Ian Fortune

Things started to get really serious in the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as the second round of the classic came to a dramatic conclusion.

There were some superb performances but also a number of big-name casualties.

Ballinabola Ed was fastest on the clock as he justified his lofty position in the outright market but there were many brilliant displays to reflect upon.


The first of Saturday’s heats would have been fitting of a Derby semi-final with all six of the competitors amongst Ireland’s fastest.

It was clear that at least one of the more fancied runners would exit the competition and, ultimately, they turned out to be Kildare, Twoinarow and Hello Hammond.

Instead, Born Warrior, owned by the Whatever You Like Syndicate, produced a massive run out front to come home in front of a gallant Maris Wedding and an eye-catching Barefoot Supremo. The Jennifer O’Donnell trained Born Warrior was fluent at trap rise and quickly moved to the front.

Maries Wedding was also fast into stride and sat a close second into the turn. In contrast, Kildare and Twoinarow were tardy at boxes and were always struggling to land a blow.

Born Warrior ran a tremendous bend to maintain and increase his lead into the back straight but Maries Wedding was not to be shaken off. Barefoot Supremo, after a better start than normal, shipped a bump on the corner, but recovered well to move third down the back straight, passing Twoinarow and Kildare in the process.

Born Warrior was still in front, however, and despite running wide at the final bend, the son of Ballymac Best and Mountaylor Queen went on to hold the rallying Maries Wedding by three parts of a length in 29.46. It was a big run by the first and second home, while Barefoot Supremo also ran a massive race to finish just a length adrift in third. 


After returning to winning ways eight days earlier, All About Ted made it two wins on the spin in Heat 10 as he cleared the field in the early yards before comfortably holding the staying on Storys Cashout in 29.61.

The peter Cronin trained Derby finalist was sharpest in the opening exchanges, although he was aided by some crowding on the inside of the track. Storys Cashout emerged in second at the bend but was never close enough to really worry the leader. All About Ted, owned by Willie Rigney and Richard Browne, proceeded to cross the line two lengths clear. Storys Cashout was second with Patient Crusader another two and a half lengths adrift in third.


Vincenzo (Droopys Sydney/ Alien Nipper) may have been a red-hot favourite to win Heat 11 but he had to knuckle down to secure his expected success with top female Droopys Nextone pushing him hard throughout.

The pair actually raced into the turn side by side at which point they bumped.

Despite being forced wide, Cheryl Sutcliffe’s Vincenzo maintained his momentum and hit the front before the second turn. It was the decisive moment in the contest. As strong as Droopys Nextone is, she was always going to struggle to bridge the gap.

Droopys Nextone did close into the third turn but the Pat Guilfoyle trained Vincenzo maintained a powerful gallop throughout to eventually come home with a comfortable length to spare over Droopys Nextone in 29.45. Ringabella Boy ran a fine race in third, finishing just three lengths behind the runner-up.


For much of Heat 12 it seemed certain that Cryptopunk would score for the Derby winning combination of Simon Taylor and Graham Holland but the Murt Leahy trained Storys Peewee (Over Limit/ Kittys Box) had other ideas.

Cryptopunk shot from the inside box to comfortably lead the field into the bend and set sail for home as they entered the far side. Storys Peewee was actually second into the turn but allowed Carrauntoohil up his inner at this point.

He remained close enough to have a big say, however. Showing fine pace, he joined Carrauntoohil at halfway to dispute second and edged on from that rival at the third turn. Cryptopunk maintained a clear advantage but it was clear that Storys Peewee was moving with real fluency and purpose when he finally bettered Carrauntoohil.

In a desperate finish, Gavin O’Mahoney’s Storys Peewee made up eye-catching ground in the final yards to collar the long-time leader on the line. The pair were separated by just a short head in 29.54, with Kilgraney Clang also showing fine pace to sit three lengths away in third.   


After his heroics in the opening round, Brendan Murphy’s Ballinabola Ed produced a more straightforward success in Heat 13 although he was kept honest throughout by Gortkelly Nestor.

It was the latter who started fastest in the stripes but the Pat Buckley trained Ballinabola Ed was far faster at boxes than seven days earlier and he quickly moved through the gears to lead on the corner.

Most would have expected the red-hot favourite to race right away from Gortkelly Nestor but that wasn’t the case. Showing the same sort of pace that saw him reach the Derby semi-finals in 2021, Gortkelly Nestor stayed relatively close to Ballinabola Ed.

In fact, for a brief moment on the third turn it looked like he might be starting to close but odds-on backers had nothing to fear. Maintaining his fluent gallop to the line, Ballinabola Ed (Confident Rankin/ Dolls Lady) emerged a brilliant two length winner in a fastest of the night 29.27.

Gortkelly Nestor ran a remarkable race in second, while exciting puppy Tullig Raven was five lengths further adrift in third. 


A week after coming in for floods of support in the opening round when finishing second, Annagh Bailey emerged a tremendous winner of Heat 14 for Rachel Wheeler.

Dan and Peter Stackpoole’s son of Droopys Sydney and Bellmore Fantasy was prominent into the corner but was forced wide at this point by Irelands Own, who moved to the front.  

The favourite was Bobsleigh Dream but she carried no luck in running, finding traffic on more than one occasion. Irelands Own continued to lead the field passing halfway but Annagh Bailey was readying himself for a challenge.

That challenge came into the third turn with the September ’20 whelp moving up on the shoulder of the leader before charging to the front. Annagh Bailey quickly grabbed a decisive lead and he went on to score by two lengths in 29.64. Oakfront Cadet, who was last of the field into the third bend, ran on at sped to grab second on the line, while Athlacca Zette’s Derby journey continued as he finished a neck adrift in third.  


As the second fastest qualifier from the opening round, Ballymac Finn was entitled to start favourite in the five-dog penultimate heat and he certainly didn’t disappoint.

This was the display of a greyhound with serious Derby claims.

Making a flying start from trap one, Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Finn quickly opened a clear advantage to have matters well in hand as early as the second bend. Fernandes gave chase but couldn’t land a glove on the leader.

Instead, it was his kennel companion Hoodoo Brown that showed huge pace from the second turn and home that came through for second. Ballymac Finn was in a league of his own, however. The well bred son of Droopys Sydney and Ballymac Petsy, who won’t turn two until November, emerged a very impressive scorer by three lengths in 29.36. Hoodoo Brown was second with Fernandes another length back in third.     


After the success of Callaway Pro Am some twenty four hours earlier, Callaway Master completed a wonderful double for Denis Murphy and Owen McKenna in the final heat of the round.

From what seemed an ideal draw on the fence, the in-form son of Droopys Sydney and Callaway Razl produced a thoroughly professional display.

Breaking smartly, Callaway Master made full use of his inside draw to lead Clampett Danny and Savana hero into the turn. And staying tight to the fence, he increased his advantage to the second bend.

Savana hero soon moved second but was never going to get to the leader who has recent winning form over both 575 and 600yds. As you would expect, Callaway Masters ran right to the line to beat a running on Clona Blu by three lengths in 29.61.



There were five wonderful performances on the undercard including a couple of massive runs from off the pace by Famous Eight and Pablo Escobark.

Famous Eight, owned by the Colrose Syndicate, was came from out of the clouds in the A1 ninth race over 575yds.

A bad last in the opening half of the contest, the Paul Matthews trained son of Droopys Cain and Kilgowan Kiwi came with a withering run in the latter stages to collar Townview Syd to win by a had in 31.21. 


Pablo Escobark wasn’t quite as far behind in the eleventh race but his run from halfway was no less impressive.

Paradise Nikibel ran a big race out front to make most of the running but Pablo Escobark was due a winning turn in what was his twelfth career outing.

Trained by Karol Ramsbottom for the Glamdog Millionaires Syndicate, Pablo Escobark was fourth into the corner but started to shift through the gears as they entered the back. The son of Droopys Noah and Lemon Hazel flew into second by the third turn and proceeded to fly up the straight to beat the long-time leader by a length in 29.54.  


Swords Rex was a 1-3 favourite to win the finale but after slow start he could never land a telling blow.

In contrast, the ever-consistent Lynchy Boy flashed from trap five and quickly put his stamp on the contest.

Liosgarbh Lila ran a huge race in defeat and did close in the second half of the contest but Lynchy Boy always seemed to have matters in hand. Trained by Paraic Campion for TJ Campion, the son of Confident Rankin and Boozed Bubble went on to score by a length in 28.37 from the progressive Liosgarbh Lila.


David Firmager’s Romeo On Fire (Droopys Jet/ Rushmoorbeatrice) returned to form in the penultimate race to claim win number sixteen of his career.

Cali Smurph went up fast to hold a narrow lead into the turn but Romeo On Fire moved to the front as they hit the second bend.

Once going to the front, nothing ever looked like getting to the Graham Holland trained speedster. Courtmac Duffy did show plenty of pace to go second but could get no closer. Romeo On Fire eased on to score by two lengths in 28.48.  


Insomnia doubled his career tally in the tenth race although he was forced to work hard by Blakemount Lotto, who set a strong pace.

Javier Jarne’s Insomnia was second into the turn and joined Blakemount Lotto on the third turn.

The latter rallied to go back to the front at the final urn but Insomnia wasn’t going to be denied. The Pat Buckley trained son of Vulturi and Dolcino Rose stuck his neck out on the run in to emerge a length scorer in 28.69.