Ian Fortune

Ireland will have superior numbers in the semi-finals of the Star Sports/ TRC English Derby after thirteen of the raiding party progressed at Towcester on Saturday night but the home team sent out a clear warning that they don’t aim to go down without a fight.

Indeed, both King Memphis and Crafty Shivoo were both brilliant in victory, providing the UK challenge with another huge boost.

From an Irish point of view, the display of The Other Kobe in the opening heat was the star but Grouchos Duke and Ballymac Slick also impressed for team Ireland, while others including De Lahdedah, Ballymac Finn and Boylesports Bob impressed in defeat.


The Other Kobe may have missed the start by his standards but he displayed his many wonderful qualities to emerge a most impressive winner. Despite his slow exit, the sensational Derby winning son of Ballymac best flew into the turn to sit a close second to Clonbrien Treaty.

With the latter steering a middle path, The Other Kobe took charge on the fence before showing his pace and class. Easing away to the third turn, the Graham Holland trained star went on to emerge a comfortable and mighty impressive two and a half length winner over the Ginger McGee trained Hawkfield Blue in 28.77. Sadly, Clonbrien Treat was denied third spot by an advancing Whyaye Man, while Singalong Dolly was never a player before finishing fifth.


Grouchos Duke was Ireland’s second winner in Heat 5. This was all about early speed with John Byrne’s charge making every inch after a fast start from trap two. Edwards was a good second, while Ballymac Gizmo ran on to finish third for Liam Dowling.

Grouchos Duke was a very deserving winner, however. The son of Grangeview Ten emerged almost two lengths clear in 28.98. Sadly, Glengar Martha, Mcneill and Antigua Hawk crashed out after failing to get loose.


Ballymac Slick was the last of the Irish trained winners in Heat 8. Cooliogold set a strong gallop but Ballymac Slick was always too close in second. Finishing at speed, Liam Dowling’s charge powered hi way to the front on the run in to emerge a half length winner in 28.97. Hawkfield Abbie also progressed for Ireland with the Ginger McGee trained bitch finishing just a length and three quarters further back in third.


Ballymac Finn and Boylesports Bob progressed in Heat 2 behind Droopys Pivotel. Neither looked likely to have a say after missing the start but both displayed fine pace and determination to make the frame.

Ballymac Finn flew into the turn to move third before going second as they entered the back straight. That was where he was to stay. In contrast, Boylesports Bob was all at sea at the opening turn and found himself a bad last into the back straight.

Thankfully, Paul Hennessy’s charge displayed big pace to close into the third turn before unleashing a remarkable finish to go third on the run in. Droopys Pivotel won by two lengths from Ballymac Finn in 28.93 with Boylesports Bob another length back in third.


Superfast Gorden was second for Pat Buckley in Heat 4 despite finding traffic on the opening turn. Droopys Doughnut went up fastest to lead on the turn, cutting off Superfast Gorden, who was forced to check wide.

As he cut back into the fence between the opening two bends, Jaytee Etienne was forced to check, effectively ending his chances as he was clipped from behind. Droopys Doughnut went on to win by two and a half lengths in 28.93. Superfast Gorden was a goo second, while Jaytee Etienne was out of luck before finishing fifth.


Of all the Irish on show, none went faster on the clock than De Lahdedah as he failed by just a head to get back on terms with Crafty Shivoo in Heat 6. The latter was simply outstanding as she shot clear to make all but De Lahdedah lost nothing in defeat.

Breaking fast from four, he couldn’t hold Crafty Shivoo into the bend but turned second. Closing to the third turn, he was forced to switch a couple of times with the pair racing the same line. Flying from the final turn, De Lahdedah would fail by just a head in 28.62. Gaytime Nemo also ran well in third, finishing just two and a quarter lengths further adrift.


Heat 7 was quite an eye-opener with King Memphis leaving her rivals standing. These rivals included four Irish trained runners. Ballinabola Ed turned second and did little wrong in a near four length defeat behind the 28.74 winner. In contrast, Swords Rex was far from at his best in third. He was a little luck to hold of those in behind to take third, some five lengths further back. Azurite and Road Exile were out of luck, finishing fifth and sixth.