Ian Fortune

The majority of Ireland’s greyhound racing enthusiasts turned into amateur meteorologists on Saturday as they spent the day staring at the sky hoping for the biblical rain to subside ahead of the action at Shelbourne Park.

The gods were clearly paying attention as an hour ahead of the racing, the rain ceased and it allowed or yet another incredible night at Shelbourne Park. The third round of the Derby was expected to provide some shocks, a couple of brilliant performances and exceptional racing throughout and it certainly delivered. Vincenzo set the standard but there was so much to talk about in each of the eight heats.  


Tullig Raven provided the perfect start to proceedings for Pat Buckley by showing fine pace throughout to emerge a good winner over Explosive Boy in the opening heat.

This was a thoroughly professional display from the son of Droopys Sydney and Hail Cleopatra as he broke smartly before going up straight to lead the field from the opening strides.

Explosive Boy immediately emerged as the main threat but he was always going to struggle to bridge the gap top the leader. Droopys Nice One moved third at the third turn and stayed on to qualify but this was all about the front two.

Tullig Raven, owned by the Foots In The Door Syndicate, maintained a strong gallop to the line to run out a comfortable and most impressive length and a half scorer over a rallying Explosive Boy in 29.56. There was a further two and a half length gap to Droopys Nice One in third.


Romeo Magico remains on target to become the first greyhound in history to complete the English/ Irish Derby double in the same year following a brilliant display in Heat 2.

A line of greyhounds went to the turn with very little separating the sextet, although Ballymac Finn held a narrow advantage.

Importantly, however, Romeo Magico didn’t make a bad start and this meant he was close enough to force his way into a challenging position on the corner along the fence. As hard as Ballymac Finn tried, he couldn’t close the door on Romeo Magico with the latter nudging his way up the inside to keep the gap open.

This proved to be crucial as, when the entered the back straight, Romeo Magico had room to make his move. In contrast, Stefans Rocket was forced to run off the bend, ending the hopes of both Magical Kuba and Mustang Jet.

The race was now on up front with Romeo Magico now poised to challenge Ballymac Finn. Showing his incredible, customary back straight pace, David Firmager’s son of Magical Bale and Fabulous Artist bettered Ballymac Finn into the third turn.

Once going to the front, the race was over as a contest. Romeo Magico stayed on strongly to beat Ballymac Finn by two and a half lengths in 29.59. The strong running Killeacle Phelps was best of the rest, a further length and a half adrift.


Bryan and Kathleen Murphy’s Barefoot Supremo was expected to start a warm favourite for Heat 3 but, after strong support, he was joined at the head of the market by Hanover Phantom.

The latter could never land a blow, however.

Instead, the main threat to Barefoot Supremo emerged in the form of the Brendan Maunsell trained, and aptly named, Bulletfromagun. The latter shot from the outside box to set the pace into the turn but he was immediately under threat as the Paul Hennessy Barefoot Supremo disputed second spot into the turn alongside Macho Pride.

Macho Pride forced Barefoot Supremo wide at the turn but the son of Ballymac Best and Portumna West quickly recovered and, once doing so, always had the leader in his sights. Barefoot Supremo moved like a supercar down the back straight to ease past Macho Pride at halfway. It was now a case of when, rather than if, barefoot Supremo would strike the front.

He steadied himself between the last two bends before slipping through on the fence off the final turn. Staying on well, Barefoot Supremo emerged a tremendous three parts of a length winner over Bulletfromagun in 29.66. After showing big pace into the third turn, Savana Hero moved third where he would remain. He was a further five lengths adrift at the line.       


Callaway Masters continued his incredible run of form to emerge a good winner of Heat 5 for Denis Murphy and Owen McKenna.

In what looked one of the more open contests of the round, there was very little separating the field into the turn with Scooby Duchess leading in the early yards.

Callway Masters was always prominent while Hoodoo Brown flew up the fence to get involved. It led to Hoodoo Brown and Scooby Duchess bumping. Callaway Masters took a step wide and rode a bump to take over at the head of affairs. Behind the front two, Clona Blu, Cushie Concorde and Priceless jet were all involved in some scrimmaging.

Suddenly, the race was at the mercy of Callaway Masters. The strong running son of was clear, although supporters of the incredibly fast Hoodoo brown would have been holding out some hope when he moved second.

It wasn’t to be, however. Callaway Masters maintained a relentless gallop throughout to eventually see off Hoodoo Brown by a length in 29.86. Clona Blu stayed on well to secure the third qualifying spot, some two and a half length adrift.


Crafty Kokoro is amazing. Of that there is no doubt but she was simply otherworldly in Heat 5 as she came from the tail of the field to lead in the dying strides.

Born Warrior was favourite despite drifting in the market but he seemed set to dominate when showing blistering early speed to lead the field into the back straight.

Cryptopunk was next with Iso Fantastic third. While both the second and third are very talented, neither seemed likely to get to Born Warrior. Instead, the three big finishers Storys Peewee, Beach Avenue and Crafty Kokoro attempted to get into position.

Despite sitting a mile off the pace in last place at halfway, Crafty Kokoro began to shift through the gears. Staying on the fence, she started to close into the third turn at which point she steadied herself.

It was only a brief pause of in her momentum. The next 150yds were scarcely believable. Born Warrior drifted wide off the final turn, as he always does, but Crafty Kokoro was now advancing like a bullet train along the fence.

Still fourth as they entered the home straight, Crafty Kokoro found herself with room on the inside of the track and she took full advantage. Displaying amazing power and pace, Peter Divilly’s brilliant daughter of Droopys Sydney and Cockyorconfident flew up the straight to lead inside the final twenty yards for a thrilling length victory over Born Warrior in 29.65. Born Warrior lost nothing in defeat while Cryptopunk also ran a huge race to finish just a half length back in third.  


Ahead of Saturday’s action, so much of the focus was on Heat 6 which promised to provide one of the great races of the round and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Coolavanny Hoffa and Ballinabola Ed were the big two in the market but Callaway Pro Am clearly hadn’t read the script as he continued his incredible rate of progression to win in a thriller.

Denis Murphy’s son of Skywalker Farloe and Bottle Of Banter was again sharp at traps and contest the lead into the turn alongside Coolavanny Hoffa. Behind the front two, both Maries Wedding and Ballinabola Ed were disputing third with the latter getting the better of the argument until he was hampered on the bend by Droops Rocker.

It effectively ended the Derby hops of Ballinabola Ed. It was now a straight shoot out, or so it seemed between, Coolavanny Hoffa and Callaway Pro Am. The pair went nose to nose down the back straight with neither giving an inch. They continued to dispute the lead on the third turn where they seemed to be rubbing shoulders.

It clearly cost both momentum as Maries Wedding closed up very quickly between the last two bends. It was now a three dog-affair with each holding strong claims as they turned for home. Callaway Pro Am wasn’t going to be denied, however. With the trio coming of the final turn in a line, the Owen McKenna trained Callaway Pro Am put his ears back and drove for the line. In a truly wonderful finish, Callaway Pro Am got the better of Coolavanny Hoffa and Maries Wedding by a head and a short head in 29.76. Ballinabola Ed could never recover and became the highest rated casualty of the Derby this far in fourth.


With a vacant box on his immediate inner following the withdrawal of Athlacca Zette, Bockos Budsit was understandably installed a hot favourite for Heat 7.

From an ideal draw in the stripes, the race of Champions winner looked right at home.

Flashing from boxes, he quickly established a comfortable lead. Entering the back straight with two and a half lengths in hand on Ballymac Run, he was always travelling like a winner. Ballymac Run continued to give chase down the back straight but Bockos Budsit maintained every inch of his lead to the third turn. 

By this point in proceedings, Ballymac Run had thrown everything into her chase and she began to tire. This allowed the staying on Annagh Bail to come through for second but Bockos Budsit emerged one of the most straightforward winners of the night.

Trained by Graham Holland for Bockos Budsit, the son of Laughil Blake and Matts Monica was never under a moment’s pressure as he ran out a ready two and a half length scorer in 29.59. Skywalker Barry also stayed on well for third, a further length adrift. 


The Pat Guilfoyle trained Vincenzo produced a wonderful display to set the standard in the third round, making virtually all in the final heat. Cheryl Sutcliffe’s brilliant son of Droopys Sydney and Alien Nipper was electric at traps and was quickly in the driving seat.

Fernandes also got racing earlier and pushed Vincenzo hard in the early yards and down the back straight. Vincenzo had to be on his toes down the back straight with both Fernandes and the eye-catching Droopys Gravy both motoring into the third turn. 

Droopys Gravy, in particular, flew into the third turn and this saw both himself and Fernandes get tangled. Vincenzo remained in front but he now had daylight. It scarcely mattered as Vincenzo absolutely flew home to run out a very comfortable scorer by five lengths in 29.49. Gortkelly Nestor was in the right place at the right time to move second around the last two bends and that’s where he remained. Droopys Gravy recovered well from the third bend traffic to finish two length further adrift in third.