The Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby got underway at Shelbourne Park on Friday night and the action was nothing short of sensational.
There was a little bit of everything on offer including big finishes, flying early paced displays, shocks, odds-on winners and, most importantly, some hugely competitive racing.
Honour of gong fastest went to Good Cody as he came home in front in a brilliant 29.25, while Peter Cronin was the trainer to follow as he recorded a tremendous treble.
Heat 1 - FLIES IN OPENER
As predicted, Mustang Jet made the perfect start to the Derby when racing to a facile success for handler Dolores Ruth and owners Sean Bourke and Paul Horig.
Toolmaker Wilde did edge inwards from trap five in the early yards and this left room for Mustang Jet to get into top stride.
It was needed, however, as there was a line of dogs on his inner. Mustang Jet displayed great determination to drive the corner, causing some crowding in the middle of the track. It meant that the son of Droopys Jet and Mustang Kay Cee entered the back straight with a clear advantage over Cryptopunk and increased his lead to the third turn.
Own Spice stayed on well to grab second on the line but Mustang Jet was too good for his rivals as he emerged a facile four and a half length winner in 29.43. Cryptopunk was a half lengths further adrift in third, while fourth went to Toolmaker Wilde.
Heat 2 – RAVEN TOO HOT TO HANDLE
Tullig raven may have been having just his fourth career outings but he couldn’t have been any more impressive in Heat 2 as he shook off an early bump to make virtually every yard.
The Pat Buckley trained son of Droopys Sydney and Hail Cleopatra broke fastest and rode a bump from Kingdom Bound in the opening strides to lead into the turn.
Once doing so he displayed real power to ease right away in the second half of the contest. Owned by the Foots In The Door Syndicate, Tullig Raven raced clear of his rivals on the run in to eventually cross the line eight lengths clear in a very quick 29.38. Kingdom Bound was second with Flying Honours staying on strongly a length adrift in third. Sign On Rocket was fourth.
Heat 3 – TED BACK TO WINNING WAYS
The Peter Cronin trained All About Ted (Kinloch Brae/ Enable) may have been a distant second in the betting to One Time Only but the 2021 Derby finalist returned to winning ways with an encouraging display of front running.
One Time Only came away well from trap three but immediately found traffic as he edged inwards. This left Willie Rigney and Richard Brown’s All About Ted to lead the field on the outside of the track. Clampett Danny initially gave chase but One Time Only moved with real purpose down the back straight to go second. All About Ted wasn’t getting away at the head of affairs but One Time Only was never going to pick him up.
Instead, Killeacle Phelps came with a massive run to grab second in the closing yards but All About Ted stayed on for a confidence-building length and a half victory in 29.73. One Time Only was two lengths away in third with Clampett Danny fourth.
Heat 4 – ROCKET GETS LOOSE FOR SHEA
Shea Campbell’s Stefans Rocket may have been a big price to win heat four but there was nothing lucky about his success as bettered oaks champion Raha Mofo on the turn before going on to dominate thereafter.
Raha Mofo flew from five and seemed likely to lead the field around the corner but as she wobbled on the bend, the rapidly advancing Stefans Rocket flew up her inner to assume control. Running a tremendous corner, Stefans Rocket opened up what was to be a decisive advantage.
Ringabella Boy did show pace to challenge in second but he ultimately couldn’t contain Savana hero, who after a slow start, recovered to go second at the third turn. Stefans Rocket was on his way to a fine victory, however. The son of Ballymac Vic and Avongate Nova went on to see off Savana Hero by four lengths in 29.62. Ringabella Boy was third, two lengths further back. Raha Mofo failed by just a head to claim automatic qualification although there is a strong chance she will progress.
Heat 5 – ANNIE COMPLETES AN ALL ABOUT DOUBLE
Part Blake was a red-hot favourite to come home in front in Heat 5 and all seemed to be going to plan when he came away racing to lead into the turn.
All About Annie (All About Ya/ Enable) had other ideas, however, as she never let the leader get too far clear before storming home to complete a quick double for Willie Rigney and Peter Cronin.
Scooby Duchess actually provided the opposition to Part Blake in the early stages, actually slipping up the leader’s inside around the opening two bends. Part Blake asserted once again as they entered the back straight but he could never shake off his pursuers, Scooby Duchess and All About Annie.
It was clear as they turned for home that Part Blake was running on empty. Scooby Duchess began to make her move on the inside of the track, while All About Annie stayed wide to launch her challenge. Predictably, All About Annie, who stays further than 550yds, finished fastest and came storming home to win by two lengths from Scooby Duchess with Part Blake another half length back in third. The winner, who is a half-sister to All About Ted, stopped the clock in 29.75. Hanover Phantom was a close fourth and seems likely to progress as a fastest fourth place finisher.
Heat 6 – WELL DONE TO WELL MET
There was plenty happening in Heat 6 with the big two in the market, Romeo Magico and The Other Kobe both fluffing their lines at traps.
The latter, in particular, had no chance when stumbling out and landing on his belly.
English Derby Romeo Magico also missed the start to race fifth into the bend but recovered wonderfully well to qualify in a close second. But Laurence Jones had Well Met (Ballymac Best/ Corduff Flame) well-primed and he displayed plenty of pace to come home in front.
Gortkelly Nestor went up fastest from trap six but Well Met slipped up his inside on the corner to lead as they enter the back straight. Romeo Magico moved up the gears down the back straight, cutting through the pack to go second on the third turn.
Well Met continued to stride on and he comfortably contained the best efforts of Romeo Magico to emerge a three parts of a length winner in 29.77. Patient Crusader ran well to grab third, two lengths away. Gortkelly Nestor was fourth.
Heat 7 – BRILLIANT CODY GOES FAST
The first three in Heat 7 all ran exceptionally well but the plaudits will rightly go to the winner Good Cody as he posted a fastest of the night 29.25.
The Pat Guilfoyle trained star, who won both the Irish Sprint Cup and Kingdom Derby in 2021, displayed awesome early speed to dictate from the start but also enough stamina to hold the persistent challenge of Ballymac Finn and Priceless Jet.
Two and a half lengths clear into the back straight, Good Cody was always in control but Ballymac Finn really put it up to him in the second half of the contest. Closing to within two lengths around the last two bends, Ballymac Finn was pressing Good Cody as they turned for home but the leader was in no mood to surrender his advantage.
Staying on well, Good Cody proved that he stays the 550yd trip by containing Ballymac Finn by a length. Priceless Jet ran a very encouraging race in third, just two and a half lengths adrift. There was a further four length gap to Conamara in fourth.
Heat 8 – CALVN OBLIGES FOR ODDS-ON PUNTERS
Coolavanny Calvn became the fourth odds-on winner on the card when overcoming a tardy start to win Heat 8 for Basil and Bernadette Holian.
Bulletfromagun lived up to his name when flying from the outside box but couldn’t contain the early speed of Coolavanny Calvn who flew up the fence to challenge on the corner.
Moving to the front before the second bend, the Michael O’Donovan trained Coolavanny Calvn was always in control thereafter although Bulletfromagun did run a big race in defeat, never letting the leader get away on him.
At the finish, Coolavanny Calvn (Droopys Sydney/Coolavanny Royce) had two lengths to spare in 29.59. Da Bold Freddie ran an encouraging race in third, finishing just two lengths further adrift. Skywalker Barry was fourth.
Heat 9 – A HAT TRICK FOR PETER
Peter Cronin certainly had a night to remember. Not only did All About Ted and All About Annie win, but Decs Guinness (Droopys Sydney/ Coolaavanny Ella) also came home in front in Heat 9, completing a hat trick for Cronin.
Incredibly, all three wore the stripes of six.
Declan Landy’s Decs Guinness displayed his trademark early speed to clear the field on the outside of the track but he was under pressure throughout with Kilcolgan Zeus slipping around second.
As expected, Kilcolgan Zeus began to bridge the gap when they hit the third turn and seemed certain to come through and win when Decs Guinness swung wide off the final turn but the long-time leader had other plans.
Despite the best efforts of Kilcolgan Zeus, Decs Guinness rallied in the closing yards to contain his rival by a short head in 29.78. Emilys Jet, a kennel companion to the winner, was three lengths away in third with Ringthemoon fourth.
Heat 10 – HOFFA STRUTTS HIS STUFF
One of the joint favourites with sponsors Boylesports ahead of the start of the Derby, Coolavanny Hoffa did little to disappoint his many admirers in Heat 10.
Showing exceptional early speed, the Michael O’Donovan trained son of Droopys Sydney and Coolavanny Ella, who is a brother to the previous heat winner Decs Guinness, was utterly dominant.
Showing stunning early speed, Mark O’Donovan’s star built a near five length lead into the bend. Once doing so the June ’10 whelp was never under any pressure as he coasted home a facile six length winner in 29.56.
Carrauntoohil, despite running off the opening turn, was second throughout, finishing six lengths adrift. Storys Cashout was just a head back in third. Millridge Bryce was fourth.
Heat 11 – NICE RUN FROM DROOOPYS
Droopy Nice One and Kildare served up a tremendous finish to Heat 11 with the former just collaring her rival on the line.
Kildare was having his first start since running up the English Derby and he looked short of a run as he was piked up late.
Despite edging inwards in the opening strides, Kildare quickly straightened up to challenge the fast-starting Disco Pants into the corner. Running a wonderful bend, Kildare moved to the front and attempted to put the race beyond the grasp of his rivals.
Droopys Nice One wasn’t to be shaken, however. The Murt Leahy trained star who was a close third into the turn moved second early on the back straight and set her sights on the leader. There was three lengths between the pair at halfway but it was obvious they were going to battle out the finish.
As they swung for home, it was clear Droopys Nice One was closing. John Coleman’s daughter of Droopys Sydney and Droopys Dance was motoring and she powered up the straight to deny Kildare in a desperate finish. Droopys Nice One took the verdict by a head in 29.67. Disco Pants was two lengths adrift in third with Ballymac Drama fourth.
Heat 12 – ROXY ROLLS IN
Benalmadena Roxy has long been a talented performer and she ran well to claim the penultimate heat on the card or Stephen Pennel and Kevin Loughnane.
Ardfert Josie shot from trap three to lead early but Benalmadena Roxy shot up her inside on the corner to take charge.
Irelands Own pressed her down the back straight but Benalmadena Roxy was always containing that rival. Both Barefoot Supreme and Ballymore Border, who dominated the betting, began to close but Benalmadena Roxy I always a tough nut to crack when on the bunny.
The daughter of Dorotas Woo Hoo and Cabra Roxy maintained a strong gallop to the line to see off the fast-finishing Barefoot Supremo by a length and a half in 29.97. Irelands Own was just a short had away in third and Ballymore Border another half lengths back.
Heat 13 – LIFE’S A BEACH
There was plenty happening in the final heat as warm favourite Swords Rex stumbled slightly at traps before finishing traffic.
It left the contest wide open but ultimately, the old warrior that is Beach Avenue was too close to the pace.
As you would expect, the Paul Hennessy trained Beach Avenue came with a withering run in the second half of the contest to claim the seventeenth victory of his long illustrious career. The reserve Dromrich Bula led the field into the corner from trap one and held up both Cu Mochua and Fernandes in the process.
Fernandes mastered the early pace setter at halfway and, for a brief moment, seemed a likely winner. But Beach Avenue was now clear of the back markers and motoring in third. Most knew what was going to happen. As strong as Fernandes is, Beach Avenue is the biggest finisher in the business and he flew into the third turn to sit on the heels of the leader.
Turning for home, Beach Avenue switched wide before turning on the afterburners. Pat Healy’s brilliant son of Laughil Blake and Cats Belle flew up the straight to collar Fernandes before going on to score by a length in 29.71. Cu Mochua ran on well to collar Swords Rex on the line for third.