The Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby continued at Shelbourne Park on Friday evening and there were many brilliant performances but the undoubted star of proceedings was Coolavanny Hoffa as he took off in the opening heat top set the tone.
Heat by heat, there were brilliant performances but none could match that of Coolavanny Hoffa as he produced one of the great displays of early speed ever seen at Shelbourne Park.
Heat 1 - HOFFA GOES BALLISTIC
Anyone that doubted Coolavanny Hoffa’s Derby credentials may have changed their mind after his sensational display in the first of the eight heats.
This was scarcely a contest with the brilliant son of Droopys Sydney and Coolavanny Ella leaving a top class field stranded.
Showing electric pace into the turn, Hoffa quickly moved into pole position to lead the field by upwards of four lengths at the second bend. Wi Can dream initially gave chase but he was bettered by Ballymac Run at the third turn.
Coolavanny Hoffa was ruthless out front. Showing devastating pace, he posted a magnificent 16.80 to the third turn. While he may have come back to his rivals in the closing stages, Coolavanny Hoffa couldn’t have been any more impressive as he saw off Ballymac Run by six lengths in a brilliant, fastest of the Derby, 29.13.
Beach Avenue, who wasn’t in the same parish as the front two at the second turn, came from the back of the field with his traditional massive finish to grab third, just a length behind Ballymac Run.
Heat 2 – INCREDIBLE BOY AS EXPLOSIVE AS EVER
Explosive Boy is an amazing greyhound.
It’s as simple as that and he added another victory in the very best of company to confirm it in Heat 2. Not for the first time in his career, the comments on the card will read fast away, always led.
It doesn’t tell the full story but it’s pretty accurate. Cheryl Sutcliffe’s son of Good News and Delightful Girl had to be on his toes in the opening yards and that exactly what he was. Flashing from the inside box, he led One Time Only into the turn.
In fact, as they entered the back straight, the field were in racecard order. Importantly, Explosive Boy, who seems to be getting stronger with age, was in the driving seat. One Time Only did show massive pace and determination to challenge on the outside of Explosive Boy into the third turn but, once failing to get to the front, he faded on the run in.
Droopys Gravy ran a big back straight to get into a challenging position, while magical Kuba stayed on strongly but so too did Explosive Boy. The reigning Dog of the Year powered home to record win number twenty three of his illustrious career, seeing off his kennel companion Magical Kuba by three lengths in 29.40. Droopys Gravy qualified in third, a further length back in third.
Heat 3 – CALLAWAY MORE PRO THAN AM
The Owen McKenna trained Callaway Pro Am has quickly developed into one of the best in the business.
That was certainly evident in Heat 3 as he saw off a top class field which included a classic winner, a Grade 1 winner and two track record holders.
The early exchanges were to prove decisive. Bockos Budsit broke fast from trap five to predictably challenge for the early lead but Callaway Pro Am was up to the challenge. Showing tremendous early speed, the son of Skywalker Farloe and Bottle Of Banter actually held and headed Bockos Budsit into the turn.
Once doing so, Denis Murphy’s talented youngster never looked under a moment’s pressure. In contrast to the front two, both Singalong Sally and Sentimental Lad were tardy at traps and were always struggling to get involved.
Sentimental Lad, in particular, was very unlucky. He was left in traps and ran on strongly only to lose out on a place in the third round by a short head.
This was all about Callaway Pro Am, however. Bockos Budsit did all he could to stay on the coat tails of the leader and ran well in second but Callaway Pro Am emerged a decisive two length winner in a fast 29.33.
At his current trajectory, it’s safe to suggest the winner is destined for big things. Bockos Budsit was second with Hanover Phantom running a fine race to hold Sentimental Lad, just a neck behind the runner-up, in third.
Heat 4 – MAGIC MAGICO
Romeo Magico may have charged the traps and mistimed his start for the second week running but, unlike seven days earlier, he turned close to the leaders, allowing him show his exceptional back straight pace.
For the second week running Benalmadena Roxy set the pace up the fence but she was always under pressure once Scooby Duchess and Romeo Magico turned behind her. Romeo Magico seemed set to go second on the turn but was squeezed for room and had to settle for third.
It was a different story when they entered the back straight, however. Once finding room to race, David Firmager’s brilliant son of Magical Bale and Fabulous Artist started to move through the gears. Moving second at halfway, the English Derby champion cruised past Benalmadena Roxy as they hit the third turn. It was a most impressive manoeuvre and one that allowed the Graham Holland trained superstar to put the result beyond doubt. Moving with fluency to the line, Romeo Magico emerged a comfortable five length winner over the staying on Cushie Concorde in 29.54. Scooby Duchess was just a length further back in third.
Heat 5 – JET WINS A THRILLER
Mustang Jet had to win Heat 5 twice to justify favouritism for Paul Horig, Sean Bourke and Dolores Ruth but that’s exactly what he did.
One of the leaders after a slick exit from six, he was challenged into the turn by Kilgraney Sydney.
For the next three hundred yards or so, the pair went toe to toe. But Mustang Jet finally saw off his rivals at the third turn and seemed certain to go on to a comfortable success once doing so. Crafty Kokoro had other ideas.
Despite being forced to check her stride when a relatively close fourth at the third turn, the Corn Cuchulainn winner got going again to launch a massive challenge on the run in. Mustang Jet was not going to be denied, however. The son of Droopys Jet and Mustang Kay Cee ran right to the line to hold his advancing rival by a head in 29.72. Droopys Rocker ran a huge race in third, giving the impression he could have a big future.
Heat 6 – MACHO HAS REASON TO BE PROUD
Macho Pride returned to winning ways in Heat 6, containing the late charge of Droopys Nice One to confirm the promise he showed in the opening round.
The Under The Stars Syndicate owned son of Good News and Sylvias Chloe had run an encouraging race in defeat six days earlier and those that backed the Kieran Lynch trained star were handsomely rewarded.
Despite taking a hefty bump in the early yards, Macho Pride forced his way to the front into the corner. It was a decisive manoeuvre although Droopys Nice One did make him work hard for victory. The hot favourite from an ideal draw in the stripes, Droopys Nice One didn’t make one of her better starts but tracked well to move second before the third turn.
At this point she seemed the more likely winner but Macho Pride wasn’t done with yet. He drifted wide off the final turn, forcing Droopys Nice One to switch sides and this made the difference. Droopys Nice One continued to close but Macho Pride hit the line with a head to spare in 29.79. Killeacle Phelps, for the second week running, flashed home to grab third, just three parts of a length adrift.
Heat 7 – CRYSTAL SHINES
Bockos Crystal continued her rise to the top with a superb display of pace and determination in Heat 7, in turn completing a wonderful double for Graham Holland.
Bev Lochead’s bitch missed the start last week but was much sharpen on this occasion and that set her up for a fine success.
Priceless Jet actually broke fastest but Bockos Crystal had too much early dash. Flying up the centre of the track, the daughter of Droopy Sydney and Vigorous Hilary took control into the turn and was always going to take some stopping once dictating the pace into the back straight.
Priceless Jet got the better of Iso Fantastic to give chase down the back straight and looked a serious threat once doing so. Bockos Crystal was only a length in front on the third turn but he is very strong and she kicked again off the final bend to contain Priceless Jet.
Bockos Crystal took the verdict by a length from Priceless Jet in 29.65. Iso Fantastic continued his fine run of form to finish just three lengths away in third.
Heat 8 – STEFANS ROCKS HIS RIVALS AGAIN
He may have been sent off a 14-1 chance but Stefans Rock was a thoroughly deserving winner of the final heat of the night for Shea Campbell as he maintained his unbeaten record in the classic.
Good Cody was the hot favourite after posting the fastest time of the opening round but luck was not on his side. Immediately squeezed after trap rise, he was amongst dogs on the bend where he lost his footing to take a tumble. He was back up on his feet straight away but his Derby campaign was over.
Stefans Rock didn’t have the clearest of passages either but did show great determination into the corner to hold Galloping Sydney into the second bend. Once going to the front, one suspected he was always going to come home in front.
Galloping Sydney did all he could to stay with the leader but ran out of steam in the latter stages. Instead, Skywalker Barry and Bulletfromagun came through in the final fifty yards to take second and third. Stefans Rock was too good on this occasion, however.
The son of Ballymac Vic and Avongate Nova went on to record a two length success in 29.77. Skywalker Barry was three parts of a length to the good over Bulletfromagun in third.