Ian Fortune

It was announced in recent hours that 2023 English Derby champion Gaytime Nemo has run his final race.

As always, the Riverside Kennels operation of Graham and Nicky Holland were on the ball on social media, announcing that the brilliant son of Droopys Sydney is to return to his native Cork and rejoin his lucky owner/ breeders, the O’Connell family where he will see out the rest of his days.

Accompanied by a picture of a rather dapper looking Nemo in his English Derby winner’s jacket, there were some lovely words from the Riverside Kennels of their star. They read:

“Just after his fourth birthday, Nemo retires to his home in Cork with his family ❤️
He truly was a once in a lifetime dog for The O’Connell Family who bred and reared him - and all at Riverside.
After recovering from a bad injury at the start of 2023, he was the last member of the team to join the van on the way to Towcester last year.
Throughout the competition he became stronger and stronger. He ran Towcester better than any other track and relished the 500m trip.
Going into the final he truly was the underdog of our team with kennel companions, Swords Rex (who had won every round) and Clona Duke (who had broken the track record twice in the competition) our leading favourites.
But when they both missed their break in one of the biggest races of their career, Nemo took charge and was never a doubt after his phenomenal break.
This year, after a couple setbacks he returned to the track he loved so much, Towcester.
He gave it his all to defend his Derby Crown but was denied his 2024 Derby Final Spot when placing fourth in the Semi-Final and beaten by the now 2024 English Derby Champ, De Lahdedah.
We will never forget the pinnacle of his career on the 1st of July last year …. or his 2024 Quarter Final where we’re still not quite sure how he managed to qualify!
He absolutely loved travelling to England and getting lots of one on one attention. At home, he was sometimes aloof and liked things on his terms but when travelling he gave lots of cuddles.
He was such a character in the kennel who loved his own space with his duvet and pillow, which he ever so rarely liked to destroy!
Such a clever lad who knew exactly where his kennel was and ran back to it (except for when he thought he was going racing or galloping)
He had that certain quirkiness that all Derby Champs have and was very fond of his dinner and treats (and guarding them from any other dogs)
Nemo is already very missed at Riverside Kennels and it’s not going to be quite the same without his barking every morning …”


Their words do a great job in describing the characteristics of Gaytime Nemo.

By all accounts he seemed to be bursting with personality but was also a really top-class tracker. He will be forever remembered for his exploits around Towcester and that faithful night last July.

On that night, more than any other, he showed just what he was capable of. In terms of his achievements on Irish soil, he didn’t win too often. In fact, he was quite lightly raced but often showed glimpses of his great promise.

Ahead of his 2023 English Derby campaign he was available at huge prices but Graham Holland clearly felt he deserved his opportunity. He was fully vindicated.


Showing real pace and determination through the preliminaries, he was primed to produce his best ever run on the night of the final.

Everything went to plan with Nemo belying his odds of 9-1 but dominating on the biggest stage.

Dominating rom start to finish, he provided the O’Connell family with a memory they will never relinquish. He came home three and a half lengths clear to earn his place in history.

Of course, he returned this year after a very light campaign and everything seemed in place for him to go close to defending his crown but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. He was run out of the qualifying places in the closing yards of his semi-final but h can hold his head high.

Few greyhounds win a classic and even fewer win a Derby. Gaytime Nemo did just that and his brilliant final display will live long in the memory. He returns home a classic winner and will no doubt be spoilt rotten. Happy retirement champ.