic message that he remains a major player in this year’s Boylesports Irish Derby with a stunning front running display in the final heat.

Not only did he win by a wide margin but the Pillar Syndicate owned star also posted the fastest time of the round, stopping the clock in a rapid 29.23.

Making a flying start from trap four, Jackslittlething was soon in command. The promising Carrigeen North also went up fast but couldn’t hold the favourite into the bend. As if sensing the potential danger posed by Carrigeen North, Jackslittlething quickened into the corner to open a decisive advantage.

It was all plain sailing thereafter. Easing clear to the third turn, the Graham Holland trained Jackslittlething was in complete command and the son of Droopys Sydney and Limini eventually coasted home a facile six length winner over Carrigeen North, who ran a big race in defeat.

Priceless Jet was denied a run at a couple of pivotal moments in the contest but dug in to contain the late charge of Skywalker Cilla to grab third, three parts of a length behind the runner-up.

WONDERFUL PLATE ACTION

The quarter finals of the Michael Fortune Memorial Plate produced four wonderful winners with the very exciting Droopys Gloss setting the standard, although Sweep The Yard, Skywalker Barry and Gaytime Milo all impressed.

Sweep The Yard took the opening heat, initiating a double in the heats for Graham Holland. Not renowned as a fast starter, the powerful son of Swift Hoffman and Sallins Mia was always going to take some stopping when managing to turn in front.

Fast Fit Paddy gave chase throughout but he was always going to struggle to threaten Sweep The Yard. Owned by the Broken Bookies Syndicate, Sweep The Yard maintained a strong gallop throughout, actually increasing his lead from the line to eventually see off his pursuer by three and a half lengths in 29.58. Kameko was two lengths adrift in third.

BRILLIANT BARRY FOOT-PERFECT

Skywalker Barry was, for the second week running, flawless as he emerged a wonderful winner of Heat 2.

Ray Patterson’s brilliant son of Droopys Jet and Calzaghe Jan broke fastest and led the field in the early yards before driving the bend to just clear Callaway Mort.

Once clearing the bend, the Mark O’Donovan trained Skywalker Barry was never under pressure. Madabout Cody did show plenty of pace in defeat to come through for second but Skywalker Barry was in a league of his own as he ran out an easy four length scorer in 29.34. Madabout Cody was second with Callaway Mort a further length adrift in third.

A BEAUTIFUL GLOSSY FINISH

John Coleman’s Droopys Gloss gave further evidence in Heat 3 that she is a young lady with a very big future in her chosen profession.

Moanteen Maestro flew into the turn to dictate the pace and he remained in front despite moving off the bend but his fate was sealed when Droopys Gloss slipped around on the fence to go second.

Moanteen Maestro continued to lead the field into the back straight but Droopys Gloss was now stalking the leader and moving with real purpose. Showing massive back straight pace, the Murt Leahy trained daughter of Coolavanny Jap and Droopys Talia hit the front before the third turn and quickly put the result beyond doubt.

Displaying real pace and strength, Droopys Gloss eased away for a very taking three and a half length victory in a rapid 29.32. Moanteen Maestro was second with a further length to Angry Tornado in third.

MILO DIGS IN

Gaytime Milo was made to work hard for victory in the final heat although he really did knuckle down to hold the withering challenge of Darbys Delight.

After a fast start, Gaytime Milo led the field into the turn but Evermore was soon on his shoulder and pressing hard.

Gaytime Milo has wonderful pace and was expected to ease clear but Evermore ran a big race to stay with him in second spot. Darby Delight was well adrift down the back straight but he quickly closed the gap around the last two bends. 

Turning for home the Graham Holland trained Gaytime Milo remained in front but was being challenged on both sides with Evermore on his outside and Darbys Delight absolutely flying on the fence. It seemed only a matter of time before Darbys Delight would get to the front but Gaytime Milo had other ideas.

Stefanie O’Connell’s son of Gaytime Hawk and Gaytime Derval seemed to kick again once straightening up and he flew up the straight to hold Darbys Delight, and perhaps ever extend his lead, to score by three parts of a length from Darbys Delight in 29.59. Evermore also ran a big race to finish just three parts of a length adrift in third.

***

WHAT A DRAW!

If the reaction on social media is anything to go on, the second semi-final of the Boylesports Irish Derby is one of the most anticipated races of the past ten years. Scarcely has there been a race stacked with such quality.

Incredibly, three of the line-up, Susie Sapphire, Ballymac Ariel and Jackslittlething, will be defending an unbeaten record, while Exdplosive Boy, Ballymac Fairone and Priceless Jet complete the most wonderful line-up imaginable.

It will be interesting to see how the firms price up the contest in the coming days but, have no doubt, there will be many different opinions on how this contest will go.

The opening heat is also a hot affair but those with a runner in the line-up will be glad they avoided the second semi. Singalong Sally is the only quarter final winner in the field but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. On first look, it seems likely All About Ted and Scooby Princess will be the big two in the betting.

Heat 1

1 MONRAUD THUNDER

2 SCOOBY PRINCESS

3 SINGALONG SALLY

4 CARRIGEEN NORTH

5 GORTKELLY NESTOR (W)

6 ALL ABOUT TED (W)

Heat 2

1 SUSIE SAPPHIRE

2 BALLYMAC FAIRONE

3 EXPLOSIVE BOY

4 BALLYMAC ARIEL (M)

5 JACKSLITTLETHING (M)

6 PRICELESS JET (W)

***

DERBY PLATE DRAW

The Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate has been providing some wonderful action to support the Derby itself and it’s really heating up. The draw for the competition has also thrown up a couple of intriguing contests.

Much like the Derby, the second semi final is particularly hot with quarter final winners Skywalker Barry, Sweep the Yard, Gaytime Milo and Droopys Gloss all clashing. The draw can be seen below:

Heat 1

1 CALLAWAY MORT

2 KAMEKO

3 MOANTEEN MAESTRO

4 ANGRY TORNADO

5 FAST FIT PADDY

6 MADABOUT CODY (M)

Heat 2

1 SKYWALKER BARRY

2 DARBYS DELIGHT

3 SWEEP THE YARD

4 GAYTIME MILO

5 DROOPYS GLOSS

6 EVERMORE (M)

***

EXPECT MORE DERBY DRAMA IN QUARTER FINALS

The latest chapter in the 2021 Boylesports Irish Derby is to be written at Shelbourne Park this evening and those still involved in the classic can continue to dream for another few hours.

Sadly, for his connections, Re Sure won’t be racing to Derby glory on September 18th after he was withdrawn during the week.

Another eleven greyhounds will make their exit this evening, leaving the final twelve to dream of Derby success. Each this evening’s four quarter finals are packed with quality and the racing action should be unmissable.

BOY TO EXPLODE

In the coming hours, it will be revealed whether Ballymac Ariel is deemed fit enough to take her place in the opening quarter final.

Liam Dowling has done everything in his power to ensure that Ballymac Ariel is ready to race but her preparation has been far from ideal.   

With that in mind, it could offer Explosive Boy to reverse last week’s form. The long-time Derby favourite was outpointed by Ballymac Ariel last week but lost nothing in defeat. Should he produce another flying start, he could very quickly find himself in the perfect position to return to winning ways.

Drawn in trap two, the Produce Stakes and Race of Champions winner will need to hit the ground running but those familiar with the son of Good News are more than aware that he is amongst the most natural starters in training.

Th presence of the rails-seeking 2020 English Derby winner Deerjet Sydney on his immediate outside is a concern but Explosive Boy has proven many times that he is capable of beating a tricky draw. Should he explode from traps, the Pat Guilfoyle trained star could find himself in the driving seat into the bend.

Of course, Ballymac Ariel is entitled to respect from trap five but, if she is anything less than one hundred percent, she might struggle to match Explosive Boy early.

All About Ted also has big claims. He has improved with each outing through the competition, culminating in a brilliant trap to line success in 29.31 last weekend. On that level of form, he is a huge threat to all in the opening heat but the biggest question is; can he lead Explosive Boy into the bend? That will determine whether he can win or not.

The aforementioned Deerjet Sydney is also in tremendous form. He was seen at his determined best last week but there seems no doubt he must be at his very sharpest tonight. The Pat Buckley trained star does know how to win, however, and it would be brash to ignore his claims.

Jazz Toes races on the fence and has been in fine form but this seems a test for the son of Taylors Sky. If he is to progress, he may need a career best display. The same can be said for the powerful Galvarino. The big finisher is likely to find himself off the pace in the early stages and may need luck to land a blow.

It truly is an intriguing contest made only more muddling by the uncertainty surrounding Ballymac Ariel. Given the circumstances, the vote goes to Explosive Boy to win with Ballymac Ariel and All About Ted chosen to progress.

ALL GOOD FOR DROOPYS

After producing an amazing run to even qualify last week, Droopys Good is likely to start favourite in Heat 2 but only a return to his fast-starting ways will suffice in a race featuring so many different racing styles.

The Owen McKenna trained Droopys Good walked from traps last week but displayed amazing determination and pace into the third turn to move into a qualifying position. He then dug deep to hold on for third. He may have been beaten ten lengths but it was still an incredible run.

His connections will be hoping for a far more straightforward display this evening. Drawn in four, Droopys Good should have the measure of those on his flanks into the turn and looks set to move to the front.

If doing so, he may take some catching as he is also blessed with tremendous back straight pace. There is probably no standout threat but claims can certainly be made for each of his five rivals. Singalong Sally and Monraud Thunder will battle for a challenging pitch along the inside of the track, while Gortkelly Nestor is likely to race prominently on the wide outside.

Rural Star and No Green Dye complete the line-up. The latter has been in flying form of late and will be finishing fast, while Rural Star ran a big race in defeat behind Deerjet Sydney last week and continues to hint at a return to his very best form. If he is to threaten this evening, however, he must find his trapping boots.

Given the fact that he seems a likely pace-setter, Droopys Good is the most likely winner but, one suspects, Singalong Sally is far enough out of season to put in a bold bid. Should she clear Monraud Thunder up the fence, she could really put it up to Droopys Good.

CAN SAPPHIRE PRODUCE ANOTHER SPARKING DISPLAY?

It’s a terrible shame that Re Sure won’t be taking his place in Heat 3 but it remains a tremendous contest.

The razor-sharp Susie Sapphire will be a hot favourite along the fence and the Oaks and Puppy Oaks champ looks likely to continue her winning ways.

Her level of performance over the past three rounds has been truly remarkable and she continues to improve. It’s quite staggering that she won’t be two years of age until November.

She won’t have things easy, however, as Ballymac Fairone, Scooby Princess and Ballymac Wild are amongst the very fastest in training, while Swords Maestro is hardly an also-ran. 

But no matter how many times you look at this contest, it is hard to oppose Susie Sapphire. From a perfect pitch on the fence, the flying starter, who has superb early speed, looks the like pace-setter. Ballymac Fairone has plenty of pace but he has been inconsistent at boxes and it would need something electrifying from the son of Ballymac Matt to see him challenge Susie Sapphire into the bend.

Scooby Princess is capable of a ping break from trap three but she may not have the early dash to hold her position. So much will depend on how close she can turn as she is as strong as any from the second bend. 

And then there is Ballymac Wild. His record is absolutely stunning and he continues to perform at the very highest level. The draw is a concern for Liam Dowling’s star but if he does manage to turn close to the pace, expect the brilliant brindle to progress.

Swords Maestro can also figure but that will very much depend on whether he can repeat his best start from trap five. In short, it’s perhaps safest to side with Susie Sapphire. On current form, Peter Comerford’s star will be very hard to stop and she is selected to make every inch.

JACK SEEKING SIX STRAIGHT

Jackslittlething will be an odds-on chance for the fourth time in four starts in this year’s Derby when he lines out in the last of the quarter finals.

The Champion Plate winner is on a run of five wins and will be expected to make it six straight, although he faces a tougher test than his last two starts.

His best ever run came in the opening round of the Derby when posting a sensational 29.10 from trap four. It’s worth noting that he will tonight wear the black of four for the first time since. If he can produce another 3.36 start, the race could be over as a contest as soon as the opening turn but greyhound racing isn’t always that straightforward.

The likes of Skywalker Cilla, Carrigeen North and Priceless Jet are certainly capable of putting up to Jackslittlething and were the favourite to make any mistakes at trap rise, thing could get very competitive.

Skywalker Cilla was brilliant in her latest outing, charging home to beat Ballymac Fairone. If she is to follow up that success, she will again need to turn close to the pace but a rails pitch could allow her to do so.

Carrigeen North is a rapidly improving tracker. He displayed fine speed to lead into the turn last week before going on to clock 29.63. He may need to go faster this evening but he is clearly progressing all the time and can’t be dismissed. 

Priceless Jet is nominated as the main danger to Jackslittlething, however. He was only third to Ballymac Ariel last week but did encounter traffic problems. He is blessed with amazing pace and power and is certainly fast enough to push Jackslittlething throughout.

Brykar Oak and Gunboat Showman complete the line-up. Both greyhounds have been running extremely well for their connections but this might be a step to far. Instead, Jackslittlething is nominated as the one to beat but expect Priceless Jet and Skywalker Cilla to press him hard.

BARRY CAN FOLLOW UP IN PLATE

2020 Juvenile Derby champion Skywalker Barry returned to his best last week to set the standard in the opening round of the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate.

Eight days on, the Mark O’Donovan trained star will again take some stopping in the second of the four quarter finals heats.

Drawn in three, Skywalker Barry looks a likely pace-setter and, if turning in front, will be near impossible to pick up. Callaway Mort is perhaps the biggest threat as he has good early speed but Skywalker Barry is difficult to oppose.

PADDY TO POUNCE

Only four greyhounds will go to traps in the opening heat following the news that both Roxholme Sheikh and Tip Top Taylor have been withdrawn after picking up small problems.

It remains a competitive affair although the extra room could allow Fast Fit Paddy and Stefans Rocket to produce their best form.

Both greyhounds have tremendous pace but an inside draw might just swing it in favour of Fast Fit Paddy.

PEEWEE CAN OVERPOWER RIVALS

Crafty Bonanza is out of Heat 3 and this should play into the hands of Storys Peewee.

Trained by the in-form Murt Leahy, Peewee packs a real punch from halfway but is also going up faster these days. If avoiding traffic, the son of Over Limit might have too much ammunition for his young kennel companion Droopys Gloss.

MILO TO MAKE MOST OF DRAW

Gaytime Milo was always struggling to figure after a slow start last week but eventually ran on strongly to qualify in third.

He is set to put that form behind him in the final heat where he looks a potential pace-setter along the fence.

If striking the front before the corner, the Graham Holland trained star could take some stopping. Darbys Delight is a serious threat but may not be able to give Gaytime Milo a head start and a beating.   

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

ARIEL FASTEST OF ENTIRE DERBY TO THIRD BEND

It will come as no shock that Ballymac Ariel set the standard on the third bend clocks in the third round of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby last Saturday evening.

Posting a sensational 16.88, she also posted the fastest time of the Derby this far to the mark and it will need something special to topple that mark in the remaining rounds.

As it happens, Susie Sapphire was second fastest, clocking a rapid 17.04. It means that ladies really did set the pace last weekend. It’s worth pointing out that both Ballymac Ariel and Susie Sapphire led at the third bend mark in all three of their outings to date in this year’s Derby and they have gone faster with each run.

The only other greyhound to lead at the third bend sectional mark in all three rounds is Jackslittlething. He posted 17.14 which was fourth fastest of the third bend leaders. All About Ted produced a superb run to go faster in 17.08.

The Peter Cronin trained star seems to be improving with each outing through the Derby and it will be interesting to see if he can go even faster in the coming fortnight. He may need to, however, given the company he will be keeping on Saturday night. Ballymac Fairone was the only other greyhound to dip under 17.20, posting 17.19 despite a moderate start. With a better exit, it seems safe to assume he could dip under 17.10 in the future.  

*Same heat – couldn’t be separated

Leaders Clocks (Fastest to Slowest):

 

 

 

 

 

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

 

 

 

 

Ballymac Ariel

17.09

17.03

16.88

Susie Sapphire            

17.12

17.12

17.04

All About Ted

 

17.30

17.08

Jackslittlething                       

16.96

17.41

17.14

Ballymac Fairone       

17.30

 

17.19

Deerjet Sydney

 

17.25

17.28*

Broadstrand Ryan      

17.25

 

17.28*

Ballymac Wild            

17.49

 

17.32

Carrigeen North

 

 

17.33

Explosive Boy

17.19

17.11

 

Droopys Good            

17.30

17.12

 

Jacob Tashadelek       

17.16

17.17

 

Deadly Destroyer

 

17.20

 

 

 

 

 

Ballymac Art  

17.24

17.28

 

Athlacca Zette

 

17.35

 

Scooby Princess

 

17.35

 

Gortkelly Nestor

 

17.43

 

Sizzler

 

17.44

 

Tradesman                 

17.35

17.48

 

Deadly Samuri                       

17.19

17.57

 

Romeo Magico                      

17.06

 

 

Macho Pride              

17.12

 

 

Grangeview Mac       

17.16

 

 

Swords Maestro         

17.22

 

 

Pennylane Sheba        

17.25

 

 

Craggan Mor

17.36

 

 

Tiangle Hugo  

17.40

 

 

Glenquain Pat

17.41

 

 

Kameko          

17.43

 

 

Monraud Thunder

17.43

 

 

Razldazl Monarch      

17.46

 

 

Ballymac Beanie        

17.48

 

 

Moanteen Maestro    

17.49

 

 

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

LIAM REPORTS ARIEL CONCERN

After a sensational 29.07 return in the most emphatic fashion at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night, Ballymac Ariel has been promoted to Derby favouritism with the sponsors Boylesports but there is a cloud over the bitch.

Se was found to have picked up a small problem in her victory and Liam Dowling confirmed this morning that, “she has an issue”. He did, however, state that she was much better this morning than yesterday and they are still hoping to run her in the quarter finals.

She will visit the vet this afternoon and all precautions will be taken. Said Liam, “Thankfully, she is much better this morning but you’d still have to be concerned. We’ll have her fully checked out today and it’s just a case of hoping for the best. It’s a real shame as she ran so well the other night”.

We’ll try and keep you up to date on her progress in the coming days on Talking Dogs.

***

ARIEL THE NEW DERBY FAVOURITE

Derby sponsors Boylesports were, like everyone else, hugely impressed by the display of Ballymac Ariel on Saturday in the third round of the classic and she has now been promoted to favouritism.

The daughter of Ballymac Bolger is now an 11-4 chance for outright glory ahead of long-time Derby favourite Explosive Boy on the 7-2 mark. 

Jackslittlething comes next at 5-1, while impressive third round scorer Susie Sapphire has now been cut to 8-1. All About Ted and Ballymac Wild are both on the 12-1 mark, while Deerjet Sydney is now a 14-1 chance. Balymac Fairone and Scooby Princess are the only other greyhounds available at less than 20-1 with both on the 16-1 mark.

Boylesports Bet: 

11-4       Ballymac Ariel

7-2          Explosive Boy

5              Jackslittlething

8              Susie Sapphire

12           All About Ted

12           Ballymac Wild

14           Deerjet Sydney

16           Ballymac Fairone

16           Scooby Princess

20           Priceless Jet

20           Skywalker Cilla

25           Swords Maestro

33           Rural Star

33           Droopys Good

33           Gortkelly Nestor

33           Carrigeen North

33           Singalong Sally

40           Monraud Thunder

50           No Green Dye

66           Re Sure

100         Jazz Toes

100         Brykar Oak

150         Galvarino

150         Gunboat Showman

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

BARRY HEADS PLATE BETTING

Skywalker Barry bounced back to his best at Shelbourne Park on Friday night and is now the 11-4 clear favourite for Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate glory with sponsors Boylesports.

Storys Peewee is next in at 7-1, with Stefans Rocket installed at 10-1 alongside Roxholme Sheikh and Fast Fit Paddy.

Impressive opening round scorer and rapid improver Droopys Gloss is available at a generous looking 12-1. Angry Tornado I available at the same price, while Gaytime Milo and Darbys Delight are both 14-1.

Boylesports bet: 

11-4       Skywalker Barry

7              Storys Peewee

10           Stefans Rocket

10           Roxholme Sheikh

10           Fast Fit Paddy

12           Droopys Gloss

12           Angry Tornado

14           Gaytime Milo

14           Darbys Delight

16           Pennylane Sheba

20           Crafty Bonanza

20           Sweep The Yard

20           Madabout Cody

20           Tip Top Taylor

20           Callaway Mort

25           Razldazl Monarch

25           Vigorous Buck

25           Nitro Johnny

25           Cash Return

33           Moanteen Maestro

33           Evermore

50           Edencurra Brae

50           Frontline Star

66           Drumdoit Casper

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

ARIEL SHINES BRIGHTEST AS STARS AMAZE IN DERBY

The 2021 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby has already provided so many highlights but the classic moved into top gear Shelbourne Park on Saturday night with so many statement performances in the third round of the classic.

The undoubted star of proceedings was Ballymac Ariel as she produced one of the greatest runs ever seen at the famous Ringsend venue but there were so many brilliant runs to speak of on a very special night at the home of greyhound racing.

Heat 1 – EASY AS YOU LIKE FOR WILD

Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Wild was a warm favourite for the opening heat and it was soon clear he was going to take some beating when making a flying start from the inside box.

In contrast, Droopys Good, who was expected to set the pace, walked from traps leaving Ballymac Wild with extra room into the bend.

Instead, Deadly Samuri offered the most resistance to Ballymac Wild in the early yards and he actually showed in front to the corner. Ballymac Wild was perfectly poised on the fence, however, and the son of Vulturi and Ballymac Breeze shoved his rival out of the way as they hit the second bend.

Suddenly, Ballymac Wild was clear of his rivals and it was all one-way traffic thereafter. The real storyline was going on in behind. Despite a very poor start, Droopys Good flew into the third turn to move third and he actually found himself second as Sizzler steered a wide path turning for home.

Galvarino flew home to grab second, some nine lengths behind Ballymac Wild who stopped the clock in 29.47. Droopys Good held on for third a further length adrift.

Heat 2 – CILLA WINNING IS NO SURPRISE, SURPRISE

Skywalker Cilla is clearly starting to find her very best form and she was a most impressive winner of Heat 2 as she ultimately proved too strong for Ballymac Fairone.

There was a very level start but Ballymac Fairone had room up the centre of the track to get into full stride and take up the running.

Despite taking a couple of bumps in the early stages from Razldazl Peaky, Skywalker Cilla forced her way into second on the bend and this set up a tremendous tussle between the front two.

Ballymac Fairone continued to set the pace down the back straight, and around the third turn, but Skywalker Cilla was now on his tail and showing real purpose in her movements. AS they turned for home, Ray Patterson’s Skywalker Cilla made her move. The daughter of Laughil Blake and Droopys Zero stepped wide of Ballymac Fairone and shot forward to race on his shoulder. It was clear she was going to get to the front and the Mark O’Donovan trained starlet did so on the run in to secure a length and a half verdict over Ballymac Fairone in 29.45. Jazz Toes was a further four and a half lengths adrift in third.

Heat 3 – DETERMINED DEERJET IMPRESSES

Kenny Glen’s Deerjet Sydney may have suffered defeat in the opening round but he put that run firmly behind him over the past two nights.

He was sent to traps the 2-1 favourite to win the ultra-competitive third heat and the son of Droopys Sydney and Madgies Wish was at his typically determined best as he reeled in Broadstrand Ryan before powering clear to win in style.

This was a race where so much was gong to depend on the early exchanges but, thankfully, the anticipated traffic problems for those on the inside of the track didn’t really materialise. Broadstrand Ryan was fastest into stride and displayed fine early speed to clear the corner but Deerjet Sydney, despite edging across to the fence, used his wonderful balance and pace to turn second.

Once doing so he always seemed to be moving with more momentum than Broadstrand Ryan. Running a tremendous second bend, Deerjet Sydney moved onto the shoulder of Broadstrand Ryan and this set up a tremendous buckle into the third turn. Just behind the pair, Rural Star was moving with real purpose also, while Scooby Princess was now in fourth, a further three lengths adrift.

Broadstrand Ryan did all he could to repel Deerjet Sydney into the third turn but it was futile. Pat Buckley’s 2020 English Derby champion got his nose in front into the third bend before cutting across Broadstrand Ryan, forcing the latter to stand on the bend and lose all hope of qualifying. As he came back through the field, he halted the progress of Epic Hero.

In a matter of strides, Deerjet Sydney was in control with Rural Star a close second, while Scooby Princess was now advancing in third. AS you would expect, Deerjet Sydney ran right to the line to score by a length from Rural Star in 29.75 with Scooby Princess running another remarkable race in third a further half length adrift.        

Heat 4 – ARIEL IS SIMPLY AWESOME

It was billed as the contest of the round and Heat 4 certainly didn’t disappoint although we didn’t get the titanic tussle we were hoping for.

Instead, Ballymac Ariel produced one of the greatest displays ever seen at Shelbourne Park as she left an amazing field standing.

Derby favourite Explosive Boy flew from traps and led the field in the opening strides but Ballymac Ariel displayed awesome early speed to join and head her rival into the turn. With Ballymac Ariel cutting the bend, Explosive Boy was forced to check his stride slightly but it made little difference.

Ballymac Ariel was in full stride and she quickly put daylight between herself and Explosive Boy. Posting a stunning 16.88 to the third turn, it was clear the daughter of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Cameo was on her way to recording a special time.

Explosive Boy did close on the leader on the run in but there is scarcely a greyhound alive that would have been able to stay with Ballymac Ariel on this occasion. The brilliant bitch recorded the most incredible four length success over Explosive Boy in 29.07.

Her time was the joint second fastest ever recorded at the famous Ringsend venue for 550yds and she now seems very likely to take over Derby favouritism. Explosive Boy lost little in defeat, two lengths clear of the fast finishing Priceless Jet in third. 

Watch Ian commentate on the Race

Heat 5 – SUPER TED TAKES FLIGHT

Willie Rigney and Richard Brown’s All About Ted put down a real marker in Heat 5 when showing massive dash to dominate from the early yards.

His task was made somewhat easier with the fast starting Deadly Destroyer and Singalong Sally clashing, leaving All About Ted to race clear into the bend.

Once doing so, All About Ted was never under threat. Deadly Destroyer turned second but was never going to worry the leader. In fact, Amidus Luke powered into the third turn to challenge for second spot and this saw the chasing pack bunch up. While all this was happening, Singalong Sally shot through on the fence to go second.

Gunboat Showman also ran on strongly to grab third but All About Ted was in a different parish to those in chase. The Peter Cronin trained son of Kinloch Brae and Enable remained clear to emerge a facile ten length scorer in 29.35. Singalong Sally held Gunboat Showman to take second by half a length.  

Heat 6 – NORTH KEEPS PROGRESSING

Carrigeen North had caught the eye in both his previous runs in the Derby but he took a step forward in Heat 6 with Dara Patterson’s young son of Skywalker Puma and Dame Iris producing a brilliant front-running effort to emerge a tremendous winner.

There was a very level start with all six greyhounds holding claims in the early yards but Carrigeen North took the race by the scuff of the neck, quickening into the lead on the run to the bend. Gortkelly Nestor went up well on the outside of the track with Pierno attempting to come up the middle but neither could get to Carrigeen North. One turning on front, the Thomas Buggy trained puppy was always in complete command.

Running a wonderful racing line, Carrigeen North entered the back straight with over three lengths in hand and his momentum carried him further clear to halfway. Gortkelly Nestor gave chase throughout but there was nothing he could do to stop Carrigeen North.

This was a statement run from the winner. Carrigeen North, showing no signs of relenting, eventually crossed the line five lengths to the good over Gortkelly Nestor in 29.63. Brykar Oak, after showing real determination into the corner, turned third and stayed on strongly to finish just a half length behind Gortkelly Nestor.      

Heat 7 – JACK MAINTAINS HIS UNBEATEN RECORD

It was no surprise to see Jackslittlething maintain his unbeaten record in the competition in Heat 7 with the Graham Holland trained son of Droopys Sydney and Limini going to traps the hottest favourite of the night at 2-7.

After missing the kick the previous week, it would have been encouraging for his owners, the Pillar Syndicate, to see Jackslittlething come away racing from trap five. His kennel companion Monraud Thunder went up well in second but Jackslittlething got across him on the bend to open a clear advantage.

Once going to the front it was all very straightforward for Jackslittlething. No Green Dye ran on well to grab second but Jackslittlething was in a league of his own as he crossed the line seven lengths to the good in 29.51. No Green Dye had a half length to spare over Monraud Thunder in third. 

Heat 8 – SUSIE MAKES IT THREE FROM THREE

Oaks and Puppy Oaks champion Susie Sapphire still has her sights set on Derby glory after a typically foot-perfect display in the final heat of the round. The Owen McKenna trained daughter of Droopys Jet and Jetstream Lynx faced a potentially tricky draw in four but she made light work of her task.

Exploding from trap four, she quickly moved through the gears to hold a clear advantage over Re Sure into the bend. Even at this early stage of the contest, it was evident she was going to make it three from three in the classic. 

Re Sure continued to give chase into the back straight with Swords Maestro emerging from the pack in third but there was no stopping Peter Comerford’s pace-setter. Maintaining a relentless gallop to the line, Susie Sapphire recorded a superb seven length victory over Swords Maestro in a second fastest of the round 29.31. Re Sure was just a short head back in third.  

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

***

Q/F DRAW THROWS UP INCREDIBLE CLASHES

There were only a handful of people in the Oaks suite at Shelbourne Park in the minutes after the final race for the quarter final draw for the Boylesports Derby but, as the names were drawn for heats 1 and 3, you could feel the excitement and hear gasps.

The gasps were fully justified as one by one, the very best greyhounds in training were drawn side by side. The opening heat is particularly hot with Ballymac Ariel asked to take on Explosive Boy for the second week running.

Add in the 2020 English Derby champion Deerjet Sydney, brilliant second round scorer All About Ted and the very useful duo of Jazz Toes and Galvarino and it’s a line-up that would befit the final itself.  

Heat 3 isn’t too far behind it in terms of quality, however. Puppy Oaks and Oaks champion Susie Sapphire will be asked her toughest question with the likes of Ballymac Fairone, Scooby Princess, Ballymac Wild, Sword Maestro and Re Sue to contend with. 

That’s not to suggest that the remaining heats are straightforward. In fact, a glance through the remaining heats just highlights the incredible strength in depth n this year’s competition. Picking a winner of Heat 2 is no easy task with each of the six runners holding some sort of claim, while Jackslittlething will be favourite to win the final heat despite having to take on impressive third round scorers Carrigeen North and Skywalker Cilla as well as the talented Priceless Jet.

Th full mouth-watering third round draw is available below in all its glory. Get studying folks . 

BOYLESPORTS IRISH DERBY -Third round draw

Heat 1

1 JAZZ TOES

2 EXPLOSIVE BOY

3 DEERJET SYDNEY

4 GALVARINO

5 BALLYMAC ARIEL (M)

6 ALL ABOUT TED (W)

Heat 2

1 MONRAUD THUNDER

2 SINGALONG SALLY

3 NO GREEN DYE

4 DROOPY GOOD

5 RURAL STAR (M)

6 GORTKELLY NESTOR (W)

Heat 3

1 SUSIE SAPPHIRE

2 BALLYMAC FAIRONE

3 SCOOBY PRINCESS

4 BALLYMAC WILD

5 SWORDS MAESTRO (M)

6 RE SURE (W)

Heat 4

1 SKYWALKER CILLA

2 BRYKAR OAK

3 CARRIGEEN NORTH

4 JACKSLITTLETHING (M)

5 GUNBOAT SHOWMAN (M)

6 PRICELESS JET (W)

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

DERBY TO CHANGE GEAR AT SHELBOURNE

It’s moving day in the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby.

For the first time in this year’s Derby, the entire field will be in action on the same night and by the end of this evening’s third round we will be down to the final twenty-four greyhounds.

It’s difficult to believe that after tonight’s eight heats, only seven races will remain in the classic and those lucky enough to still be involved can start dreaming of Derby glory.

As you would expect, there are some titanic clashes to look forward to but the highlight is that of Explosive Boy, Ballymac Ariel, Jacob Tashadelek and Priceless Jet in Heat 4. But have no doubt, each and every heat has the potential to serve up a thriller.

WILD TO LEAVE IT LATE

Ballymac Wild will certainly be a hot favourite for the opening heat and should he follow the script, he is likely to hit the front in the closing yards, collaring the likely pace-setter Droopys Good in the process.

Sizzler has a tremendous draw on the outside of the track and should have so much room to race but, given his tendency to run very wide in parts, he is hard to fancy in a race of such quality. Triangle Hugo and Galvarino face a tough draw.

The former will almost certainly cut inwards from trap five, potentially bumping into Galvarino. That should allow Droopys Good and Deadly Samuri to challenge for the early lead, while Ballymac Wild can stay close to the fence to turn within striking distance.  

In that circumstance, it would be very difficult for the likes of Droopys Good to contain Ballymac Wild and Liam Dowling’s star is chosen to come home in front.

FAIRONE HAS THE DRAW TO FIGURE

Ballymac Fairone can be a little inconsistent at traps but there is no doubting his ability.

He is seen as the one to beat in Heat 2 where a trap thee draw should work in his favour. Athlacca Zette is also well housed in the stripes and looks the main threat but Ballymac Fairone seems ready to produce his best form.

With Razldazl Peaky likely to edge inwards from trap two and Skywalker Cilla xpected to move wide form the inside box, there could be crowing on the inside of the track. That could really favour Ballymac Fairone.

If trapping on terms, Ballymac Fairone could find himself with plenty of room to race and that could prove decisive. Liam Dowling’ charge can contain the likes of Jazz Toes and Athlacca Zette into the bend before going on o secure a comfortable victory. Don’t be surprised if Cricket Bell runs into a qualifying spot.

AN INTRIGUING CONTEST

The draw will play a pivotal part in Heat 3 where the inside of the track could get very crowded indeed.

Scooby Princess was one of the stars of the second round, posting a joint fastest 29.40 and she lines out on the fence.

The Jennifer O’Donnell trained starlet will almost certainly edge to the middle of the track, while Deerjet Sydney in three and Broadstrand Ryan from four are certain to cut for the rail. It means there will be a real shortage of space on the inside of the track.

It certainly doesn’t read well for the Leger winner Epic Hero in trap two. If he is to avoid bad crowding and, potentially win the contest, he must rocket from traps. Attempting to predict a likely winner is a nearly impossible task but if forced to make a selection, Deerjet Sydney get the nod.

He has shown throughout his career that he is capable of making a flying start from a middle draw, while also showing that he can ride a bump and maintain momentum. That could make the difference in this red-hot contest.

Coolavanny Chick has the best of the draw in the stripes and may attract support. Much will depend on how much she has come on for her recent comeback outings. If she is back to anything close to her best, she must be respected.

A HEAT TO SAVOUR

And so, to Heat 4 where at least one big name will crash out of the Derby.

Explosive Boy remains the favourite for outright honours and has been foot-perfect in his two starts to date in the classic but so too have Jacob Tashadelek and Ballymac Ariel.

It really is a wonderful contest and so much will come down to the opening strides. With Jacob Tashadelek, Explosive Boy and Ballymac Ariel all likely to go up fast, things could get pretty heated very quickly.

The battle for early supremacy will be crucial. If Explosive Boy it to continue his winning ways. He may need to clear Jacob Tashadelek on the run to the corner. That is no easy task. Even if he does so, Ballymac Ariel will be right up with the pace and is certain to put in a big challenge.

And we haven’t even mentioned Priceless Jet yet. If there is any traffic amongst the three speedsters into the bend, Priceless Jet could be the one to capitalise. Spinosaurus and Trap Joey complete a wonderful field. At the prices available during the week, Spinosaurus might attract a little support.

With the potential of traffic on the outside of the track, there is a chance Spinosaurus could be handed a dream run up the fence. It might be too much to expect him to win but the 33-1 on offer does seem a little too big. 

It’s probably safest to stick with Explosive Boy but this is a very difficult task for the Pat Guilfoyle trained star. If producing one of his trademark flying starts, he might just escape his rivals into the turn and that could be the difference.

DESTROYER CAN DOMINATE

Deadly Destroyer was the easiest winner of the second round when making every inch and he will look to repeat that run from the inside box in Heat 5.

His first concern will be avoiding Singalong Sally at traps.

The Juvenile Classic winner has been running well since her comeback and seems to be getting sharper with each run but she will need a flying start from trap two to get across Deadly Destroyer. If failing to do so, it’s unlikely she would be able to reel him in.

Instead, All About Ted is nominated as the main danger. He improved from the opening round to put in a big display in victory last week. With further progress, the son of Kinloch Brae is capable of making another bold bid but so much will depend on whether he can turn in front.

Craggan Mor races from trap three and could play a part although that would depend on him making a slick exit, while both Amidus Luke and Gunboat Showman needs to hit the ground running from a tough draw.     

Deadly Destroyer is nominated to emerge triumphant but he will need to be at his very sharpest. If taking a bump from Singalong Sally in the opening yards, Deadly Destroyer might struggle to contain All About Ted into the bend.

PIERNO POWER

Pierno failed to justify favouritism in the second round but he dd run a fine race in defeat and he seems ready to produce a big run.

That will depend on whether he can find his trapping boots but he has every chance in Heat 6 where Ballymac Art is likely to start favourite.

The latter has done nothing wrong in the Derby, going up fast to make virtually every inch in both her victories. She will again need to set the pace if she is to maintain her unbeaten record in the Derby.

Pierno can be frustrating to follow but there is plenty on his favour this evening. With Kilbannon Psycho and Brykar Oak likely to edge inwards from their middle draw, Pierno could find himself with a clear passage into the bend. That would certainly aid his claims although he does need to come away racing.

Gortkelly Nestor lowered the colours of Broadstrand Ryan and Ballymac Fairone last week and is entitled to respect but he needs another flying start from a wide draw. Carrigeen North completes the line-up and he too must be respected. He stayed on strongly behind Ballymac Art last week, going down by just a half length. If he is to return to winning ways, he may need to be at his very sharpest in the early yards.

JACK TO JUMP OUT AND MAKE ALL

Jackslittlething will be the hottest favourite of the round in Heat 7.

The Graham Holland trained star has been in the most incredible form and looks set to justify his lofty position in the outright betting with a straightforward trap to line success.

He was made to work hard last week but that was after an uncharacteristically slow start. Jackslittlething is normally a natural starter and he is chosen to hit the front in the early yards before racing to a comfortable success. As things stand, he still has the fastest time of the Derby this far after posting a 29.10 return in the opening round. It seems safe to assume he will come home clear of repeating that form here.

The fast-finishing Beach Avenue can chase home Jackslittlething while the battle for third spot could go right down to the wire. Tradesman and Monraud Thunder will look to turn close to the pace, while both Coolavanny Sando and No Gren Dye will be staying on well.

SUSIE TO SPARKLE

Oaks champion Susie Sapphire will be a warm favourite to win the final heat and her assignment got a little earlier this morning with the news that Grangeview Mac will be a non-runner from trap two.

The Owen McKenna trained starlet is very young, and has yet to race from trap four, but is a lightning-fast starter and, with Grangeview Mac absent, she looks likely to turn in front if avoiding any mistakes at trap rise.

Swords Maestro is nominated as the main danger to Susie Sapphire but he isn’t the most consistent at traps. If he is to threaten, he must make one of his best ever starts. Re Sure will go up very fast on the outside of the track but he will need to dictate the pace into the back straight which is no easy task.

Droopys Yes has fine pace throughout but he will need to reproduce his very best form to hold Susie Sapphire in the early yards. The extra room is likely to suit Callmesteve. The youngster of the contest isn’t the fastest to the turn but he will fly home. It’ a wonderful way to end the third round but Susie Sapphire is selected to justify favouritism.   

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***

BARRY FASTEST AS PLATE GETS UNDERWAY

There were some tremendous performances in the opening round of the Michael Fortune Memorial Plate at Shelbourne Park on Friday evening.

The gremlins were at play for a while with the opening heat delayed by over a half an hour due to technical problems with the starting traps but, once the action recommenced, there were some wonderful displays. Honour of going fastest went to Skywalker Barry as he bounced back to his very best.

DELIGHTFUL EFFORT FROM DARBYS

Connor Byrne and Leonard Kinsella’s Darbys Delight (Over Limit/ Kittys Box) came storming home to win the opening heat at the expense of his litter brother Storys Peewee and the long-time leader Moanteen Maestro.

Knight Tornado cut inwards from trap four bumping a couple on his inner and this allowed Storys Peewee.

Storys Peewee couldn’t clear the turn, however, and he took a bump, allowing Moanteen Maestro to take up the running. The latter held a two length lead passing halfway but always seemed a sitting duck with Storys Peewee in second and Darbys Delight now advancing in third.

Turning for home, Darbys Delight made a decisive move along the fence. Shooting through the gap, the Neilus O’Connell trained powerhouse flew home to see off Storys Peewee by a length and a half in 29.88. Moanteen Maestro was three parts of a length adrift in third.

A TIP TOP DISPLAY

Tip Top Taylor won Heat 2 in more straightforward fashion as she broke fastest before making every inch. 

Paul Ryan’s talented daughter of Droopys Sydney and Marlfield Taylor was simply too sharp for her rivals on this occasion.

Showing a nice turn of early dash after her slick exit, the June ’19 whelp comfortably made the turn in front and she proceeded to open a decisive lead into the back straight. Edencurra Brae gave chase from the start but could never land a glove on the leader. In the end, Tip Top Taylor stayed on well to emerge an impressive three length scorer over her pursuer in 29.66. Gaytime Milo recovered from a tardy start and early traffic to grab third a further four lengths back.

BARRY BOUNCES BACK TO FORM

After a couple of disappointing efforts in recent weeks, Skywalker Barry came roaring back to form in Heat 3 when making leading from the drop of the hat.

The Mark O’Donovan trained son of Droopys Jet and Calzaghe Jan flashed from trap two and was soon in complete command.

Initially, Callaway Mort gave chase but he was headed into the third turn by Sweep The Yard. There was no stopping Ray Patterson’s Skywalker Barry, however. The 2020 Juvenile Derby champion stayed on well to emerge a three length winner over Sweep The Yard in a fast 29.50. Madabout Cody was another three lengths adrift in third.

BUCK EMERGES A GOOD WINNER

Ronny Wuyts sent out Vigorous Buck to win Heat 4.

Razldazl Annie broke fastest and led in the early yards but failed to hold her pitch into the bend. In contrast, Vigorous Buck was perfectly positioned on the inside of the track and he stayed tight to the fence to get the better of Nitro Johnny as they hit the second bend.

Once going to the front, the strong running son of Droopys Jet and Vigorous Lindsey was never going to surrender his lead. Nitro Johnny gave chase throughout but Vigorous Buck continued to move with real purpose throughout and he stayed on well up the home straight to score by four lengths in 29.98. Nitro Johnny was second with Crafty Bonanza finishing well to finish just a head away in third.  

PADDY THE RIGHT FIT

Romeo Magico was hot favourite for Heat 5 but he mistimed the start and was always struggling to land a blow behind Fast Fit Paddy.

The Declan McDonagh trained Fast Fit Paddy has long been a talented tracker and a return to his fast starting ways saw him run out a pretty cosy winner.

Owned by John Quinn and Paul Horig, Fast Fit Paddy always seemed in control after leading his rivals up from the inside trap. Razldazl Monarch turned second and, while he is very strong, he could never bridge the gap. Fast Fit Paddy, a son of Ballymac Vic and Rosmult Martha, stayed on stoutly up the straight to eventually see off his rival by two and a half lengths in 29.63. There was a further five length gap to the staying on Drumdoit Casper in third.

ROCKETS TAKES FLIGHT

Stefans Rocket seems to have found his trapping boots in recent outings and he made full use of them to dominate in Heat 6 for Shea Campbell.

After running an exceptional race behind Derby favourite Explosive Boy in the opening round of the classic, it was no shock to see Stefans Rocket emerge a good winner.

Making a slick exit from the inside box, the talented son of Good News and Sylvias Chloe was soon clear of his rivals. Roxholme Sheikh turned second but had no answer to Stefans Rocket. In fact the pace-setter increased his lead into the third turn before cruising home a comfortable four length winner in 29.61. Evermore was a length away in third.

GLOSS REALLY SHINES

John Coleman’s Droopys Gloss is one of the most exciting young bitches in training and she was seen at her very best in the final heat of the round when dictating throughout.

The Murt Leahy trained daughter of Coolavanny Jap and Droopys Talia has improved with every start and this was perhaps her best run yet.

Coming away on terms, she flew up the fence to strike the front before the corner. Once dong so, the October ’19 whelp quickly put daylight between herself and her rivals. Angry Tornado moved second on the bend but could never get close enough to challenge the pace-setter.

Droopys Gloss maintained a powerful gallop right to the finish to emerge a most impressive three length winner over Angry Tornado in 29.57. Cash Return was a further two and a half lengths adrift in third spot.

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***

EXPECT THRILLS TO BE SERVED UP IN PLATE

The Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate gets underway at Shelbourne Park this evening and each of the seven heats should offer quality action.

There are plenty of top-class performers amongst the forty-two-strong entry and picking winners won’t come easy.

PEEWEE TO ARRIVE LATE

The opening heat is one of the strongest of the seven.

Certainly, there is no shortage of quality on show with the likes of Kameko, Moanteen Maestro and Knight Tornado likely to battle it out for the early advantage while both the immensely powerful duo of Darbys Delight and Storys Peewee will be arriving with a wet sail in the closing yards.

It has the makings of a tremendous contest. After a return to form last time, Knight Tornado could prove the popular choice in the ring but he will need to be on his toes in the early yards with Kameko and Moanteen Maestro drawn on his inner. If Knight Tornado is to follow up his latest success, he may need to dictate the pace which is far from certain.

Instead, it might be wise to side with one of the strong running pair of Darbys Delight and Storys Pewee. The later seems more likely to get a clear run into the back straight and that could make the difference with the Murt Leahy trained star chosen to come through in the second half of the contest.   

MILO THE ONE TO BEAT

Gaytime Milo stands out as the one to beat in Heat 2 although it is worth noting that he has yet to win a race from trap one and has raced as a middle and wide seed in recent months.

If he does come away on terms, however, he is likely to have too much ammunition for his rivals.

Of those in opposition, Tip Top Taylor is perhaps the greatest threat from an ideal draw in the stripes but Gaytime Milo is hard to oppose.

BARRY TO BOUNCE BACK TO FORM

Skywalker Barry will bid to return to his brilliant best in Heat 3. Ray Patterson’s 2020 Juvenile Derby champion has struggled for form in recent weeks but has very obvious claims tonight.

If coming away on terms from trap two, he would be favourite to turn in front.

Callaway Mort went up very fast in his latest start over 525yds but a change to the 500yd traps is a slight concern. He stands out as the threat to Skywalker Barry in the early yards although he isn’t the stoutest stayer. Instead, Sweep The Yard could emerge as the main danger to Skywalker Barry at the business end.

IT COULD BE CRAFTY TO FOLLOW BONANZA

Heat 4 is a difficult to contest to get to grips with.

The outside duo of Crafty Bonanza and Nitro Johnny have the best of the draw with the remaining quartet all likely to edge to the fence. Ballymac Belvult will finish fast but he is very dependent on getting to the fence and that will be no easy task from trap four.

Despite his inexperience in top company, Crafty Bonanza could be the on to follow with the Martin Lanney trained puppy almost guaranteed a clear passage from trap five. If he starts as he did in the opening round of the Derby when chasing home Romeo Magico, he could make a bold bid. Ballymac Belvult can finish fastest to grab second.

ROMEO TO WEAVE HIS MAGICO

Romeo Magico is favourite for outright glory and looks the part in Heat 5 where he should be ideally suited by a trap three draw.

If starting on terms, the hugely talented son of Magical Bale would have far too much early zip for his rivals and he can build a clear advantage to the third turn.

Fast Fit Paddy, Razldazl Monarch and Ballymac Merlin are all talented and could have quite a battle for the minor places but it’s very difficult to see beyond Romeo Magico if he avoids any early errors.

MIGHTY MACHO APPEALS

There could be quit a battle to the turn in Heat 6 where Stefans Rocket, Roxholme Sheikh and Macho Pride will all bid to dominate. So much will depend on the start but if Macho Pride were to repeat his best Derby form, he could be hard to contain.

Gary Silcock’s charge flashed from traps to make all in a rapid 29.56 on that occasion and a repeat of that effort would probably be good enough.

CATCH FLYING AT THE RIGHT TIME

The final heat of the round looks another potential thriller with Droopys Gloss, Angry Tornado, Pennylane Sheba, Mallogs Marley and Catchmeflying all holding strong claims.

Much will depend on how the race to the turn evolves although Mallogs Marley and Catchmeflying are more proven than their competitors at this sort of level.

Catcheflying has been hinting at a return to his very best in recent weeks and one suspects he will take off very soon. Tonight could be the night for Thomas Buggy’ star and he is selected to lead home Mallogs Marley. 

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***

MAGICO HEADS THE PLATE MARKET

Sponsors Boylesports have installed Romeo Magico their 5-1 clear favourite for outright success in the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate.

The Graham Holland trained star won his opening round assignment in the Boylesports Derby in fine style but was run out of the frame in the second round.

There seems no doubt he has the ability to win this competition but his task is far from easy. Storys Peewee, Macho Pride and Knight Tornado are next in at 8-1, while Skywalker Barry, Catchmeflying and Mallogs Marley are available at 10-1. Both Gaytime Milo and Darbys Delight are on the 12-1 mark with Ballymac Belvult, Pennylane Sheba and Ballymac Merlin are 14-1. 

Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate

Boylesports Bet:

5              Romeo Magico

8              Storys Peewee

8              Macho Pride

8              Knight Tornado

10           Skywalker Barry

10           Catchmeflying

10           Mallogs Marley

12           Gaytime Milo

12           Darbys Delight

14           Ballymac Belvult

14           Pennylane Sheba

14           Ballymac Merlin

16           Stefans Rocket

16           Kameko

16           Fast Fit Paddy

16           Angry Tornado

16           Roxholme Sheikh

20           Crafty Bonanza

20           Sweep The Yard

25           Razldazl Monarch

25           Madabout Cody

25           Callaway Mort

25           Droopys Gloss

33           Vigorous Buck

33           Ballybough Danny

33           Vipers Buzz

33           Nitro Johnny

33           Cash Return

33           Evermore

33           Roxholme Duke

33           Tip Top Taylor

33           Own Spice

40           Moanteen Maestro

50           Frontline Star

50           Razldazl Annie

66           Matts Shadow

66           Edencurra Brae

66           Lord Boomerang

66           Drumdoit Casper

100         Moyola Seamrog

100         Kildallon Pearl

100         Rains Confident

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***

DRAW MADE FOR RED-HOT DERBY PLATE

The draw for the opening round of the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate went on-line yesterday afternoon and this year’s stake looks a hot affair.

There are a couple of notable absentees with a couple of big names stepping up in trip for a crack at the Cambridgeshire at Limerick (see Peter Farrell’s story) instead of challenging at Shelbourne.

It remains a competition of real quality, however. The eye is drawn to those that managed to win their opening round assignments in the Derby before making their exit a week later. These include Kameko, Moanteen Maestro, Storys Peewee, Gaytime Milo, Razldazl Monarch, Romeo Magico, Macho Pride, Pennylane Sheba and Mallogs Marley.

Add to those high class entries like Skywalker Barry, Catchmeflying, Angry Tornado, Roxholme Sheikh, Stefans Rocket, Ballymac Merlin, Fast Fit Paddy, Ballymac Belvult, Tip Top Taylor, Darbys Delight and Knight Tornado and it really does look a tremendous competition.

The Plate competition gets underway on Friday evening and it seems safe to expect some wonderful performances. The full draw for the opening round can be found by clicking HERE!

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***

ARIEL IS WHITE HOT TO THIRD TURN

Ballymac Ariel was the fastest of the second round leaders to the third turn in the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby.

The brilliant daughter of Ballymac Bolger may have been slower than some to the winning line first time up but she really flew around the opening two bends and down the back straight to post a superb 17.03.

Of course, Jackslittlething posted a brilliant 16.96 in the opening round to set the standard but he was somewhat slower in his second round assignment, missing the kick and having to come from second to record 17.41.

Derby favourite Explosive Boy was again foot-perfect as he recorded 17.11 on his way to a comfortable success, while the Owen McKenna trained pair of Droopys God and Susie Sapphire both posted a quick 17.12 in their respective heats wins.

A full list of the second round leader’s time can be found below with the opening round times include for reference.

Leaders Clocks (Fastest to Slowest):

 

 

 

 

1st round

2nd round

 

 

 

Ballymac Ariel (F)      

17.09

17.03

Explosive Boy (F)        

17.19

17.11

Droopys Good            

17.30

17.12

Susie Sapphire            

17.12

17.12

Jacob Tashadelek       

17.16

17.17

Deadly Destroyer

 

17.20

Deerjet Sydney

 

17.25

Ballymac Art  

17.24

17.28

All About Ted

 

17.30

Athlacca Zette

 

17.35

Scooby Princess

 

17.35

Jackslittlething                       

16.96

17.41

Gortkelly Nestor

 

17.43

Sizzler

 

17.44

Tradesman                 

17.35

17.48

Deadly Samuri                       

17.19

17.57

Romeo Magico                      

17.06

 

Macho Pride              

17.12

 

Grangeview Mac       

17.16

 

Swords Maestro         

17.22

 

Broadstrand Ryan (F) 

17.25

 

Pennylane Sheba (F)  

17.25

 

Ballymac Fairone (F)  

17.30

 

Craggan Mor (F)        

17.36

 

Tiangle Hugo (F)        

17.40

 

Glenquain Pat (F)       

17.41

 

Kameko (F)                 

17.43

 

Monraud Thunder (F)

17.43

 

Razldazl Monarch      

17.46

 

Ballymac Beanie        

17.48

 

Moanteen Maestro (F)          

17.49

 

Ballymac Wild (F)                  

17.49

 

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***

EXPLOSIVE BOY STILL DERBY FAVOURITE

After a foot-perfect display on Saturday, Explosive Boy remains the clear favourite for Derby glory with sponsors Boylesports.

Pat Guilfoyle’s brilliant son of Good News may be facing a very tough draw in the third round but he is as short as 7-2 to win on September 18th.

Jackslittlething will be the shortest priced favourite in the third round and he is a 5-1 clear second choice in the outright market, ahead of Ballymac Ariel at 8-1. Of course, Ballymac Ariel will lock horns with Explosive Boy on Saturday but so too will Jacob Tashadelek. He is only 12-1 for outright success after another professional display in the second round.

Deadly Destroyer is also on the 12-1 mark with flying ladies Scoobys Princess and Susie Sapphire on the 14-1 mark. Deerjet Sydney and Ballymac Wild are next in at 16-1, while All About Ted and Ballymac Fairone are 20-1. Broadstrand Ryan, Athlaca Zette, Swords Maestro and Priceless Jet are all on the 25-1 mark.

Boylesports Bet: 7-2 Explosive Boy, 5 Jackslittlething, 8 Ballymac Ariel, 12 Jacob Tashadelek, Deadly Destroyer, 14 Scooby Princess, Susie Sapphire, 16 Deerjet Sydney, Ballymac Wild, 20 All About Ted, Ballymac Fairone, 25-1 Broadstrand Ryan, Athlacca Zette, Swords Maestro, Priceless Jet, 33-1 Balymac Art, Epic Hero, Gortkelly Nestor, Droopys Good, Skywalker Cilla, Beach Avenue, 40 Rural Star, Singalong Sally, Monraud Thunder, Carrigeen North, Pierno, Amidus Luke, 50-1 Bar.   

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***

DERBY CONTINUES TO DELIVER AS BOY AND ARIEL GO FASTEST

The second round of the Boylesports Derby came to a conclusion at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night and, even at this early stage of the competition, it seems safe to say we are in for the most incredible finish to the classic with so many greyhounds delivering over the four nights of the competition thus far.

On Friday evening Scooby Princess posed the fastest time of the night, clocking 29.40, but her time was equalled by both Explosive Boy and Ballymac Ariel on Saturday as they again gave a clear indication that they are fully deserving of their lofty position in the outright betting.

Heat 9 – ANOTHER MASTERCLASS FROM JACOB

Jacob Tashadelek continued his incredible run of form to win the opening heat of the night in typically purposeful fashion.

Con Guiney’s son of Droopy Sydney and Nina Tashadelek was an even money chance to emerge triumphant and his backers had little to worry about.

Both he and Re Sure came away racing and they asserted into the turn. Importantly, Jacob Tashadelek held the inside line and he quickly moved on from Re Sure. By halfay the race was over as a contest with Jacob Tashadelek powering into a clear advantage. 

Re Sure remained second but there was no stopping the leader. Maintaining a strong galop to the finish, the June ’19 whelp emerged a comfortable six length victory in a tremendous 29.50. It really set the ton for the night ahead. The battle for third went to Craggan Mo, who finished a further length and a half behind Re Sure.

Heat 10 – SUPER SYDNEY IS BACK

In terms of overall quality, Heat 10 was the best of the Derby this far but 2020 English Derby champion Deerjet Sydnet chose the right night to return to his best form as he ran out a decisive winner for Pat Buckley and Kenny Glen. 

Romeo Magico was favourite from trap five but after a slightly tardy start he was always struggling to worry Deerjet Sydney. The latter led up the inside of the track from Skywalker Barry with Romeo Magico third but the result was never in doubt when Deerjet Sydney slipped around in front.

Skywalker Barry and Romeo Magico bumped at the corner, which was to prove very costly for both. This allowed Droopys Yes to move into second but there was no stopping Deerjet Sydney. The brilliant son of Droopys Sydney and Madgies Wish maintained a powerful gallop throughout to post a quick 29.56. The race for second and third was far more interesting. Romeo Magico made a move into the third turn to go second but Droopys Yes wouldn’t be denied and he was back in second between the last two bends before finishing five lengths behind the winner. From the back of the field, Beach Avenue came with a rush to grab second on the line, denying Skywalker Barry a place in the next round by a neck.

Heat 11 – SUPER SUSIE DOMINATES AGAIN

Oaks Champion Susie Sapphire may not have been quite as electric from traps as she was a week earlier but she still displayed wonderful early speed, a tremendous racing line and enough stamina to see off a talented field in Heat 11.

Hugely consistent near-veteran Razldazl Peaky broke fast from the inside box but Susie Sapphire was every bit as sharp and the daughter of Droopys Jet and Jetstream Lynx displayed superior early speed to her rivals to lad into the bend. Burgess Pippa also displayed fine early zip to move second into the turn and she ran a big race to stay close to Susie Sapphire to halfway.

The pair pulled away from their rivals but Susie Sapphire always had the upper hand. Two lengths clear at halfway, she increased her advantage to three lengths by the third turn before rolling home an impressive three lengths scorer for Owen McKenna and Peter Comerford in 29.50.

Swords Maestro overcame a slow start, displaying fine pace to come through for second, while Razldazl Peaky ran on strongly to finish just a head away in third. Sadly, despite running a big race in defeat, Burgess Pippa added home to finish fourth and out of the qualifying spots.

Heat 12 – ZETTE ZOOMS HOME

Noel Neenan would have skipped back to Kilmallock after another brilliant display from Athlacca Zette as he ran out a tremendous winner of Heat 12.

Kilbannon Psycho flew from the inside box and led the field in the opening yards but Athlacca Zette really motored into the turn to hold a narrow lead on the bend.

Kilbannon Psycho ran a wonderful corner to go back to the front and she led the field to halfway but Athlacca Zette was always too close and he motored back to the front as they approached the third turn. It was a decisive move from the son of Pat C Sabbath and Athlacca Charm.

Maintaining a strong gallop to the finish, the talented black emerged a comfortable two length scorer over the staying on Skywalker Cilla in 29.56. Kilbannon Psycho ran a fine race to finish just a half length adrift in third.

Heat 13 – AWESOME ARIEL TOO GOOD

Ballymac Ariel was foot perfect in the opening round to confirm her standing as one of the fastest in the land and she repeated the dose in Heat 13 where she was in a league of her own.

Breaking fast from trap five, the Liam Dowling trained star was soon in complete control, leading Stefans Rocket before putting real daylight between herself and her rivals down the back straight.

Monraud Thunder moved second after he and Stefans Rocket bumped early in the back straight but he was never going to threaten Ballymac Ariel. The sensationally fast daughter of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Cameo really opened up into the third turn and she cruised home to eventually see off Monraud Thunder by five lengths in a joint fastest of the round 29.40. Galvarino ran on strongly to win the battle for third, a further two lengths adrift. 

Heat 14 – DERBY FAVOURITE OBLIGES IN STYLE

Explosive Boy was an unbackable favourite in Heat 14 and he duly obliged, justifying his billing as the one to beat in the Derby with a facile trap to line success.

An incredibly short 1-8 favourite, the son of Good News and Delightful Girl broke fast and was in front from the opening stride.

Clocking a fast 3.38 sectional, he was comfortably in front by the bend and really put his rivals to the sword down the back straight. Initially, Buttsys Bullet was his nearest pursuer but No Green Dye has been in tremendous form and he flew into the third turn to move second.

Explosive Boy was well on his way to success, however. Peter Sutcliffe’s Produce Stakes and Race of Champions winner stayed on strongly to emerge a very comfortable three and a half length winner in a joint fastest of the round 29.40. No Green Dye ran superbly well in second with Brykar Oak another five lengths away in third.

Heat 15 – STEVE IS A REAL PROSPECT

Callmesteve displayed real promise in his seven previous starts but his display in Heat 15 was particularly exciting.

The January ’20 whelp was having just his eighth career start but he gave his rivals a start and beating in the style of a greyhound with a big future.

Owned by Matt Bergin and Mark Sullivan, the son of Out Of Range and Adamant Reba was out with the washing in the early yards as Tradesman set a strong gallop to lead the warm favourite Pierno down the back straight.

Thing started to tighten up around the last two bends but Callmesteve still had plenty of work to do. Fourth as they hit the final bend, Callmesteve was now in full stride. Pierno was now challenging the tiring Tradesman and looked likely to justify favouritism but Callmesteve had other ideas. 

Staying wide of the leaders, the Graham Holland trained Callmesteve flew up the straight to hit the front in the dying yards to win by a length from Pierno in 29.90. Tradesman was just a half length away in third. It was a remarkable run from the winner and one that will see him enter the consciousness of those watching. 

Heat 16 – DESTROYER LIVES UP TO HIS NAME

Garry Hannon Deadly Destroyer emerged the easiest winner of the round when breaking fast to dominate in the final heat of the night.

His task was made somewhat easier when his rivals clashed at the opening bend but the son of Droopys Jet and Cruel Intentions was already a certain scorer when setting the pace.

Rural Star emerged from the pack to go second but Deadly Destroyer was in a different parish and he maintained a relentless gallop throughout to eventually win by ten lengths in 29.56. Trap Joey ran on strongly to take second while Rural Star was another length adrift in third.

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

***

ALL EYES ON HEAT 4 AFTER THIRD ROUND DRAW

It was inevitable there would be one or two mouth-watering clashes in the third round of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby but Heat 4 looks really special.

Favourite for outright honours is Explosive Boy but he will be severely tested with the sensationally fast Ballymac Ariel, Jacob Tashadelek and Priceless Jet to contend with. Whatever the outcome, at least one massive name will be exited the competition.

Jackslittlething has been handed a somewhat easier task in Heat 7. The Graham Holland trained star is strongly fancied in the outright market and, with slow starters on his flanks, he stands out as the likely leader. In such circumstances, it seems certain he will go on to maintain his unbeaten record in the classic.

Of course, the third round heats will be part of Saturday’s card at Shelbourne Park with all the action being shown live on RPGTV.

BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby

3rd round draw, to be run on Saturday, August 28th

Heat 1

1 BALLYMAC WILD

2 DROOPYS GOOD

3 DEADLY SAMURI

4 GALVARINO

5 TRIANGLE HUGO

6 SIZZLER (W)

Heat 2

1 SKYWALKER CILLA

2 RAZLDAZL PEAKY

3 BALLYMAC FAIRONE

4 JAZZ TOES

5 CRICKET BELL (M)

6 ATHLACCA ZETTE (W)

Heat 3

1 SCOOBY PRINCESS

2 EPIC HERO

3 DEERJET SYDNEY

4 BROADSTRAND RYAN

5 RURAL STAR (M)

6 COLAVANNY CHICK (W)

Heat 4

1 SPINOSAURUS

2 TRAP JOEY

3 JACOB TASHADELEK

4 EXPLOSIVE BOY

5 BALLYMAC ARIEL (M)

6 PRICELESS JET (W)

Heat 5

1 DEADLY DESTROYER

2 SINGALONG SALLY

3 CRAGGON MOR

4 AMIDUS LUKE

5 GUNBOAT SHWOMAN (M)

6 ALL ABOUT TED (W)

Heat 6

1 CARRIGEEN NORTH

2 BALLYMAC ART

3 BRYKAR OAK

4 KILBANNON PSYCHO

5 PIERNO (M)

6 GORTKELLY NESTOR (W)

Heat 7

1 TRADESMAN

2 MONRAUD THUNDER

3 COOLAVANNY SANDO

4 NO GREEN DYE

5 JACKSLITTLETHING (M)

6 BEACH AVENUE (W)

Heat 8

1 CALLMESTEVE

2 GRANGEVIEW MAC

3 DROOPYS YES

4 SUSIE SAPPHIRE

5 SWORDS MAESTRO (M)

6 RE SURE (W)

For the latest betting in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby link here http://squeez.biz/64278

***

MORE DRAMA EXPECTED AS DERBY SECOND ROUND CONCLUDES

By the end of racing at Shelbourne Park this evening the field for the Boylesports Irish Derby will be down to the final 48 greyhounds.

One greyhound that is certainly expected to be amongst the remaining challengers is the favourite for outright success, Explosive Boy.

BOY CAN EXPLODE

The Produce Stakes and Race of Champions winner has had an incredible year and was the hottest Derby favourite ahead of the opening round for many years.

Tonight, he will be amongst the hottest favourites seen in the past twenty five years with the brilliant son of Good News likely to start at 1-8 or shorter.

The Pat Guilfoyle trained star looks simply too fast for his rivals in Heat 14. The fact that Knocknaboul Syd is also a non-runner, leaving Explosive Boy with a vacant trap on his immediate outside will also really suit and anything short of a facile trap to line success for Peter Sutcliffe’s star would come as a real shock.

Of his rivals, No Green Dye has been running out of his skin for Laura Earl and he is nominated to come through to take second, while the battle for third spot could go right down to the wire.

CAN JACOB TAKE OFF AGAIN?

Jacob Tashadelek as one of the undoubted stars of the opening round and he will bid to follow up in the opening heat of the night.

Much will depend on whether he clears Craggan Mor in the opening strides but, if avoiding an early bump, he has the early speed to match virtually every greyhound in the competition.

Con Guiney’s son of Droopy Sydney proved last weekend that the 550yd trip is no problem and he is likely to start a warm favourite to continue his winning ways. The aforementioned Craggan Mor certainly has the pace to get involved although, one suspects, he will need a flying start to land a telling blow.

Mallogs Marley is aided by a vacant trap on his immediate inside. Should he come away racing as he did last week, he could emerge as a big player, while the progressive Re Sure is also more than capable of going up fast and he too much be shown respect.      

Jacob Tashadelek is in tremendous form, however, and he looks the most likely winner with Re Sure and Mallogs Marley selected to chase him home.

BEACH CAN WIN A REAL THRILLER

Heat 10 is arguably the hottest contest of the Derby thus far with each of the six runners holding some sort of claim.

To highlight the quality of the line-up, Droopys Yes is the rank outsider of the field. An exciting young tracker with a 29.42 return at Shelbourne Park, he would be a considerably shorter price in any other heat.

Romeo Magico and 2020 English Derby champ Deerjet Sydney head the betting and have obvious claims. The former has stunning early speed and is on a run of three straight wins. If he is to make it four on the bounce, he must strike the front early as he is a little vulnerable in the latter stages.

Deerjet Sydney seems certain to come on for his latest run, his first since Towcester, and faces an ideal draw on the fence. But this is a race that could be run to suit Beach Avenue. With the likes of Skywalker Barry and Pennylane Sheba capable of going up strongly and potentially challenging Romeo Magico and Deerjet Sydney, Beach Avenue could get a lovely tow into the race.

If the Paul Hennessy trained powerhouse can avoid traffic at the third bend, his superior strength could prove decisive and he is selected to lead in the closing strides.

RAZOR SHARP SUSIE TO STRIKE

Two of the more impressive opening round scorers Susie Sapphire and Swords Maestro lock horns in Heat 11 where they will be joined by litter brothers Razldazl Peaky and Boylesports King.

Susie Sapphire was absolutely electric in the opening round, posting a fastest of the round 3.33 after a flying start. A similar exit this evening would allow her to lead into the back straight again. Given her tremendous back straight pace, it’s unlikely she would be headed before the third turn and, in such circumstance, she would almost certainly emerge triumphant.

Swords Maestro was also hugely impressive last week. Returning to his very best, the Graham Holland trained star displayed fine early dash to dominate. He may struggle to lad Susie Sapphire but would certainly be capable of taking advantage if she were to mistime her start.

The pair are probably going to prove too sharp for their rivals. Razldazl Peaky and 2019 runner-up Boylesports King can battle it out for the third qualifying spot. 

GREAT NAME TO COME THROUGH

Great Name That is amongst the fastest greyhounds in training.

That is no open for debate but there are times where he can be frustrating to follow. His problem is that sometimes the brin doesn’t work as fast as his legs resulting in the son of Droopy Jet finding more traffic than he should.

Thankfully, he often overcomes congestion with his incredible strength taking him out of trouble. That was the case in the opening round, where he recovered from a slow start, traffic at the third turn and crowding on the run in.

He will be favourite to win Heat 12 and should come home in front if avoiding bad traffic but the likes of Athlacca Zette and Skywalker Cilla won’t make life easy for him. Skywalker Cilla is likely to edge off from trap two but has the pace to get involved.

Athlacca Zette as actually the second fastest greyhound in the opening round when chasing home Jackslittlething. He has an ideal draw in the stripes and is seen as the main threat to Great Name That.

Much will depend on how well Great Name That starts but, if he turns close, he will be very difficult to contain. If you are gong to oppose the Liam Dowling trained powerhouse, Athlacca Zette makes the most appeal.

ARIEL CAN REMAIN UNBEATEN

Ballymac Ariel is expected to start odds-on in Heat 13 but he will ned to b at her brilliant best once again.

One of the most impressive opening round scorers, she sent out a clear warning to her rivals that she is at the very peak of her powers at present.

Her task this evening is somewhat tougher with many of her rivals capable of going quick but Ballymac Ariel is a very special performer and, should she produce anything close to her best, she will be very difficult to stop.

Stefans Rocket, who ran such a fine race behind Explosive Boy last week, is perhaps the greatest threat, although Ballymac Belvult and Salmic Sunset are also capable of making the frame if circumstances allow.

Ballymac Ariel is the one to beat, however. She posted a rapid 17.09 to the third turn last week. If repeating that effort, she is expected to race clear of her opposition. 

PIERNO A HOT FAVOURITE

Pierno will start odds-on for the first time in his career in Heat 15 but his potential backers are warned that the presence of Shelbourne regular Lord Boomerang on his outside is far from ideal, the latter is a middle seed and often moves inwards from the outside.

There seems no doubt that Pierno is the one to beat but he isn’t always the most consistent from traps and, were he to mistime his exit, he could find himself short of room.

Should he come away on terms, however, Pierno would almost certainly have too much ammunition for his rivals. Tradesman will go up fast from trap three but Pierno can master that rival into the turn. Razlazl Monarch rarely runs a bad race but he faces a tough draw between the two speedsters in trap four. If he is to threaten, he may need a little luck in the opening exchanges. Instead, the inside duo of Calmesteve and Vigorous Buck are nominated as the main dangers to Pierno. 

CAN DEADLY DESTROY RIVALS?

The round ends with a tremendous clash. Deadly Destroyer and Ballymac Beanie are amongst Ireland’s fastest and they seem set to go head to head.

Throw the very talented Angry Dad into the mix and this is a contest worth waiting for.

So much depends on what Deadly Destroyer does at boxes but, were he to repeat his best form, he could be hard to stop. He stepped right from trap two last week and found traffic which is a concern for his backers.

Tonight, he lines up in trap one and, were he to again take a bump at boxes, both Ballymac Beanie and Angry Dad would have the early speed to take advantage. Deadly Destroyer is a pretty natural starter, however, and he might just get first run on his rivals.

If staying straight in the early yards, he should have the inside line in his favour at the bend and that could make the difference. Ballymac Beanie and Angry Dad can chase him home.   

***

SCOOBY THE STAR AS DERBY CONTINUES

Friday’s Boylesports Derby action had a bit of everything.

There were many brilliant displays, a few shocks, some controversy and a couple of great storylines. Ultimately, the headlines went to Scooby Princess as she posted a fastest of the night 29.40 on her way to yet another superb victory, while others including Droopys Good and Gortkelly Nestor deserve special mention.

Heat 1 – BETTER THAN GOOD

The opening heat saw Droopys Good make easy work of his task, dominating throughout to comfortably see off his rivals.

Much was made of whether Paul Carpenter and Bev Lochead’s star could get to the fence from a wider than ideal draw in five but he made light work of the task.

Making a flying start, the Owen McKenna trained son of Ballybough Mike and Droopys Cuckoo was quickly in complete control. Jazz Toes gave chase throughout but could never land a blow. Droopys Good opened a near six length lead down the back straight, posting 17.12 to the third turn, and he coasted home five lengths clear of Jazz Toes in 29.62. The race for third went to Singalong Sally, who finished a further length behind. 

Heat 2 – JACK GIVES ODDS-ON PUNTERS A FRIGHT

Jackslittlething justified odds-on favouritism in Heat 2 but was made to work far harder than most expected as he was caught on his hind legs in the early yards.

In contrast, Coolavanny Chick flew into the corner to set a strong gallop but the race changed complexion into the bend with Jackslittlething recovering from a tardy start to just clear those on his inner to go second.

Once doing so, the Graham Holland trained son of Droopys Sydney and Limini always had Coolacanny Chick in his sights. Despite being forced to check slightly between the opening two bends, Jackslittlething was right on the heels of the leader into the back.

With Coolavanny Chick drifting to the middle of the track, Jackslittlething had room to move through the gears and he charged to the front before the third turn. In a matter of strides he drove clear before coasting home to an easier win than most would have anticipated after the first few strides.

At the line, Jackslittlething had four lengths in hand on Coolavanny Chick in 29.71. Coolavanny Sando, despite being returned at 40-1, was a length adrift in third after running a fine race.  

Heat 3 – ARTFUL DISPLAY FROM BALLYMAC

Early speed was the key to success for Ballymac Art in Heat 3 as she maintained her unbeaten record in the competition despite the best efforts of Carrigeen North.

Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Art broke smartly from trap three but it was her immediate acceleration that carried her to the front.

On the outside of the track, Gaytime Milo and Storys Peewee, two of the fancied runners in the betting, clashed and this was to effectively end their claims.

Carrigeen North turned second but Ballymac Art opened a three and a half length lead to halfway and that was enough for the daughter of Ballymac best and Art Of Illusion. Carrageen North did finish strongly and closed right to the line but Ballymac Art held on to score by a half length in 29.74. Promising youngster Spinosaurus was just two lengths adrift in third spot.

Heat 4 – MACHINE AND JET CAN’T BE SEPARATED

There was no closer finish than Heat 4 where Brendan Matthews’ De Machine and Bryan and Kathleen Murphy’s Priceless Jet couldn’t be separated on the line.

Sadly for connections of De Machine, the stewards made the decision that the son of Droopys Cain and Precious Story would need a clearing conduct trial and this means that his Derby campaign is over.

The race itself was full of drama with Deadly Samuri leading early before running out of steam after being headed around the last two bends.  The race seemed to be at the mercy of Priceless Jet when he avoided early traffic to turn second into the back straight.

But, De Machine quickly recovered after a little bit of bother on the corner to chase the leaders in third as they passed halfway. The Paul Hennessy trained Priceless Jet closed on Deadly Samuri to the third turn and made his move on the bend.

The leaders bumped slightly allowing De Machine to close rapidly into second spot behind Priceless Jet but they were almost side by side as they turned for home. This set up the most incredible finish. De Machine was forced to make his move on the outside of the track and he then started to drift inwards.

The pair bumped all the way to the line with De Machine continually edging inwards. They passed the line locked in battle and the judge declared a dead heat in 30.17. Amidus Luke was third, a further three lengths adrift, while Deadly Samuri progressed in fourth.

Heat 5 – NESTOR PRODUCES THE GOODS FOR ANDY

Andy Murray revealed on Talking Dogs TV moments after the victory of Gortkelly Nestor that the son of Droopys Jet and Dream Queen had been a doubt earlier in the week but it was scarcely evident as he produced a superb performance to see of Broadstrand Ryan and Ballymac Fairone.

Both he and Broadastrand Ryan came away racing and disputed the lad into the bend but Gortkelly Nestor ran a better turn to enter the back straight with an almost two length advantage over Broadstrand Ryan and the advancing Ballymac Fairone.      

This set up a great battle into the third turn with Broadstrand Ryan closing on the fence and Ballymac Fairone between runners. Gortkelly Nestor wasn’t for passing, however. Driving the third turn, the talented son of Droopys Jet and Dream Queen shot clear of Balymac Fairone, while Broadstrand Ryan checked his stride, seeing him fall almost five lengths behind the leader.

Gortkelly Nestor stayed on well to emerge a comfortable three length winner in 29.75, while Broadstrand Ryan rallied to pass Ballymac Fairone for second. The latter tired a little on the run in to finish a half length back in third.  

Heat 6 –SIZZLING SCOOBY CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Scooby Princess has been a real credit to Jennifer O’Donnell and Steve Noble and she again delighted her connections in Heat 6, producing a stunning display of front running to see off the hot favourite Ballymac Wild.

The daughter of Ballymac Eske and Mountaylor Queen has maintained her form throughout the past year and this latest success was her eighth of 2021. A drifter in the market, Scooby Princess went to traps a 3-1 chance but it was soon evident that the layers had it wrong.

Making a flying start from trap four, the Cork Oaks champion and Irish Oaks runner-up contained Ballymac Wild and Gunboat Showman into the bend and, once doing so, she was never going to be headed despite the very best efforts of Ballymac Wild.

The pair were separate by a length and a half as they turned into the back and it was down to a length by the third bend but Scooby Princess is so powerful and she kicked again at this point to put the result beyond doubt. Galloping with real freedom and purpose up the home straight, Scooby Princess saw off Ballymac Wild by three lengths in 29.40. Gunboat Showman ran a massive race in third, just a further length and a half adrift.

Heat 7 – SIZZLER SLIPS THE FIELD

The aptly named Sizzler (Laughil Blake/ Illusion Dream) came home a wide margin winner in Heat 7, avoiding early traffic to find himself clear of his rivals into the back straight.

Trained by Graham Holland for their long-time patron Marian Maloney, Sizzler was never going to be stopped once going to the front.

There was quite a battle into the turn but the majority of those drawn inside Sizzler encountered traffic and it allowed the widest runner in the field to slip around unscathed. Triangle Hugo turned second but could never land a glove on the leader.

Despite running extremely wide off the final turn, Sizzler maintained a strong gallop to the line to eventually emerge a facile eight length scorer in 30.01. Triangle Hugo had a further three lengths to spare over Grangeview Mac.

Heat 8 – TED REPELS HERO IN A TREMENDOUS BUCKLE

All About Ted and Epic Hero served up a tremendous contest in Heat 8 with the verdict going to the former as he made every inch to deny his persistent challenger.

The Peter Cronin trained All About Ted broke well from a wide draw and held a narrow lead over Epic Hero in the early yards before increasing his lead into the corner.

All About Ted, owned by Willie Rigney and Richard Brown, turned with just over a length in hand on Epic Hero, but the latter was close enough to be forced to check slightly as they entered the back straight. That didn’t end his challenge, however. Epic Hero quickly recovered and charged into the third turn to renew his challenge but it wasn’t meant to be.

 All About Ted again closed the door and the son of Kinloch Brae and Enable stayed on well to hold Epic Hero by a comfortable length in 29.61. Cricket Bell chased the pair throughout and finished just two and a half lengths away in third.

The son of Droopy Sydney and Up The Shannon displayed a fine turn of early speed to go to the front and he always seemed to be keeping his rivals at bay. Show Business did close rapidly on the run in but Monbeg Leeroy held on by a half length in 28.74.

***

ALL EYES ON JACK AS DERBY CONTINUES

Jackslittlething was the standout performer in the opening round of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby and there will be great expectation on the Graham Holland trained star to reproduce his stunning display when he lines out in Heat 2 of the second round this evening.

Eight second round heats of the classic dominate proceedings at Shelbourne Park this evening and Jackslittlething will be the hottest favourite of the night. That’s not to say he isn’t taking on some very talented trackers but he has over ten lengths in hand on his rival on opening round form.

Posting 16.96 to the third turn and 29.10 at the winning line, Jackslittlething certainly sent out a clear message that he is a maissve player in the Derby and the layers were also suitably impressed with sponsors Boylesports cutting him to 6-1 second favouritism. 

Ballymac Merlin recorded 29.83 on the same night and it is difficult to see him reversing the form, although he probably stands out as the main danger. Others with real talent include Coolavanny Chick and Angry Tornado but both will need to improve considerably on their latest efforts to worry the favourite.

Jackslittlething will be as short as 4-9 this evening and after a stride or two, that may look very generous indeed. The brilliant son of Droopys Sydney is selected to make every inch at the expense of Ballymac Merlin. The battle for third could see Angry Tornado and Coolavanny Chick go head to head.

NITRO TO EXPLODE FROM IDEAL DRAW

The second round gets underway with a very interesting contest where the draw will have a massive say in the outcome.

Droopys Good has been drawn in five and this could see plenty happening in the opening strides.

The son of Ballybough Mike has wonderful early sped but will most certainly edge across to the rail, which could see things getting pretty tight in the middle of the track. That should work in favour of the runners on both the very inside and outside of the track.

Juvenile Classic winner Singalsong Sally definitely needed her latest outing on return from season but from a trap one draw looks certain to make a bold bid. A tight railer, she can go up well and is very strong when on the bunny. She has been introduced as favourite but the nod actually goes to Nitro Johnny on the outside of the track. 

With Singalong Sally possibly needing another run or two, Nitro Johnny makes more appeal. He wears the stripes and should find himself with plenty of freedom to get up to full stride in the early yards. If taking advantage, he could lead the field into the back straight before containing Singalong Sally. Of those drawn in the middle of the track, the likes of Glenquain Pat and Droopys Good can figure but will need a flying start to avoid traffic.

PEEWEE CAN ARRIVE LATE AND FAST

Ballymac Art, Gaytime Milo and Storys Peewee all won their opening round heats in style and they could provide a thrilling clash in Heat 3.

All three have very different styles of racing and this adds further intrigue to the contest.

Ballymac Art will bid to dictate rom trap three and does seem the most likely pace-setter. Gaytime Milo is a strong runner with pace from start to finish. He will seek to lie handy before possibly outstaying Ballymac Art, while Storys Peewee is a swashbuckling fast-finisher that coul arrivelike a tornado in the final strides.

Should he turn relatively close to the pace, Murt Leahy’s charge will be very difficult to contain but this is a contest that could go right down to the wire. Carrigeen North is another worthy of consideration. He has run with real credit in the past two weeks and is clearly very progressive, while Sweep The Yard is always hard to keep out of the frame.    

Attempting to back winners in races of this nature wouldn’t generally be good for the bank balance but Storys Peewee is chosen to continue his winning ways, perhaps at the expense of Ballymac Art.

MACHINE TO KICK INTO GEAR

Heat 4 has the potential to be another barnstormer.

Deadly Samuri and Storys Direct are likely to battle it out for the early lad but holding on could be a different matter. Amidus Luke and Moanteen Maestro both won their opening round assignments and move well throughout but the eye is drawn to De Machine and Priceless Jet.

Both suffered defeat last week but displayed massive pace in the process. Much will depend on which gets first run at the likely leaders but, from an ideal draw on the fence, De Machine is chosen to return to winning ways.

He displayed awesome pace, after early traffic, to grab second last week and really seems to be running into top form. Should he avoid bad traffic, the Brendan Matthews trained Champion Stakes winner can strike the front in the second half of the contest.    

Priceless Jet is also in exceptional form and will have plenty of support but, from a side draw, he will need to be at his very sharpest to get around the early pacers drawn on his inner.

FAIRONE GETS NOD IN A POTENTIAL THRILLER

The absence of Billys Diva comes as a blow in Heat 5 but it remains a contest of real quality and Broadstrand Ryan, Ballymac Fairone and Catchmeflying could serve up a belter.

Barefoot Supremo and Gortkelly Nestor complete the line up and both are talented but the pure pace of the big three might prove decisive.

Broadstrand Ryan is certain to go up fast from his inside draw and will take some catching if turning in front but Ballymac Fairone and Catchmeflying are exceptionally fast themselves. Ballymac Fairone remains lightly raced but has already reached an English Derby final. He is also probably at his best when lining up in trap three and that could make the difference.

If coming away on terms, he could race upsides Broadstrand Ryan before asserting into the third turn. Catchmeflying needs to find his landing gear in the early yards but he will be motoring from the second turn.  

Expect Ballymac Fairone to confirm his standing as a leading Derby fancy with a fine success over Broadstrand Ryan and Catchmeflying.

CAN BALLYMAC RUN WILD AGAIN?

Ballymac Wild will be a short price to follow up his superb opening round success.

The Liam Dowling trained star is aided by the fact that he has slower starters on his flanks in the form of Droopys Wyatt and Darbys Delight.

This should allow Ballymac Wild to race right up with the pace in the early yards and, if doing so, he could assert down the back straight. Scooby Princess is the very obvious danger to the favourite. She is well housed in four and has always been capable of a fast start.

Much will depend on whether she can clear Ballymac Wild into the bend. If failing to do so, it will need something pretty extraordinary from the Jennifer O’Donnell trained star to overhaul Ballymac Wild. The race for third could be very competitive also but the aforementioned Darbys Delight might prove too strong for Tip Top Taylor and Droopys Wyatt.    

MIGHTY MAC ON THE RIGHT PATH

Heat 7 could be a bit of a cavalry charge into the opening bend. In a contest where all six greyhounds can go up fast, it might be best to concentrate on those drawn on the inside of the track.

Kameko is the likely favourite from trap one but Grangeview Mac is chosen to continue his rise up the ranks.

The Pat Guilfoyle trained youngster has tremendous pace and is really suited by the longer run to the corner. At his current rate of progression, Grangeview Mac represents real value with the sponsors at 7-2.

Others with big claims include impressive opening round scorer Macho Pride. A trap four draw isn’t a big worry as h did wing to the middle of the track from an inside draw last week. Whether he can lead those on his inner has yet to be seen but, if doing so, he could make a bold bid.

Coom Leo, Triangle Hugo and Sizzler also have claims but so much depend on how quickly they can start. In such a race, they will need to be electric from traps.

IT’S ALL ABOUT TED

Peter Cronin will be hoping All About Ted comes forward for his latest start in the final heat of the night.

The son of Kinloch Brae performed with real credit around Towcester earlier in the year and, if returning to that form, will be hard to stop. Irish St Leger champion Epic Hero is serious danger, although he needs to return to some form.

The Tommy O’Donovan trained star hasn’t produced his best this year but has shown signs of a revival in recent weeks. From an ideal draw on the fence, he must be respected. Others worthy of a mention include big finishers Monbeg Zinzan, Kildallon Pearl and Cricket Bell and the pacey Own Spice but, one suspects, All About Ted might have too much all-round pace for the opposition. 

He is selected to come home in front with Cricket Bell representing a bit of value as the outsider of the field.

***

BOY STILL FAVOURITE BUT JACK IS ON HIS SHOULDER

Explosive Boy remains the hot favourite for Derby glory following his fine front running display on Friday night but it’s no surprise to see Jackslittlething breathing down his neck after a sensational opening round effort the following evening.

Explosive Boy is now a 5-1 chance with sponsors Boylesports, while Jackslittlething was one of the biggest movers in the market and is now as short as 6-1. Ballymac Ariel was also pretty emphatic in her opening round assignment and is now a 12-1 chance for outright glory, while her kennel companion Ballymac Wild has also been cut considerably and is 16-1.

The quartet are the only greyhounds below the 20-1 mark. Broadstrand Ryan and Jacob Tashadelek both impressed over the weekend are next at 20-1 with a group of six greyhounds on the 25-1 mark. These are Champion Stakes winner De Machine, beaten English Derby favourite Ballymac Fairone, the powerful Storys Peewee and flying bitches Billys Diva, Scoby Princess and Oaks champion Susie Sapphire.

Macho Pride, Priceless Jet, Great Name That, Ballymac Beanie, Swords Maestro, Skywalker Barry, Deadly Destroyer, All About Ted, Ballymac Merlin, Skywalker Cilla, Romeo Magico and Beach Avenue are on the 33-1 mark.

Boylesports Bet: 5 Explosive Boy, 6 Jackslitlething, 12 Ballymac Ariel, 16 Ballymac Wild, 20 Jacob Tashadelek, Broadstrand Ryan, 25 De Machine, Ballymac Fairone, Storys Peewee, Susie Sapphire, Scooby Princess, Billys Diva, 33-1 Macho Pride, Priceless Jet, Great Name That, Ballymac Beanie, Swords Maestro, Skywalker Barry, Deadly Destroyer, All About Ted, Ballymac Merlin, Skywalker Cilla, Romeo Magico and Beach Avenue. 40-1 Bar.

***

JACK THE THIRD BEND KING

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Jackslittlething was the standout in the race to the third turn in the opening round of the Boylesports Derby.

Most of you will be aware of the various clocks but, for the next five weeks, we will keep a record through the competition.

Jackslittlething was a stunning opening round scorer, flashing from traps to post 16.96 to the third bend on Saturday evening before going on to stop the clock in 29.10. It was a real statement from the son of Droopy Sydney and it’s no shock to see him now disputing favouritism for the classic.

Next fastest was Romeo Magico in the final heat of the round as he clocked a rapid 17.06. The only greyhound to race on Friday and make the top five was Ballymac Ariel. There seems no doubt the surface was running a little slower on the opening night so the 17.09 posted by Liam Dowling’s star was really eye-catching.

Macho Pride and Susie Sapphire both set a blistering gallop in their respective heats with the pair clocking 17.12, while Jacob Tashadelek and Grangeview Mac both posted 17.16. favourite for outright success, Explosive Boy did little wrong in his hat, clocking 17.19, while Deadly Samuri posted the same mark in defeat.

Incidentally, the corresponding round in 2020 saw Pestana set the standard with a 17.01 return. He, of course, went on to post a sensational 16.83 in the second round.

Leaders Clocks (Fastest to Slowest):

 

 

 

1st round

Jackslittlething                   

16.96

Romeo Magico                   

17.06

Ballymac Ariel (F)  

17.09

Macho Pride                       

17.12

Susie Sapphire                   

17.12

Jacob Tashadelek  

17.16

Grangeview Mac   

17.16

Explosive Boy (F)   

17.19

Deadly Samuri                   

17.19

Swords Maestro    

17.22

Ballymac Art           

17.24

Broadstrand Ryan (F)       

17.25

Pennylane Sheba (F)        

17.25

Ballymac Fairone (F)        

17.30

Droopys Good                   

17.30

Tradesman              

17.35

Craggan Mor (F)    

17.36

Tiangle Hugo (F)    

17.40

Glenquain Pat (F)  

17.41

Kameko (F)             

17.43

Monraud Thunder (F)      

17.43

Razldazl Monarch 

17.46

Ballymac Beanie    

17.48

Moanteen Maestro (F)    

17.49

Ballymac Wild (F)              

17.49

***

***

AN INCREDIBLE NIGHT AS JACK GOES INTO ORBIT

While there had been plenty to get excited about twenty four hours earlier, the Boylesports Derby really seemed to come alive on Saturday night as the opening round drew to an epic conclusion. There were so many brilliant displays but the standout performers were Graham Holland and his star Jackslittlething.

Holland was in imperious form sending out four winners but Jackslittlething stole the headlines, as he produced one of the greatest runs ever seen at Shelbourne Park, posting a scarcely believable 29.10 to record the fastest time of the opening round by some five lengths.

There was a real sour note to proceedings, however, as the sensational youngster Dromana Bucko suffered a career ending injury in the first of the thirteen heats.

Heat 13 – MONARCH WINS BUT IT’S A RACE TO FORGET

The night began on a real low point with the brilliant and hugely exciting Dromana Bucko sadly picking up what looks a career ending injury at the opening turn.

Things seemed to be going to plan for the young son of Sparta Maestro as he led his rivals into the bend but he took a tumble on the bend as something seemed to give way.

It was a terrible sight but, thankfully, he was tended to the by the vet moments later and travelled home with Mark O’Donovan ahead of further treatment. As a result of the injury to the favourite, Rural Star was momentarily left in front but he was headed by the Kildare-Kilcolgan Syndicate owned Razldazl Monarch as they entered the back straight.

Once going to the front, the strong running son of Makeshift and Razlazl Pru was never going to be stopped and he stayed on well to secure the win in 29.79. Darbys Delight really pushed him in the closing yards, however.

Finishing at speed, Darby Delight got to within a neck of Razldazl Monarch to complete a one-two for Neilus O’Connell. In victory, Razldazl Monarch was matching the achievements of his brother Razldazl Peaky, who had scored the previous evening. Coolavanny Sando was fourth, meaning all three of Neilus O’Connell’s charges qualified.

Heat 14 – MILO PROVIDES GRAHAM WITH HIS FIRST

Gaytime Milo was a good winner for Stephanie O’Connell and Graham Holland in Heat 14 when outstaying the fast starting Droopys Good, initiating a magical night for his handler in the process.  Dropys Good rocketed from the inside box and was soon in a clear lead but stamina is not his forte and in the slower conditions he was always likely to come back to the field.

Gaytime Milo also went up reasonably well and, despite taking a bump at the turn, he slipped around in second. This proved decisive as he got first run at the tiring Droopys Good in the latter stages.

As the stride of Droopys Good began to shorten, English Derby semi-finalist Gaytime Milo made his move. Staying on well, the son of Gaytime Hawk and Gaytime Derval hit the front in the closing yards to emerge a good length scorer over Droopys Good in 29.90. It as th first of four winners for Graham Holland. Ballymac Belvult flew home to finish a close third, a further half length away. Monbeg Zinzan also ran on strongly to finish fourth.

Heat 15 – BALLYMAC’S ARTFUL DISPLAY

After a hat trick of heat winners on Friday, Liam Dowling didn’t have to wait long to add to his tally as Ballymac Art produced a superb effort to win Heat 15.

Dark Devil actually went up fastest to lead into the turn but he didn’t have daylight on his rivals and Ballymac Art took over with the inside line in her favour.

The daughter of Ballymac Best and Art Of Illusion quickly moved into a three length lead. Storys Direct entered the back straight in second and tried as best he could to close the gap into the third turn.

Ballymac Art was never going to surrender her advantage, however, and she rolled up the home straight to eventually score by two lengths from Storys Direct in 29.66. Carrigeen North ran on well to grab third, a further length adrift with Callmesteve in fourth.

Heat 16 – JACOB SHOWS HIS CLASS

Jacob Tashadelek put his name in the Derby hat with a sensational display in Heat 16.

 Ballymac Merlin, Jaytee Wexford and Jacob Tashadelek all broke on terms but there was only one winner in the opening bend.

Jacob Tashadelek displayed awesome early dash to quicken into the lead and he was never under any pressure thereafter. Ballymac Merlin gave chase down the back straight but could never land a glove on the leader. 

Instead, Jacob Tashadelek kept turning the screw up front and he eventually raced to a facile and most impressive three and a half length victory in a fastest of the Derby 29.45. Catchmeflying overcame early traffic, showing brilliant back straight pace, to come through for second spot. Ballymac Merlin didn’t find much from the third bend and eventually finished two lengths further adrift in third. Burgess Cassie was fourth.

Heat 17 LUKE USES THE FORCE

Charlie and Justin Colgan’s Amidus Luke left it late in Heat 17 but the son of Pat C Sabbath and Glenlee was ultimately too strong for the long-time pace-setter Deadly Samuri.

The latter really scored the early into the bend to open a clear advantage but was always under pressure when Amidus Luke turned second.

It seemed only a matter of time before Amidus Luke would get to the leader but Deadly Samuri hadn’t read the script and he dug deep on the run in. Amidus Luke is very strong, however, and he really pinned his ears back and clawed back the advantage of Deadly Samuri to strike the front on the line.

The judge was called into action but the nod went to Amidus Luke by a neck in a useful 29.63. Drumcrow Honey ran well to finish just four lengths adrift in third while fourth spot went to Bling Bling Paul.   

Heat 18 – MAESTRO PUTS RIVALS TO SWORD

Knocknaboul Syd was a warm favourite for Heat 18 but on return after a layoff looked plenty short of work as he succumbed to the talented Swords Maestro.

The favourite did come away well from trap four but so too did Swords Maestro, who displayed the better early dash into the turn to take over.

Once going to the front, it seemed highly unlikely Swords Maestro would surrender his advantage and first instincts were correct. Salmic Sunset slipped around second and gave chase but he was chasing shadows.

Barbara Lowndes’ Swords Maestro has a big engine and he galloped all the way to the line to run out a very comfortable and most impressive four and a half length victory in 29.51. Salmic Sunset was second, four lengths ahead of Knocknaboul Syd. Fourth spot went to Vigorous Buck.  

Heat 19 – MAGIC BEANIE

2020 Oaks champion Ballymac Beanie had her first start over the 550yd Derby trip in Heat 19 and the Declan Byrne trained star took it in her stride, leading early to see off the persistent Gortkelly Nestor.

Ciara Vereker’s Ballymac Beanie didn’t come away as well as she can but was still in the firing line from the opening stride and she drove the turn to lead the field into the back straight.

Gortkelly Nestor was never too far away but Ballymac Beanie really does kick off the final turn and she did so again with the daughter of Ballymac Matt and Coolavanny Pet eventually hitting the line two lengths to the good in 29.74. Gortkelly Nestor was second, two lengths ahead of Pierno in third. Galvarino was fourth.  

Heat 20 – NAME THAT’S GREAT FINISH

Great Name That made life a little difficult for himself in Heat 20 but he eventually got there in the closing stages to hand Liam Dowling a fifth opening round heat winner.

Tradesman set a strong gallop for much of the way and continued to lead the field into the home straight.

Coom Leo gave chase for much of the way but Great Name That recovered well after a slow start to move third as they entered the back straight. Once doing so, the son of Droopys Jet and Ballymac Bonnie always looked certain to play a big part in the closing yards.

Great Name That did fly into the third bend but was forced to check as the door was closed on him. He quickly recovered and was on the heels of the leaders turning for home. Tradesman started to tire as they turned for home and drifted to the middle of the track. This forced the fast finishing Great name That to switch sides. Despite running into the back end of Tradesman, Great Name That flew home to score by a length in 30.06. Tradesman was second, just holding Coom Leo by a short head with Brykar Oak another half length away in fourth.

Heat 21 – JACK LITTLE STUNNER

The Graham Holland trained Jackslittlething was seen as a Derby challenger ahead of his appearance in Heat 21 but he lay down a serious marker with a sensational display of front running to produce one of the great runs at Shelbourne Park.

An odds-on favourite, the son of Droopys Sydney and Limini flashed from trap four to post 3.36 to the winning line. Athlacca Zette displayed fine early to turn second but he was never within striking distance.

Jackslittlething, owned by the Pillar Syndicate, really meant business. Racing clear of his rivals throughout he posted an incredible 16.96 to the third turn and ran right to the line to stop the clock in a sizzling 29.10. Athlacca Zette ran his heart out in second spot, five lengths behind the winner. Third went to Trap Joey while Vipers Buzz took fourth.   

Heat 22 – MACHO HAS EVERY REASON TO BE PROUD

Gary Silcock always seems to have a good one in his care and Macho Pride is certainly that.

Although a 6-1 chance in Heat 22, the son of Good News and Sylvias Chloe was a pretty emphatic winner as he displayed superb early dash to make every inch.

Owned by the Under The Star Syndicate, Macho Pride broke fast from the inside trap and despite moving to the middle of the track, comfortably held his rivals into the corner. Angry Tornado seemed likely to offer the most resistance but it was Re Sure that displayed the best back straight pace, moving second before the third turn.

Macho Pride was still moving with real purpose out front, however, and he stayed on well to the line to emerge a deserving a impressive three and a half lengths in 29.56. Re Sure was second, two length clear of the fast finishing Cricket Bell with Angry Tornado qualifying in fourth.

Heat 23 – SUPER SUSIE IS TOO SLICK

Oaks champion Susie Sapphire was electric in Heat 23 as she flew from the inside box before showing her rivals a clean pair of heels throughout.

Already three lengths clear by the corner, the daughter of Droopys Jet and Jetstream Lynx ran the most incredible bend to increase her lead to six lengths by the time they entered the back straight.

Still, she pulled further clear to hit the third bend with eight lengths in hand on the improving Burgess Pippa. It was simply a procession for Peter Comerford’s Oaks starlet. Rolling home, the Owen McKenna trained speedster comfortably saw off the staying on All About Ted and Burgess Pippa by six lengths and a length and a half in 29.59. Lord Boomerang was fourth. 

Heat 24 – MARLEY LANDS LATE TO DENY MAC

After coming in as a reserve, Grangeview Mac made a bold bid in Heat 24 where he set a strong gallop only to b piked up by the strong running Mallogs Marley.

The latter came away racing but failed to contain Grangeview Mac into the bend.

Mallogs Marley, owned by the K-D-B Syndicate, remained close enough in second, however, and always had the leader in his sights. As Grangeview Mac started to show some signs of fatigue around the final bend, he left the inside of the track open for the advancing Mallogs Marley.

It was all the favourite needed and he pounced on the run in to hit the front. Staying on well to the line, Mallogs Marley saw off Grangeview Mac by a neck in 29.71. Kilbannon Psycho made an encouraging start her Derby campaign in third, three and a half lengths behind Grangeview Mac. Spinosaurus progressed as one of the fastest fourth place finishers.

Heat 25 – SIMPLY MAGICO FROM ROMEO

Early speed really is a potent weapon at the highest level and this was never more evident when Romeo Magico provided Graham Holland with his fourth winner of the night in the final heat of the round.

Although not the fastest into stride, David Firmager’s son of Magical Bale and Fabulous Artist displayed incredible acceleration to race to the front a long way before the corner. Crafty Bonanza had been fastest into stride but had no answer to the early zip of the favourite. He did manage to turn second, however, and actually ran an incredible race for one so young in second.

Romeo Magico was majestic to the third turn. Moving with his trademark fluent action, he quickened into a five length lead by the third turn. Crafty Bonanza continued to race in second, while Beach Avenue was advancing in behind runners.

Romeo Magico did tie up on the run in but comfortably held the flying finish of both Crafty Bonanza and Beach Avenue by a length and a length in 29.62. Leger champion Epic Hero qualified in fourth.

***

BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY ROUND 1, NIGHT 2 HEATS 13 - 25

***

BOY FASTEST AS DERBY GETS UNDERWAY

Five weeks of incredible action kicked off at Shelbourne Park on Friday night with the first twelve opening round heats of the Boylesports Derby provided so many superb performances.

As expected, the hot favourite for outright glory, Explosive Boy, ran out a good winner, posting a fastest of the night 29.47 in the process, while Liam Dowling record a wonderful hat trick. One of Dowling’s winners was the impressive Ballymac Ariel but she was challenged for the best display of the night from a female by Pennylane Sheba who took the final heat in dominant fashion.

Heat 1 – PRINCESS AND CRAGGAN CAN’T BE SEPARATED

The Boylesports Derby kicked off in dramatic fashion with Steve Nobel’s Scooby Princess and Howard Wallace’s Craggan Mor sharing the honours.

The Francie Murray trained Craggan Mor shot to the front on the run to the bend and led the field into the back straight, although Singalong Sally was challenging on his inner.   

The pair bumped early in the back straight, costing Singalong Sally momentum and leaving Craggan Mor in control but Scooby Princess was now closing fast. Coming though on the final turn, the Jennifer O’Donnell trained Scooby Princess claimed a narrow advantage but Craggan Mor came roaring back and the pair crossed the line locked in battle.

The judge was called into action and couldn’t split the pair, declaring a dead-heat in 29.79. Droopys Wyatt ran on for third a further four lengths adrift, while Singalong Sally was fourth.

Heat 2 – EXPLOSIVE BOY SETS THE PACE

Derby favourite Explosive Boy made a perfect start to his Derby campaign in the second heat, making virtually every inch although Stefans Rocket did run an incredible race in defeat to push him throughout.

Produce Stakes and Race of Champions winner Explosive Boy broke fastest and was soon in front but had to work hard to get across Stefans Rocket on the run to the turn. Once clearing that rival on the bend, the son of Good News and Delightful Girl was always in control and never seemed likely to suffer defeat but Stefans Rocket did keep him honest.

Turning for home, Peter Sutcliffe’s Explosive Boy started to turn the screw and he stayed on well to emerge a good winner by four and a half lengths from Stefans Rocket in a fastest of the night 29.47. There was a further six length gap to Edencurra Brae in third, while Breffni Comet was another five length away in fourth.

Heat 3 – MAESTRO KEEPS ANGRY DAD AT BAY

Moanteen Maestro emerged a determined winner of Heat 3 for Rachel and Richard Wheeler. Breaking smartly from an inside draw, the son of Sparta Maestro and Minglers Suarez was prominent into the turn and he forced his way past Angry Dad on the bend to go to the front.  

Angry Dad gave chase throughout and tried to close at the third turn but Moanteen Maestro had no intention of allowing Angry Dad pass on his outside. Digging deep, Moanteen Maestro ran right to the line to score by a length and a half from Angry Dad in 29.95. Kildallon Pearl ran on well to finish a length adrift in third, while Buttsys Bullet was fourth.

Heat 4 – HUGO TOO SHARP

Brendan Murphy’s Triangle Hugo (Droopys Jet/ Triangle Serena) was a good winner of Heat 5, breaking smartly to make every inch at the expense of Coolavanny Chick.

The pair were always to the fore but Triangle Hugo was always going to take some stopping when turning in front.

Coolavanny Chick made a move into the third turn but, in her first start of the year, she was always going to need the run and she ran out of steam on the run in. In contrast, Triangle Hugo stayed on strongly to emerge a deserving two and a half length scorer in 29.82. It was very tight behind the winner with Coolavanny Chick just holding Cash Return and Magical Jasper by a neck and a head.   

Heat 5 – WONDERFUL WILD

Ballymac Wild is one step closer to another Derby decider after emerging a comfortable winner of Heat 5.

Prominent into the turn, the son of Vulturi and Ballymac Breeze made full use of his massive frame and great track craft to force his way through on the fence.

Nitro Johnny held a narrow lead at the second bend but Ballymac Wild quickly asserted at the head of affairs. Once moving to the front, the result was never in doubt and the brindle powerhouse ran out a facile winner in 29.66. The real story of the race, however, was the display of Boylesports King in second. The 2019 Derby runner-up has had a really interrupted career but it was wonderful to see him racing with such enthusiasm, running on strongly to finish six lengths behind Ballymac Wild. Nitro Johnny was a length away in third with Knight Tornado fourth.

Heat 6 – PEAKY POUNCES LATE

Razldazl Peaky, owned by the Kildare Kilcolgan Syndicate, is amongst the most genuine trackers in training and he claimed a well-deserved victory in Heat 6.

Skywalker Barry was a warm favourite but could never express himself when headed in the early yards by Glenquain Pat.

The latter displayed early dash from trap four to dictate for much of the way but was always under pressure when the Neilus O’Connell trained Razldazl Peaky managed to slip around in second. Starting to close as they hit the third turn, Razldazl Peaky predictably powered up the home straight and the son of Makeshift and Razldazl Pru got there in the closing yards, seeing off Glenquain Pat by three parts of a length in 29.90. Skywalker Bary was two and a half lengths away in third with Zero Gravity in fourth.

Heat 7 – FAIRONE SENDS OUT A WARNING

Liam Dowling made it two on the night with Ballymac Fairone on Heat 7 as the beaten English Derby favourite gave a reminder of his abundant talent and immense potential to see off the persistent Priceless Jet.

This was effectively a two-dog affair from the opening strides with both Priceless Jet and Ballymac Fairone quickly moving clear of their rivals. The pair raced side by side into the turn with Priceless Jet perhaps holding a narrow advantage but that was the final time he would set the pace in the contest.

Ballymac Fairone had the inside line and he bumped Priceless Jet to mov to the front. A length to the good as they entered the back straight, he repelled the challenge of Priceless Jet into the third turn and this proved decisive.

Maintaining a strong galop, the son of Ballymac Matt and Ballymac Scala went on to hold the renewed challenge of Priceless Jet up the run in to score by three parts of a length in 29.67. Razldazl Annie was seven lengths further back in third with Billys Diva fourth.  

Heat 8 – ARIEL IN A CLASS OF HER OWN

Ballymac Ariel sent out a clear and emphatic warning to her rivals that she is a big player in the Derby in Heat 8, providing Liam Dowling with his third and final winner on the night.

The brilliant daughter of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Cameo was paw-perfect, breaking smartly from trap five and quickly moving into a clear advantage.

Deerjet Sydney missed the kick but did stay tight to the fence to turn third but there was no stopping the leader. Moving with real fluency and purpose throughout, Ballymac Ariel ran out a very impressive four and a half length winner over Deerjet Sydney in 29.50. No Green Dye, not for the first time, flew home to finish just a head away in third. Sizzler was fourth. 

Heat 9 – PEEWEE POWER

Storys Peewee has developed into a proper greyhound and the powerful son of Over Limit and Kittys Box overcame early traffic to emerge a tremendous winner of Heat 9 for Gavin O’Mahoney and Murt Leahy.

The race to the turn as pretty scrappy with Deadly Destroyer and Roxholme Sheikh clashing in the opening yards and allowing Monraud Thunder to move to the front along the fence. Storys Peewee and Droopys Yes were just behind them.

Storys Peewee displayed great balance at the bend, riding a hefty bump from Droopys Yes as he checked wide. It allowed Storys Peewee to turn on the shoulder of Deadly Destroyer in third spot. Monraud Thunder continued to dictate but it was clear he was under pressure with Storys Peewee simply too close.

Driving the third turn, Storys Peewee went second and quickly set his sights on the leader. The son of Over Limit and Kitty Box flew up the home straight to master the long-time leader and claim a three parts of a length success over Monraud Thunder in 29.74. Deadly Destroyer was four lengths away in third with Droopys Yes the best of the remainder in fourth.        

Heat 10 – RELENTLESS RYAN

Broadstrand Ryan produced a perfect display to dominate in Heat 10. De Machine ran a tremendous race in defeat but there was no stopping Broadstrand Ryan who made every inch after a fast start from trap three.

Trained by Johnny Linehan for the Ryan-Drake-Donovan Syndicate, Broadstrand Ryan was always in command, posting 17.25 to the third turn before cruising home three lengths clear in 29.66. In contrast, De Machine had to work hard to take the runners-up spot.

After early crowding he was last at the turn but moved into overdrive down the far side to go second between the last two bends. For a brief moment it seemed he might trouble Broadstrand Ryan but, once straightening for home, the leader kicked again and he contained De Machine all the way to the pick-up. Skywalker Cill and Jazz Toes were third and fourth.

Heat 11 – KAMEKO ALWAYS IN CONTROL

Graham Holland and Larry O’Rourke opened their 2021 Derby account in the penultimate heat of the night with Kameko soon asserting before going on to score.

The son of Good News and Mysterious Ways broke smartly from the inside box and ad the early speed to lead Tip Top Taylor around the bend.

The latter was never far off the pace in second and did threaten around the last two bends but Kameko kept on finding up front and eventually hit the line a length and a half to the good in 29.77. Own Spice was three lengths away in third spot with Zoom finishing fourth.

Heat 12 – SUPER SHEBA ENDS NIGHT IN REAL STYLE

One of the finest runs of the night came in the final heat as Pennylane Sheba produced a brilliant front running display.

The Pennylane Syndicate owned daughter of Droopys Jet and Pennylane Lace was simply electric as he shot from the inside box to dictate from the very outset.

Callaway Mort was on her shoulder into the turn but his challenge was short-lived. Running a tremendous turn, Pennylane Sheba increased her lead to three lengths as they entered the back and she continued to pile on the pressure out front.

By the third turn she had five lengths in hand and, still, she turned the screw. Running right to the line, the January ’19 whelp emerged a facile six length winner over Sweep The Yard in a rapid 29.53 with Gunboat Showman a further neck adrift in third. Barefoot Supremo was fourth.

***

BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY ROUND 1, NIGHT 1 HEATS 1 - 12

***

BOYLEPSORTS DERBY CONTINUES AT SHELBOURNE PARK

The opening round of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby will draw to a conclusion at Shelbourne Park this evening.

 We won’t have to wait long to see the most intriguing and, perhaps, exciting greyhound in the Derby in action as Dromana Bucko lines out in the first of the thirteen heats.

ALL EYES ON BUCKO

Scarcely has a greyhound made such an impact in such a short spell but, after just three career outings, the son of Sparta Maestro is the 12-1 second favourite for outright glory.

He is likely to go to traps a hot favourite but his task is far from straightforward, especially if he doesn’t time his start right.

It's worth noting this will be his first time in the 550y traps and his first race at HQ. With the likes of Darbys Delight, Razldazl Monarch, Burgess Glengar and Rural Star always capable of producing a big run, Dromana Bucko needs to be on his toes in the early yards.   

That said, the Mark O’Donovan trained star looks a bit special, has the ideal draw in the stripes and seems blessed with Derby winning pace so it would be foolish to ignore his very obvious claims. Dromana Bucko is selected to lead home Darby Delight.

MILO TO HAVE A GAY TIME

Heat 14 is a contest of contrasting styles of racing. Droopys Good can rocket to the third turn but is short on stamina.

Ballymac Belvult is a slow starter but will finish at sped, while Gaytime Milo is a strong runner with fine pace throughout. 

So much will depend on the opening strides but one suspects Droopys Good will take them along with Gaytime Milo not far off the pace, while Ballymac Belvult will attempt to come through the pack from halfway.

Frontline Star and Monbeg Zinzan are both strong runners but are in need of a little luck. The nod goes to Gaytime Milo to outstay Droopy Good before holding the late charge of Ballymac Belvult.

KINGDOM TOO STRONG

After a hat trick in Friday’s heats, Liam Dowling seems likely to claim another success in Heat 15 where he is doubly represented by Ballymac Kingdom and Ballymac Art.

The latter is the likely pace-setter and could take some catching.

She may have to battle both Storys Direct and Dark Devil in the early stages. If either were to lead the field into the back straight, they too could take some catching. Carrigeen North and Callmsteve complete the line-up and, while both are promising, they may need to be at their very best to threaten.

With a likely battle on the outside of the track for the early advantage, Ballymac Kingdom could be the one to take advantage. He is immensely strong and he is selected to come through in the closing yards to add to his already impressive tally.

MERLIN TO WEAVE HIS MAGIC

Heat 16 is a competitive affair but the draw could allow Ballymac Merlin to be seen at his best.

He has often shown promise, hinting that he is set for a big future but it’s now time to start fulfilling the potential.

In a race where the battle for early supremacy could be vital, Ballymac Wild is drawn on the right side of all his rivals. Jaytee Wexford, Jacob Tashadelek, Catchmeflying and Oran Don will all go up strongly and this could see things getting pretty tight up the middle of the track. 

Should Ballymac Merlin come away on terms, he has the early speed to slip through on the fence and that could make the difference. Catchmeflying is nominated as the main danger, while Jacob Tashadelek is respected as a possible pace-setter.

LUKE TO CUT DOWN SAMURI

Deadly Samuri will bid to make every inch in Heat 17.

A flying starter with tremendous pace to the third turn, he does look the very likely pace-setter but whether he can build a large enough advantage has yet to be seen.

Should Amidus Luke turn close to the pace from an ideal draw on the fence, he may have too much ammunition for Deadly Samuri in the closing yards. Matts Shadow and Bling Bling Paul may emerge as the best of the rest.

SLICK SYD CAN DOMINATE

Knocknaboul Syd will be one of the hottest favourites of the round in Heat 18 where he races from a favourable draw in four.

The Easter Cup winner has been given a rest in recent weeks and will likely come on for tonight’s run but he should still have too much in his locker for his rivals.

Swords Maestro needs to find his trapping boots but, if doing so, could emerge as the main threat while both Vigorous Buck and Salmic Sunset are also capable of playing a part. Knocknaboul Syd is a class act, however, and he is selected to make every inch after one of his trademark flying exits.

BRILLIANT BEANIE TO MAKE ALL

2020 Sporting Press Oaks champion Ballymac Beanie steps up to 550yds in Heat 19 where she looks a serious player.

Pierno is a very obvious danger with the pair looking a class above their rivals. The opening strides could determine the winner and, with that in mind, Ballymac Beanie gets the nod.

A natural trapper with tremendous early speed, she should be suited by the longer run to the bend and is selected to contain Pierno into the bend. If doing so, the pair can race clear of their rivals for the remainder of the contest with Ballymac Beanie chosen to come home in front.    

STRENGTH THE KEY FOR GREAT NAME

Should Great Name That avoid traffic problems in Heat 20, the Liam Dowling trained powerhouse is likely to emerge a comfortable winner.

Blessed with immense pace and power, the son of Droopys Jet should turn close to the pace before coming through in the second half of the contest.

Tradesman and Coom Leo will look to dictate the pace with the latter the more likely leader but Great Name That can prove too strong. Allforthebest is another that will be finishing at speed and is selected to make the frame also.

JACK TO CONTINUE WINNING WAYS

Following his brilliant Champion Plate success, Jackslittlething will be a hot favourite for Heat 21.

The Graham Holland trained star has really appreciated the step up to 550yds, seems to love Shelbourne Park and comes into the race in the form of his career.

With all that in mind, he is chosen to make virtually every inch to see off the likes of Fast Fit Paddy, Athlacca Zette and Vipers Buzz. Of his rivals, Athlacca Zette has the best of the draw but he will need to hit the ground running to threaten. Instead, Fast Fit Paddy gets the vote to chase home Jackslittlething.  

BALE TO BOUNCE BACK

This time last year, Glengar Bale was one of the stars of the early rounds of the 2020 Derby.

Not everything has gone to plan in the intervening months but he has the ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways in Heat 22.

His task is far from an easy one with Angry Tornado and Re Sure very capable of going close, but Glengar Bale has so much ability and he is chosen to take control early before going on to see of Angry Tornado.

SUSIE A GEM

Oaks champion Susie Sapphire produced a very encouraging run in defeat last week in what was her first start over 550yds.

With that experience in her favour, she looks the one to beat in Heat 23 from an ideal draw on the fence.

All About Ted is a very obvious and real; threat on the outside of the track but Susie Sapphire may get first run on her rival and that could make the difference. Burgess Pippa is another worthy of respect but Susie Sapphire is selected to make all to beat All About Ted and Burgess Pippa.

MARLEY ON TUNE

Navy Blue is absent from Heat 24 with a reserve expected to run.

No matter the reserve, Mallogs Marley looks the one to beat. He impressed in his latest start, leading from the outset to post 29.43 and a repeat of that form would be good enough.

If he fluffs his lines, Narcos Doda and Spinosaurus could be best equipped to take advantage. Mallogs Marley remains the one to beat, however. He can strike the front early before emerging a good winner over Narcos Dode.

MAGICO AND BEACH LOCK HORNS

The opening round could end with a potential thriller.

Romeo Magico is fancied by the layers to come home clear but the Graham Holland trained star can’t afford any errors with the likes of Epic Hero, Droopys Gloss and Beach Avenue ready to pounce.

Even if Romeo Magico does strike the front early, he could be vulnerable with the 550yd trip testing his stamina. If Beach Avenue gets a clear passage on the outside, he could potentially arrive in the final strides to deny the favourite. 

***

EXPLOSIVE BOY SET TO START A RED-HOT FAVOURITE

We spoke earlier in the week of the fact that Explosive Boy was most likely going to start the Boylesports Derby as favourite but there seems absolutely no doubt now as has come in for even more support in the intervening days and hours.

The Pat Guilfoyle trained Produce Stakes and Race of Champions winner is now as short as 6-1 for outright success as the punters continue to come for the brilliant son of Good News. Incredibly, the best price on offer about Peter Sutcliffe’s charge is 7-1.

That’s pretty incredible when you consider he was as big as 16-1 with one firm on Tuesday morning, while he was widely available at 10-1 with a number of firms including the sponsors on Monday.  

Damien Lonergan of Boylesports confirmed that Explosive Boy would not be a good result for the Derby sponsors saying, “Dromana Bucko has come in for small support in recent days but, in reality, it’s very much a one-dog book. Since the Champions Stakes it’s been all about Explosive Boy. In my years with Boyles, I can’t remember a shorter Derby favourite.

“Clares Rocket was probably the shortest but he was still 7-1 before the Derby after winning the Champion Stakes in unreal fashion. The book is very lobsided. Explosive Boy is far and away our worst result and would be probably the worst result I can remember.

“We’ve seen nibbles for a few others. Skywalker Cilla is shorter than she probably should be after a couple of decent bets, while Cnoc Billy was backed at a big price the other day.”

***

NIGHT TO SAVOUR AS BOYLESPORTS DERBY KICKS OFF

For those involved in greyhound sport in Ireland, the Boylesports Derby is their Cheltenham, their Christmas and their first pint after lockdown rolled into one.

There is simply no time like Derby time with the action coming thick and fast over the most frenetic five weeks.

In all, there will be fifty-six races, approximately twenty seven and a half minutes of racing action, countless shocks, a number of sensational displays and just one winner by the time the final is completed on September 18th.

BOY CAN EXPLODE   

The hot favourite to land the €125,000 winner’s purse is Explosive Boy and he is expected to get his Derby campaign off to a flying start this evening as he lines out in the second of the twelve opening round heats.

Pat Guilfoyle has already tasted Derby success with Good News and knows exactly what is needed to reach the summit of world greyhound racing. In Explosive Boy, he has a greyhound with all the talent in the world and it seems inevitable he will go close to landing the classic is avoiding bad luck.

Blessed with superb trapping ability, stunning early speed and with enough stamina to see out the 550yd trip, Explosive Boy has very few flaws. He will be the hottest favourite of the entire opening round when he steps out onto the track for Heat 2 and is fully expected to make every inch.

The near veteran Ballymac Cooper is probably his main rival, but his best days seem behind him. He remains a talented performer but, in what is likely to be his swansong, Cooper might struggle to land a glove on the favourite. Droopys Dude is another worth noting. He caught the eye finishing fast in a couple of recent outings in the Irish Sprint Cup and could make the frame.

WHAT A START

The ladies seem likely to play a big part in this year’s Derby and three of the best will meet in the opening heat which may well set the tone for the remainder of the classic.

Juvenile Classic winner Singalong Sally has a perfect draw on the fence but may need the outing after a layoff.  

Instead, Front Amani and Scooby Princess are probably the big two in the contest. Both ladies are exceptionally quick from the second bend and look set to have a great tussle in the second half of the contest.

So much will depend on which gets first run but Front Amani gets the nod in her first start over the 550yd Derby trip. She really is an exceptional talent and looks likely to relish the extra yards. She can race prominently before asserting in the latter stages.

DON’T BE ANGRY, DAD

Angry Dad really grew up on his travels with the Peter Cronin trained star performing with real distinction at Towcester.

He has his first start on Irish soil since May in Heat 3 and will be a short price to begin his Derby bid with a victory.

The son of Confident Rankin moved well in a recent trial and looks certain to come on for the spin. From an ideal draw in three with the inexperienced Cnoc Billy on his immediate inner, Angry Dad can strike the front in the early yards. If doing so, he will take some stopping.

Kildallon Pearl will finish well but may struggle to turn close enough, while the outside duo of Buttsys Bullet and Dromdoit Bermuda need to be at their very best. Moanteen Maestro has little mileage on the clock and makes little appeal from the inside box.

In short, Angry Dad has the perfect opportunity to add to his tally and he is a confident selection to lead home Buttsys Bullet.

CAN CHICK FLY?

Heat 4 is perhaps the most open of the entire round with each of the six runners holding claims.

2020 English Derby finalist Coolavanny Chick stands out on the pick of her form but is returning after a long layoff after having a litter of pups.

If she was close to her best, she would most likely score but it’s a big ask for the daughter of Droopys Sydney. Should she fail to fire, Magical Jasper and Buttsys Best would be best equipped to take advantage, although Triangle Hugo is also capable of a big run. 

From a betting viewpoint, this is very much a watching brief but if forced to pick a likely winner, Coolavanny Chick is the token selection.

WONDERFUL WILD ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Ballymac Wild has been there, done that and is currently printing the t-shirts.

 Ahead of calling out his achievements in the sport, one needs to take a deep intake of breath to get through them all. A dual classic winner following victories in the 2020 Juvenile Classic at Tralee and the 2021 Shelbourne Open 600, he has also reached two Derby finals (Ireland 2020 and England in 2021), finished runner-up in the 2020 Champion Stakes and reached the final a year later, was a hot favourite for the Leger decider last year and also went close in the Kingdom Derby decider.

In short, he’s a warrior and the ultimate competition greyhound. He stands out as the one to beat in Heat 5 where he lines out in the blue of two. Knight Tornado is clearly a threat but if Ballymac Wild puts his best foot forward, he will be extremely difficult to contain.

Of their rivals, it’s great to see 2019 Derby runner-up Boylesports King back on the Derby campaign. He has shown encouraging signs in recent weeks and could make the frame. Glory Katy and Nitro Johnny are also very useful but they need to be at their sharpest in a race of this nature.

BARRY TOO SHARP

Skywalker Barry will be odds-on to land Heat 6 where he stand out as the one to beat.

The Juvenile Derby and Select Stakes winner faces a favourable draw in three and should have room to race with Razldazl Peaky certain to edge inwards from trap two.

Should he strike the front early, Skywalker Barry is likely to set a strong gallop before rolling home a comfortable winner. Glenquain Pat and Razldazl Peaky can both play a part but Clona Bolt gets the vote to chase home the hot favourite.

FAIRONE, BILLY AND JET CLASH

Ballymac Fairone, Billys Diva and Priceless Jet will all be expected to go far in the classic and their clash in Heat 7 is one of the standouts of the opening round.

So much will depend on the opening exchanges but there seems no doubt that Ballymac Fairone has the best of the draw in the red jacket.

The beaten English Derby favourite was a little flat in his only start since Towcester when chasing home Kilara Icon in the semi final of the Champion Stakes. His latest trial wasn’t overly inspiring either but he has been given a couple of weeks to freshen up and that could make the difference.

Billys Diva is a very special performer and stands out as an obvious threat, while Priceless Jet produced the most incredible display in the Champion Stakes and is also capable of going very close. One suspects Ballymac Fairone might put his best foot forward, however.

Should he strike the front in the early yards, the brilliant young son of Ballymac Matt can kick of his Derby challenge on the back of a victory. Billys Diva and Priceless Jet can fight it out for second with the remainder needing plenty of luck to land a glove.

ARIEL AND SYDNEY TO GO HEAD TO HEAD

With the greatest respect to their rivals, Heat 8 is all about the clash of Deerjet Sydney and Ballymac Ariel.

The pair standout in what could turn into a straight head to head down the back straight.

Sizzler is likely to go up fast on the outside but he would need to turn with a clear advantage as he throws away s much ground on the turn by running wide.

With that in mind, Deerjet Sydney and Ballymac Ariel may find themselves battling it out up front as they enter the back straight. Both greyhounds have had a short layoff and should be the better for it.

2020 English Derby champion Deerjet Sydney has a great draw on the fence and Pat Buckley will be hoping he can hit the ground running. If he fails to do so, Ballymac Ariel could take advantage. There is no doubting her brilliance and should she produce her best form, there is scarcely a greyhound in training that can match her for pace. Expect Ariel to lead home Deerjet Sydney.

DEADLY CHOSEN IN HOT CONTEST

With the likes of Roxholme Sheikh, Droopys Yes and Storys Peewee to contend with, beaten Champion Stakes favourite Deadly Destroyer will need to be on his toes in the opening yards of Heat 9 to justify favouritism.

The presence of Roxholme Sheikh is of particular interest. A top class performer across the water for the now retired Hayley Keightley, he has the ability to make a splash around Shelbourne Park. Normally a good starter, he might edge inwards from trap three which could be a reason for concern for Deadly Destoyer backers.

The latter has been in sensational form, however, and with his experience of Shelbourne Park certain to suit, he gets the nod to lad throughout. Roxholme Sheikh can chase him home, while the battle for third could come down to whether Droopys Yes can contain the big finish of Storys Peewee.

DE MACHINE TO CLICK INTO GEAR 

The absence of De Machine from Heat 10 comes as a real disappointment as this was shaping up to be one of the best races of the round but it remains a contest of real quality.

Broadstrand Ryan has been installed favourite and is perhaps the most likely pace-setter but his tendency to ease slightly at the third turn is a real cause for concern. 

Should he do so, the likes of De Machine, Skywalker Cilla and Massachusetts will be absolutely flying at the end of the back straight and any of the trio could come through to score. The vote gos to De Machine, however.

The Champion Stakes winner is clearly in tremendous form and a return to Shelbourne Park is really playing to his strengths. Expect the Brendan Matthews trained star to arrive with a rush at third turn before coming through to lead on the run in.

CAN ZOOM ZOOM?

Zoom has, on occasion, looked a very aptly named tracker.

He has tremendous early zip when he times his start right and it’s understandable that he is favourite for Heat 11 where he faces a favourable draw in the stripes.

The start is all-important, however. Should he mistime the start, he might struggle to land a telling blow but were h to come away on terms, he could find himself in a clear advantage by the second bend. Of his rivals, Kameko and Tip Top Taylor are nominated as the main dangers.

Kameko is always capable of a big run. He too is a little inconsistent at traps but certainly has the pace to mount a bold bid. Tip Top Taylor is a really plucky performer. She is normally a goo starter and is always hard to pass when dictating. She represents the value at the prices on offer but the vote remains with Zoom to make all for Murt Leahy.

AUXERRE IS WHERE HE WANTS TO BE

Auxerre is exactly where he wants to be in the final heat of the night. A confirmed wide seed, he is always at his best when wearing the stripes.

The son of Droopys Sydney is nominated as a confident selection in the final heat, although Sweep The Yard is also expected to attract plenty of support.

Auxerre has been in action in the Tipperary Cup in recent weeks but a return to Shelbourne Park should see him return to his very best. A good starter with fine pace throughout, Ollie Shields’ charge can strike the front into the corner.

Sweep The Yard really motors down the back and does stay on well but Auxerre is also very strong and he can repel the likely challenge of his rival. Barefoot Supremo is another worthy of a mention. He flew home to score in A2 company last time. This may come too soon for him but he is certainly on for the future.   

***

DERBY BONUSES ON OFFER AGAIN

Eagle-eyed observers would have noticed on the ads for the upcoming Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby that the Bonuses that were introduced a few years back remain in place for the 2021 renewal with the last standing bitch, owned trained dog, syndicate owned dog and trial stake winners being rewarded for their efforts.

Each of the four categories will have a €1,500 bonus. I’m sure most would prefer the €125,000 winner’s purse but, if you were lucky enough to bag one of the bonuses, it could act as consolation if your greyhound gets knocked out in the latter stages of the classic.

The list of the bonuses on offer can be seen below, while we also included a list of the trial stake winners to date.

DERBY BONUSES

Last Standing Bitch €1,500

Last Standing Owner Trained Greyhound €1,500

Last Standing Syndicate Owned Greyhound €1,500

Last Standing Trial Stake Winner €1,500

DERBY TRIAL STAKE WINNERS

Cork                                     Ballyboy Deme                  29.82

Dundalk                               Droopys Wyatt                  29.87

Shelbourne Park                 Re Sure                                29.87

Enniscorthy                         Rains Confident                30.26

Galway                                Kilbannon Psycho            30.08

Kilkenny                              Trap Joey                             28.86 (525)

Clonmel                               Knock Skipper                   30.05

Tralee                                   Scart Jim                              30.16

Limerick                               Vigorous Buck                   29.81

Mullingar                             Breffni Comet                   31.00    

Drumbo Park                       To be run on Saturday coming

***

DERBY SPECIALS AVAILABLE WITH SPONSORS

Boylesports have issued their Derby specials ahead of the kick off on Friday. There is a great range of the markets available and, with a little bit of work, it may be possible to find a couple of prices that represent real value.

Of course, Pestana smashed the track record in last year’s Derby and the record is currently 6-1 to go during the Derby. A female winner is overdue with the last coming in 1999 when Spring Time raced to victory. Last year Meenagh Miracle went close when finishing runner up and it’s 4-1 about a bitch coming home in front on September 18th.

The same Meenagh Miracle reached last year’s final without winning a heat and the 6-4 on offer about that happening again does look generous. If you fancy a greyhound to reach the final without winning a heat, the 33-1 on offer about the outright winner failing to win in the prelims may look tempting.

In contrast, the 8-1 about a greyhound

As you would expect, there is the usual winning trainer, winning prefix, winning seed, top bitch and the individual trainer markets. With just a couple of days left, it’s time to get studying. 

BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Specials 

Winning Trainer

7-2          Liam Dowling

9-2          Graham Holland

7              Pat Guilfoyle

7              Mark O'Donovan

8              Pat Buckley

9              Murt Leahy

10           Robert Gleeson

12           Paul Hennessy

12           Peter Cronin

14           Karol Ramsbottom

16           Thomas O'Donovan

20           Brendan Matthews

20           Owen McKenna

20           Neilus O'Connell

20           John A Linehan

25           Martin Lanney

25           Thomas Buggy

40           Matthew Harte

Top Bitch

7-2          Ballymac Ariel

9-2          Front Amani

5              Scooby Princess

5              Billys Diva

6              Ballymac Beanie

8              Susie Sapphire

12           Singalong Sally

16           Coolavanny Chick

16           Droopys Gloss

16           Skywalker Cilla

20           Ballymac Art

33           Drumcrow Honey

33           Glory Katy

33           Pennylane Sheba

33           Getawaywithit

33           Kildallon Pearl

33           Burgess Cassie

40           Burgess Pippa

50           Tip Top Taylor

50           Razldazl Annie

100         Kilbannon Psycho

100         Breffni Comet

Derby Winner To Be Unbeaten In Every Round

8              Yes

A Greyhound To Make The Final Without Winning A Heat

6-4          Yes

Track Record To Be Broken During The Derby

6              Yes

A Greyhound To Win The Derby Without Winning A Heat

33           Yes

A Bitch To Win The Derby

4              Yes

Winning Prefix

7-2          Ballymac

12           Dromana

16           Deadly

20           Skywalker

16           Droopys

20           Storys

20           Angry

33           Razldazl

40           Burgess

50           Coolavanny

66           Buttsys

100         Drumdoit

Winning Seed

4-5          Rails

2              Wide

7-2          Middle

Top Graham Holland Trained Runner

2              Jackslittlething

3              Romeo Magico

6              Knight Tornado

6              Gaytime Milo

8              Kameko

10           Sizzler

12           Sweep The Yard

14           Swords Maestro

16           Rural Star

20           Nitro Johnny

33           Callmesteve

Top Pat Buckley Trained Runner

10           Coom Leo

9-4          Deerjet Sydney

11-4       Glengar Bale

7-4          Knocknaboul Syd

6              Singalong Sally

Top Liam Dowling Trained Runner

2              Ballymac Ariel

3              Ballymac Wild

4              Ballymac Fairone

5              Great Name That

10           Ballymac Belvult

12           Ballymac Kingdom

16           Ballymac Merlin

16           Ballymac Art

25           Ballymac Cooper

Top Paul Hennessy Trained Runner

11-10     Priceless Jet

6-4          Beach Avenue

8              Barefoot Supremo

8              Jaytee Wexford

16           Warwick Avenue

***

BOYLESPORTS DERBY DRAW 1st ROUND

The draw for the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby went off without a hitch on Monday afternoon and there are so many wonderful clashes to look forward to.

The breakdown of the runners was very satisfactory with 92 inside seeds, 22 middle seeds and 36 wide runners amongst the 150 names in the draw drum.

The fact that there is no more guarding also meant that the draw was much quicker than normal, while the equal spreading of the seeded runners should make for cleaner racing. The opening round will commence on Friday with twelve heats, while the remaining thirteen heats will feature on Saturday night.

With the entry of 150, three will qualify from each of the 25 heats with a grand total of 21 of the fastest fourth place finishers also progressing, leaving a field of 96 greyhounds for the second round.

Boylesports Derby draw

FRIDAY, AUGUST 13TH

Heat 1

1 Singalong Sally

2 Scooby Princess

3 Craggan Mor

4 Droopys Wyatt

5 Front Amani (w)

6 Speed Winner (w)

Heat 2

1 Breffni Comet

2 Edencurra Bree

3 Stefans Rocket

4 Explosive Boy

5 Droopys Dude (w)

6 Ballymac Cooper (w)

Heat 3

1 Moanteen Maestro

2 Cnoc Billy

3 Angry Dad

4 Kildallon Pearl

5 Buttsys Bullet (w)

6 DRomduit Bermuda (w)

Heat 4

1 Ten By Thursday

2 Magical Jasper

3 Triangle Hugo

4 Cash Returns

5 Coolavanny Chick (w)

6 Buttsys Best (w)

Heat 5

1 Towstar Gazza

2 Ballymac Wild

3 Knight Tornado

Glory Katy

5 Nitro Johnny (w)

6 Boylesports King (w)

Heat 6

1 Fawn Cruiser

2 Razldazl Peaky

3 Skywalker Barry

4 Glenquain Pat

5 Zero Gravity (w)

6 Clona Bolt (w)

Heat 7

1 Ballymac Fairone

2 Jacks Lockup

3 Razldazl Annie

4 Billys Diva

5 Another Dream (w)

6 Priceless Jet (w)

Heat 8

1 Deerjet Sydney

2 Newyork Sydney

3 No Green Dye

4 Ballybough Danny

5 Ballymac Ariel (w)

6 Sizzler (w)

Heat 9

1 Monraud Thunder

2 Deadly Destroyer

3 Roxholme Sheikh 

4 Droopys Yes

5 Storys Peewee (w)

6 Getawaywithit (w)

Heat 10

1 Kilara Icon

2 Skywalker Cilla

3 Broadstrand Ryan

4 De Machine

5 Sonny The Kid (w)

6 Massachusetts (w)

Heat 11

1 Kameko

2 Shinnagh Jet

3 Own Spice

4 Scart Jim

5 Tip Top Taylor (w)

6 Zoom (w)

Heat 12

1 Pennylane Sheba

2 Sweep The Yard

3 Barefoot Supremo

4 Callaway Mort 

5 Gunboat Showman (m)

6 Auxerre (w)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 14TH

Heat 13

1 Darbys Delight

2 Razldazl Monarch

3 Coolavanny Sando

4 Burgess Glengar

5 Rural Star (m)

6 Dromana Bucko (w)

Heat 14

1 Droopys Good

2 Ballymac Belvult

3 Frontline Star

4 Monbeg Zinzan

5 Gaytime Milo (m)

6 Headleys Turbo (w)

Heat 15

1 Carrigeen North

2 Call Me Steve

3 Ballymac Kingdom

4 Ballymac Art

5 Storys Direct (m)

6 Dark Devil (w)

Heat 16

1 Ballymac Merlin

2 Jaytee Wexford

3 Jacob Tashadelek

4 Burgess Cassie

5 Catchmeflying(m)

6 Oran Don (w)

Heat 17

1 Amidus Luke

2 Deadly Samuri

3 Drumcrow Honey

4 Bling Bling Paul

5 Dromana Fury (m)

6 Matt Shadow (w)

Heat 18

1 Vanderbilt

2 Rains Confident

3 Vigorous Buck

4 Knocknaboul Syd (m)

5 Swords Maestro (m)

6 Salmic Sunset (w)

Heat 19

1 Warwick Avenue

2 Ballymac Beanie

3 Galvarino

4 Evermore (m)

5 Pierno (m)

6 Gortkelly Nestor (w)

Heat 20

1 Tradesman

2 Great Name That

3 Brykar Oak

4 Coom Leo (m)

5 Madabout Cody (m)

6 Allforthebest (w)

Heat 21

1 Trap Joey

2 Fast Fit Paddy

3 Artax

4 Jackslittlething (m)

5 Vipers Buzz (m)

6 Athlacca Zette (w)

Heat 22

1 Macho Pride

2 Angry Tornado

3 Millridge Bobby

4 Knock Skipper (m)

5 Glengar Bale (m)

6 Re Sure (w)

Heat 23

1 Susie Sapphire

2 Burgess Pippa

3 Meenagh Myles

4 Lord Boomerang (m)

5 Dromdoit Casper (m)

6 All About Ted (w)

Heat 24

1 Kilbannon Psycho

2 Spinosaurus

3 Navy Blue

4 Moyola Seamrog (m)

5 Mallogs Marley (m)

6 Narcos Dode (w)

Heat 25

1 Whitewood Axel

2 Droopys Gloss

3 Epic Hero

4 Romeo Magico (m)

5 Crafty Bonanza (m)

6 Beach Avenue (w)

***

BOYLESPORTS EXTEND DERBY SPONSORSHIP FOR ANOTHER 3 YEARS

It’s wonderful to announce some great news on a Monday morning.

It may not have been the best kept secret in greyhound racing but it has been confirmed that BoyleSports are back to sponsor the Irish Greyhound Derby for a further three years, bringing their involvement in the classic to an incredible ten years. 

Over the past seven years, John Boyle and his firm have been rewarded with some truly memorable Derby finishes and, given the strength of the current crop of racers, the 2021 renewal should be amongst the very best yet. It was also confirmed that the firm will sponsor the for the same period Champion Stakes.

The Derby is set to commence on the weekend of August 13th and 14th, while the final is down for decision on Saturday, September 18th with the winner picking up a whopping €125,000 for their efforts. All the details and some reaction to the news can be found in the following statement:

***

BoyleSports Extends Sponsorship of Irish Greyhound Derby

Three-Year €1M Commitment Takes Total Sponsored Prize Fund Beyond €3M 

BoyleSports has renewed its sponsorship of the Irish Greyhound Derby with a three-year €1m commitment. The Irish Greyhound Derby is the most prestigious race on the Irish greyhound calendar. The renewed deal will take BoyleSports’ sponsorship of the event to 10 years, with the value of its sponsorship over this time set to exceed €3m.  

The early market with BoyleSports has the Liam Dowling-trained Ballymac Ariel as the 16/1 favourite, with the 2020 Juvenile Derby and recent Select Stakes champion Skywalker Barry at 20/1 alongside Con & Annie Kirby Memorial finalist Explosive Boy, 2020 Juvenile Derby finalist Knight Tornado and Broadstrand Ryan. 

BoyleSports will also be sponsoring the Champion Stakes at Shelbourne Park from 2021-2023. Run over 550 yards, the event traditionally attracts big names with many viewing it as the perfect entrée to the biggest Irish Greyhound competition, the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby. 

Conor Gray, Chief Executive Officer at BoyleSports, said: “BoyleSports is privileged to extend its long-term relationship with the Irish Greyhound Derby. Obviously, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on all sports, including greyhound racing. So we are especially delighted that we can throw our weight behind the sector, that it will know it has a supportive friend in BoyleSports for the foreseeable future.” he continued, “This agreement extends our sponsorship to 10 years and sees the total prize fund over that time go through the €3M mark. There is no doubt we’re going to see another very competitive battle for the top prize this year and now we just can’t wait for the action to start in this year’s BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.” 
Ger Dollard CEO of Rásaíocht Con Éireann commented at the launch:  "RCÉ is delighted with the three-year extension to the excellent partnership between RCÉ and Boylepsorts. It is a hugely positive announcement for the industry guaranteeing a very substantial prize fund for this prestigious competition up to 2023. The Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby is an eagerly anticipated competition with worldwide interest. We very much look forward to hearing the ‘Derby roar’ back at Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium in September". 
KEY DATES 

Entries close Saturday 7th August 

The draw for the opening round of the BoyleSports Greyhound Derby will be made in the Oaks Suite, Shelbourne Park at 11am on Monday, August 9th.   

1st Round -                 Friday 13th & Saturday 14th August 

2nd Round -               Friday 20th & Saturday 21st August 

3rd Round -                Saturday 28th August 

Quarter-Finals -         Saturday 4th September 

Semi-Finals -               Saturday 11th September 

Final -                          Saturday 18th September