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BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby News

VIDEO: 2020 BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY

Ian Fortune and Kevin Hennessy look back on the 2020 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Final

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NEWINN TAYLOR JOINS THE GREATS

Newinn Taylor confirmed his standing as one of the great greyhounds of recent times with an incredible display of pace, class and pure determination to win the 2020 Boylesports Irish Greyhound at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.

There was no crowd and no Derby roar but somehow there was a real sense of occasion about the night. The race itself was an incredible spectacle and offered up so many talking points including the deflating news that Pestana picked up an injury at the opening turn after finding bad traffic problems.

Thankfully, initial reports suggested he will be operated on and should be back on his feet in the future. For Des Grace and Owen McKenna it was a gut-wrenching blow. Their pride and joy, who had captured the imagination of the greyhound racing world, has likely and very sadly run his last race.  

At the presentation of trophies after Newinn Taylor won the 2020 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby. L-R: Conor Grey CEO BoyleSports, owner Simon Taylor, Rachel Holland trainer and Graham Holland.                            Pic: Imelda Grauer

AN UNPREDICTABLE SPORT

But the evening belonged to Newinn Taylor, Simon Taylor, Graham Holland and the ever-unpredictable nature of greyhound racing.

The vast majority of previews (mine included) suggested that the principals would have a straight shootout into the corner with the winner being the one that managed to lead into the back straight.

In many ways that would have been accurate but it would have failed to capture the level of excitement into the opening turn as both Ballymac Wild and Ballymac Cooper attempted to crash the party.

It was surprising to see Pestana actually dislodge Newinn Taylor as favourite with Owen McKenna’s charge going to traps an 11-8 chance. Newinn Taylor, in contrast, was a drifter before settling on 13-8.

Outside of the big two, both Ballymac Wild and Ballymac Cooper also came in for support with Wild a 9-2 chance and Cooper available at 6-1 at the off. Meenagh Miracle and Kilara Icon came next at 25-1.

A RACE DECIDED IN THE EARLY YARDS

As you expect on a night with no distractions like a crowd or large presentations, everything went to time and as the dogs started to load at 9.23pm, it was particularly striking how quiet Shelbourne Park actually was.

As the hare approached Pestana made a movement but he quickly reset and, when the lids rose, there was little between the six runners in the opening stride. If anything, Newinn Taylor was the last to hit the ground while Pestana made his usual dart to his left.

In doing so he bumped into Meenagh Miracle, costing the bitch valuable ground, but failed to get across Ballymac Wild. On the outside of the track Ballymac Cooper had started well and held a narrow lead over Newinn Taylor in the early yards. The slow starting Kilara Icon was now fifth ahead of Meenagh Miracle.

To the eye it seemed that the inside duo may have had a slight advantage as they crossed the winning line for the first time but the splits told a different story. Newinn Taylor clocked best with a 3.41, Ballymac Cooper was virtually level with a 3.42, while Pestana and Ballymac Wild were just fractionally behind, with the pair clocking 3.43.

There was simply nothing between the front four. For the record Kilara Icon posted 3.57 and Meenagh Miracle, after that early bump and loss of momentum, 3.65.

It was clear something had to give into the opening turn. As you would expect, Newinn Taylor had the superior early speed on the outside and he hit the bend with a three parts of a length in hand over Ballymac Cooper.

Pestana was just getting the better of Ballymac Wild on the inner but couldn’t get the length he needed. With both Newinn Taylor and Ballymac Cooper cutting the corner, something had to give.

Pestana was left with no room and, as Ballymac Wild attempted to drive through on the fence, he was forced wide before falling to the floor. Ballymac Wild was also badly baulked leaving his Derby hopes in tatters. It was obvious that Pestana had suffered an injury and he was immediately attended to.

TAYLOR NOW CLEAR

The whole complexion of the race had changed in a matter of five strides around the bend, leaving Newinn Taylor clear and on his way to Derby glory.

Ballymac Cooper was also broadsided but kept his balance to enter the back straight just three lengths behind the leader.

Behind the front two, Meenagh Miracle stayed tight to the fence, missing the traffic and suddenly found herself in third, just two lengths behind Ballymac Cooper.

Kilara Icon stayed to the middle of the track and was forced a little wide by Ballymac Wild. It cost him valuable ground. After leading Meenagh Miracle by three lengths into the opening bend he was now three lengths behind her.

A CHALLENGER EMERGES

Newinn Taylor made full use of his stunning back straight pace to increase his lead over Ballymac Cooper to four lengths by halfway but this race was far from over. Meenagh Miracle was now on a charge.

A length behind Ballymac Cooper at halfway, she continued to advance and slipped up the inside of her rival to challenge for second at the third turn. Michael Corr’s powerful lady was now in a position to strike. Could she become the first bitch to win the Derby since 1999?

It looked likely between the last two bends as she moved past Ballymac Cooper, just two and a half lengths behind Newinn Taylor. In any other year, there would have been a thunderous roar from the packed stands as they swung for home but this was far from a normal year. Meenagh Miracle was now on the heels of Newinn Taylor and advancing fast.

The shock seemed on the cards but clearly Newinn Taylor was meant to win this Derby. He drifted off the final turn leaving plenty of room up the inside for Meenagh Miracle to go through but she had already made her move.

Like a goalkeeper wrongfooted, she had taken her first step to the right and was hell bend on making her move on the outside of Newinn Taylor. If she had been a further length behind, it may have been a different story but that is very much a ‘what if’ scenario.

Instead she was forced further wide as Newinn Taylor stuck to his middle-wide racing line. In a driving finish, Newinn Taylor displayed real determination and bravery. It was his destiny to win the 2020 Boylesports Irish Derby and he wouldn’t be denied.

TAYLOR CROWNED

Simon Taylor’s brilliant son of Droopys Buick and Newinn Expert, who was born and reared in New Inn, Co Tipperary, held the gallant effort of Meenah Miracle by a half length in 29.61.

Ballymac Cooper was just two length behind in third, while Kilara Icon was just a neck adrift in fourth.

It was certainly a memorable Derby final and one with so many hard luck stories but, ultimately, the best greyhound emerged triumphant. He may have been the last dog to leave the boxes but his brilliant early dash and desire to win carried him to the front before the corner and the rest, as they say, is history.

Bred by Shari-Anne O’Donnell, who is rumoured to have watched the final on her phone in the Shelbourne Park carpark, it was clear from the early days that Newinn Taylor was something of a star.

Less than a year after winning his debut in sensational fashion at Shelbourne Park, Newinn Taylor has racked up sixteen wins from eighteen career starts. He has won every competition he has ever entered and became the first Produce Stakes winner to go on and capture an Irish Derby title.

He has been expertly trained and prepared by Graham Holland, who has joined some of the greatest handlers in the history of the sport on three Derby wins.  

Who knows what the future holds for Newinn Taylor but it has been a joy to watch his journey from racing debutante to Derby champion. Irish greyhound racing has a true superstar and we should embrace the fact.

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BRILLIANT PARACHUTE LANDS PLATE

For the second year running Graham Holland recorded a famous double on the night adding the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate to his Derby success with Black Parachute justifying odds-on favouritism in fine style.

Sent to traps the 4-11 favourite to land the €5,000 prize, he was always close enough to strike despite the best efforts of Ravenswood Mango. The latter set a searing gallop in the early stages and was four lengths to halfway but it was clear she didn’t have enough in hand.

The key to victory for Black Parachute, owned by the Parachute Syndicate, was his desire to stay tight to the fence. It allowed him to move second at the corner and, once getting a clear run at the leader, he was never going to be contained. Ravenswood Mango did stick to her task out front but she simply doesn’t stay the trip as well as Black Parachute and when she drifted wide off the final turn, her fate was sealed.

Black Parachute, a son of Top Honcho and Ballydoyle Honey, powered up the inside and quickly shot clear to record a brilliant length and a half verdict over Ravenswood Mango in 29.27.

Presentation of trophies after Black Parachute won the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate final at Shelbourne Park. L-R:  Conor Gray CEO Boylesports (Sponsors), Ger Dollard CEO IGB, Nickey Holland wife of trainer Graham Holland and Frank Nyhan Chairman IGB.                      Pic: Imelda Grauer

PERFECT PEAKY IN CONSOLATION

The Derby Consolation final saw Razldazl Peaky, owned by the Kildare-Kilcolgan Syndicate, produce one of his best ever efforts to run out a convincing winner in a rapid 29.19.

The Neilus O’Connell trained star shot from trap two to lead into the opening turn and this was to prove decisive.

The well-backed favourite Toolmaker Sydney gave chase down the far side and attempted to challenge at the third turn but had the door closed on him. Once that happened there was only going to be one winner. Razldazl Peaky raced right to the line and the son of Makeshift and Razldazl Pru emerged a three length winner. 

BoyleSports Brian Murphy presents the trophy to Karen Geoghegan after Razldazl Peaky won The BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Consolation 550 at Shelbourne Park.                            Pic: Imelda Grauer

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DERBY STORY SET FOR A THRILLING FINISH

The final chapter in the Boylesports Derby story will unfold in front of our eyes at Shelbourne Park this evening and hopes are high that this gripping story will have a fitting and thrilling conclusion.

The evidence suggests that the winner will most likely come from the big two in the market, Newinn Taylor or Pestana but in a Derby decider nothing can be taken for granted and those connected to the remaining four runners will be hoping for a final page plot twist.

Of course, this year’s competition has been like no other. Played out in front of largely empty stands, there will be no Derby roar when the hare finally makes it first movements towards the traps at 9.24pm this evening.

Instead, there will be an eery silence ahead of the start with only the echoes of the commentator and the hum of the hare mechanism breaking the silence. And then the thunderous crash as the lids rise.

There will be no roar from the crowd as the greyhounds emerge, no thunderous approval from the stands as one of the main protagonists make their move down the back straight and no race cards thrown high into the air as the 2020 Derby champion crosses the line.

Yet we still await the race like a child on Christmas Eve. It may be a very different year but the dogs remain the stars, the lead players in this riveting production, the superstars of our sport performing at the height of their powers.

For those involved in the race, a Derby win would be a dream. For many a fulfilment of a lifetime ambition. Take a moment to place yourself in the shoes of Micky Corr. A man who has a successful construction business but still pours his heart and soul into his greyhounds.

He often dreamt of making a Derby decider. Tonight, he gets the chance to see his dream become a reality when Meenagh Miracle lines out as the sole bitch in the line-up. 

I chose Michael as an example because he is the only trainer in the race that has yet to taste Derby glory. He’s taking on some titans of the sport. Graham Holland, Liam Dowling, Owen McKenna and Robert Gleeson have all been on the biggest stage in the past and have been lucky enough to get their hands on the trophy. It doesn’t make it any easier but experience must surely count for something. 

THE RACE

And what of the race itself. So much emphasis is placed on the betting ahead of a contest of this nature.

The sponsors themselves have struggled to separate the big two. As I pen these words, Newinn Taylor is an 11-8 chance, just ahead of Pestana on 6-4.

For obvious reasons, both greyhounds will be popular with punters. Their level of performance through this Derby has been nothing if not spectacular. Pestana took most of the headlines in the early rounds, but Newinn Taylor has emerged as the most-worthy adversary and his latest run, in the semis, was up there with the best ever witnessed at Shelbourne Park.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a two-dog affair. History can back up this claim with a number of big priced winners since the turn of the century.

Just two years ago Ballyanne Sim raced to a thoroughly deserved success at 12-1. In 2004 and 2005, Like A Shot and He Said So were both 10-1 before racing to Derby glory. Tyrur Rhino was another 10-1 winner in 2007, while his namesake Tyrur McGuigan won at 8-1 in 2010.

In truth, form often goes out the window in a Derby final. The whole sense of occasion can get to certain greyhounds or, indeed, handlers but that may not be the case this year. As we stated, this is a Derby final that will be played out in front of empty stands.

So how to predict what will happen in a Derby decider? There are so many possible scenarios but the most likely is that either Pestana or Newinn Taylor will get around the turn in front and stay there. It may be a simplistic view of the how things could unfold but it’s a reality. Their level of performance has been largely unmatched by their competitors.

CAN TAYLOR GIVE GRAHAM HIS THIRD DERBY?

Newinn Taylor is a prime example.

A star since his very first race last November, the brilliant son of Droopys Buick began his career with twelve straight wins, capturing the O’Neill’s Dog Food Open Puppy at Shelbourne and the Larry O’Rourke National Produce Stakes at Clonmel in the process.

In between those two competition victories, he also won the Selachii Legal Open 525 around Limerick meaning that he has won every competition he has ever been entered. How Simon Taylor and Graham Holland would love to keep that record going this evening.

For obvious reasons, Newinn Taylor was one of the main fancies in the outright betting ahead of the Derby but he was to suffer a first defeat in the opening round, tying up before finishing third. It was a disappointing start to his campaign but, as Simon Taylor intimated during the virtual Derby lunch, that it may have been a good thing.

The pressure was now off as far as the sequence was concerned, although the dog didn’t know that.

A week later, he again suffered defeat behind Pestana but his level of performance was far greater than seven days earlier. Pestana broke the track record that night but Newinn Taylor, after a moderate start, displayed awesome speed.

Things really started to fall into place in the third round as he posted a stunning fastest of the round 29.11. He followed that success up in the quarter finals, again displaying incredible early dash to win in 29.19 but the best was perhaps to come.  

His display in last week’s semi finals was special. Leaving a top-class field standing, he raced into a six length lead by halfway and then coasted home two lengths clear in 29.13. Given the weather conditions on the night, it was a truly spectacular display.

The rewards for his effort is an ideal draw in the stripes this evening and, if he can come away as fast as he did in the last two rounds, he could well steal a march on his rivals to the corner and, perhaps, Graham Holland a third Derby title following the wins of Rural Hawaii in 2016 and Lenson Bocko twelve months ago.

FLAWLESS PESTANA

Pestana stands in his way, however. Rarely in the long history of the event has a greyhound been so foot-perfect through the preliminaries.

In fact, Des Grace’s star has yet to see a rival and his exploits have been recognised through the greyhound world.

His second round display was particularly special. Smashing from traps, flying up the fence and maintaining an incredible gallop throughout, he created history by becoming the first greyhound to break 29 second for 550yd on Irish soil.

The performance went viral on social media with ten of thousands of viewing it across the various platforms but he wasn’t finished there. It was just one of five brilliant displays through the competition and he is now in a position to become the first greyhound since College Causeway in 2009 to go unbeaten through the Derby. If he were to come home in front, he would be handing his handler Owen McKenna with a second Derby success following the victory of Like A Shot in 2004.

LIAM IS DOUBLE HANDED

Liam Dowling is another man seeking his second Derby success.

Back in 2015, Ballymac Matt provided Dowling with his first win in the blue riband event and he is doubly represented this evening by Ballymac Wild and Ballymac Cooper, who just happens to be a son of Ballymac Matt.

Were Cooper to win he would become just the second greyhound in the history of the event to emulate his sire by capturing the Derby. The other was 1969 winner Own Pride, who was a son of 1966 winner Always Proud.

Incidentally, Own Pride was trained by the late, great Ger McKenna, the father of Owen, who trains Pestana. In another twist of fate, Liam Dowling actually bred Pestana, meaning he is responsible for breeding half of the Derby field.

Of Dowling’s pair, the market suggests Ballymac Wild has the greatest chance. He may be the youngest finalist but he is already the Juvenile Classic winner and he also chased home Pestana in the Champion Stakes ahead of the Derby. All evidence would suggest he has improved even further since then.

Blessed with real power and pace, he faces a favourable draw on the fence despite his tendency to edge to the middle of the track. Should he make one of his better starts the son of Vulturi could find himself in a prominent position into the back straight and anything could happen thereafter. 

Ballymac Cooper has performed somewhat of a miracle to get to this point. He was a star as a youngster and looked set for superstardom in 2020 only to pick up a serious injury. Liam Dowling and his team nursed his back gently and they have been rewarded for their efforts. The engine is still very much evident and after finishing just two lengths behind Newinn Taylor last week and the same distance behind Pestana the week earlier, he doesn’t seem to have too much to find.

Much will depend on whether he can make the flying start he needs from trap five. It’s worth remembering he is the last dog to inflict a defeat on Pestana in the semi finals of the Champion Stakes and that fact won’t be lost on his supporters tonight.

MIRACLE AND ICON TOO BIG

That leaves us with the two outsiders of the field Meenagh Miracle and Kilara Icon. Their respective prices look derisory to this scribe’s eye.

Yes, they may need a little luck to win but that can be said of any Derby winner. They also possess huge pace and a real determination to win and it would be no shock if either were to make a bold bid.

Meenagh Miracle is seeking to become the first bitch to land the prize since the victory of Spring Time in 1999. The pair have plenty in common and Michael Corr will be hoping that the law of averages works in his favour. He has real faith in his daughter of Farloe Rumble and Rios Girl and should she take a flier from trap two, she could certainly have a say.

Kilara Icon faces a slightly different test as he bids to hand Robert Gleeson a second Derby after the 2013 victory of Slippery Robert. The powerful son of Droopys Jet is likely to sit off the pace in the opening exchanges but that should allow him slip onto the fence.

With Ballymac Wild and Meenagh Miracle favouring a middle path, he could find the gaps on the fence when needed and any traffic amongst the leaders would certainly aid his cause. His owner Gary Kicks will be watching on from Dubai safe in the knowledge that he has already collected his each way money but, were Kilara Icon close at halfway, you would probably hear the screams from Shelbourne Park.  

THE VERDICT

So, what will happen in the 29 seconds after 9.24pm? It really is difficult to see beyond Pestana and Newinn Taylor.

The pair are at the very peak of their powers and can certainly be ranked amongst the best dogs of the past twenty years.

Their clash could be one for the ages but the very nature of their racing style means their race could be run from an early stage. It would only take a small error from one or both to see them falter. Both greyhounds almost certainly need to lead into the back straight to come out on top and that will give hope to the remaining runners.

Should Pestana and Newinn Taylor go into the turn together, it’s possible they could clash, although their racing lines are different. Pestana will be hoping to smash from trap four, get to the fence and then concentrate on containing his rival at the corner. If doing so he would be in pole position. 

It’s also entirely possible Newinn Taylor will rocket from the outside box as he has done in the last two rounds, lead up on the outside of the track and make every inch. Both scenarios are a real possibility.

Ballymac Wild and Ballymac Cooper will be hoping to stay on their coattails around the opening two bends. If they do it could be race on, although containing Pestana or Newinn Taylor down the back straight will be no easy task.

Kilara Icon and Meenagh Miracle will look to belie their odds and as stated, they are far from also rans but they will certainly need help from their rivals.

It really should be a spectacular contest but the vote can only go to one of the six runners and, on the strength of his professionalism, his stunning ability and the fact that he has the inside line on Newinn Taylor, it could be worth siding with Pestana to race into the history books.

Newinn Taylor is an obvious and very worthy adversary. He looks certain to push Pestana throughout, while I suspect Kilara Icon could find himself getting room to race and can take third.

There is a wonderful story behind each of the Derby runners and each deserves their place on the greatest stage of all. What has happened in the past five weeks will mean nothing when they runners go to traps for the final of the 2020 Boylesports Irish Derby.

An incredible prize of €115,000 awaits the winner but this is about more than money. For those involved it’s about making their dream come true. Best of luck to all involved and stay safe.  

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PARACHUTE TO STAR

There is, of course, a brilliant card on offer at Shelbourne Park as support to the Boylesports Derby and, for many, the banker of the night is Black Parachute in the final of the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate.

From an ideal draw on the fence, the Graham Holland trained star seems bombproof and whether local raider Ravenswood Mango leads him up from trap two, Black Parachute should have too much ammunition for his rivals.

Sweep The Yard and Lemon Ozzy will be his nearest rivals in the market but both would need to lead the selection in the early yards to score and that looks easier said than done. Instead Black Parachute can turn a close second to Ravesnwood Mango before taking over down the back straight.

SYDNEY CAN SEE OFF SYDNEY

The consolation final is an intriguing affair with Toolmaker Sydney expected to start a warm favourite from an inside draw.

Deerjet Sydney faces a far tougher draw in five and will certainly cut inwards but stands out as the biggest threat, while Frankies Jet has a favourable draw in stripes and could also run a big race. Toolmaker Sydney looks likely to turn close, however, and that could make the difference. With a clear run down the back straight, he would be nearly impossible to contain.

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TED LOOKING FORWARD TO ‘BEST EVER’ DERBY

Teddy Hegarty is normally a part of the furniture at Shelbourne Park but, as with so many, the fearless layer has been absent for the past few weeks due to Covid-19 guidelines.

He made something of a comeback on Friday for the opening round of the Juvenile Derby, although following the latest news from the government he was aware that it was ‘for one night only’.

Ted was clearly disappointed by the news but was still smiling as he spoke about tonight’s Boylesports Derby decider. When asked if he had been playing a part at home he replied, “Yeah just a little, fiddling around on the Betfair but it’s a lot more difficult with them betting every race to nearly 100%. You need to be right too many times.”

But it’s clear Hegarty has been really taken by this year’s competition. When asked if he thought it was a great Derby he said, “The best I’ve ever seen with probably two of the best dogs we’ve ever seen in a Derby final. It’s a disaster that it’s behind closed doors. It’s a pity Pestana wasn’t drawn in one with Newinn Taylor in six. Like, what way would you price that? I’d just make Newinn Taylor favourite just from the box but if you put Pestana in one and the other dog in six, it would be a race you’d walk a million miles to watch it.”

And when asked to nail his colours to the mast, “From the box and the draw, Newinn Taylor. But just because of the draw.”

And when asked for how he would price the race, Ted wasn’t shy about giving his opinion. “I’d be going 7 the top [Ballymac Wild], the two outsiders are probably 40-1 chances. I think Pestana is a 6-4 chance, just purely on the draw. he has a few trappy little things to avoid. The two bitch can trap out and will be moving out a bit. So will the top. Cooper, if he did break will be moving in a little bit. So just from the draw I’d make six favourite.”

And when pressed if he thought the bottom was an odds-on chance he responded, “No, evens.” He also suggested that if he was on track, he would look to lay Pestana at 6-4 but only if they came for Newinn Taylor at evens, while if he layed Pestana at evens he would not go the 6-4 about Newinn Taylor.

Finally, when asked what the nap of the night was, he replied, without hesitation, “Black Parachute”.  

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WATCHING THE DERBY FROM HOME? - WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED

It is of course hugely disappointing that Shelbourne Park will be virtually empty on Saturday night for the final of the Boylesports Derby but great work has gone into offering the best service possible to those watching from home.

RPGTV will be covering the entire twelve race card live on channel 175 on the Sky platform and those watching form the comfort of their couch can get involved. There have been many enquiries from patrons wishing to get their hands on a programme from final night of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby. The good news is there will be a limited amount available to buy for €5 (plus €1 p&p).

The full cost of printing has been absorbed by the IGB and the entire €5 will be donated directly to Irish Retired Greyhound Trust (IRGT).

For those supporting your fancy from home, you can add a virtual Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby rosette to your Facebook profile by searching facebook.com/profilepicframes for the greyhound's name or Irish Greyhound Derby or click on the links below.

Ballymac Wild - bit.ly/ballymacwildvirtualrosette

Meenagh Miracle - bit.ly/meenaghmiraclevirtualrosette

Kilara Icon - bit.ly/kilaraiconvirtualrosette

Pestana - bit.ly/pestanavirtualrosette

Ballymac Cooper - bit.ly/ballymaccoopervirtualrosette

Newinn Taylor - bit.ly/newinntaylorvirtualrosette

Traditionally, the sale of Derby Final rosettes has been used as a fundraising tool for the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust so if you are wearing a virtual rosette or using the virtual race programme, please consider making a donation to the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust via their facebook page.

There will also be a virtual race programme available on-line. This will include all the features of the actual programme on the night and will add further to the at-home experience. 

The following link will bring you to where you need to get to as regards virtual rosettes and the final night card: https://www.igb.ie/go-greyhound-racing/our-stadiums/shelbourne-park-greyhound-stadium/plan-your-night/derby/DERBY-FINAL

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IAN GIVES HIS DERBY VIEWS DOWN UNDER

Our own Ian Fortune made a virtual guest appearance on Australia's Greyhound Racing show, the Catching Pen this week. 

They've been keeping a close eye on all the action of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby, as always, especially delighted with the Austrlian breeding connections.

Thanks to Marc, Katherine and Jason and all the crew for their support.

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MEET OUR DERBY FINALISTS- PART TWO

Now it's the turn of the next 3, Ian Fortune catches up with the 3 qualifiers from Semi-Final 2:
👨 Pestana - Des Grace

👨 Ballymac Wild - Shane Dowling

👨 Kilara Icon - Gary Hicks

Don't worry, they might have missed the traditional Derby Finalists lunch but there's a nice treat on it's way to them all to mark the occassion.

Wishing all of the finalists the very best of luck and to the connections, enjoy this exciting week! Don't forget to check in daily with Talking Dogs for the latest news. 

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MEET OUR DERBY FINALISTS - PART ONE

2020 is the year of all things virtual, including our traditional Derby Finalists lunch....(minus the lunch!)

While we would normally gather our Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby Derby Finalists in the Oaks Suite in Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium for a lunch, this year we've had to do things a little differently, so Ian Fortune caught up with them for a chat ahead of one of the biggest nights of their lives.

Up first, it's the 3 qualifiers from Semi-Final 1:

👨Newinn Taylor - Simon Taylor

👨Ballymac Cooper - Shane Dowling

👨Meenagh Miracle - Michael Corr

Don't worry, they might have missed the lunch but there's a nice treat on it's way to them all to mark the occassion.

Wishing all of the finalists the very best of luck and to the connections, enjoy this exciting week!

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TALKING DERBY EPISODE 3

It's BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Final week and it's peak anticipation levels across the country as everyone looks forward to what should be one of the most exciting Derby Finals we've seen.

Ian Fortune is back with episode 3 of Talking Derby, joined by guests Tommy Lyons and Declan O'Donoghue. They pit their knowledge of all things racing against each other in order to predict who will be our 2020 Derby champion.

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TAYLOR THE THIRD BEND KING IN SEMIS 

If you are a bit of a greyhound racing nerd, like myself, you will take great satisfaction from the third turn clocks through the Derby.

They certainly tell a story and it’s clear that Newinn Taylor and Pestana are the main protagonists in said storyline.

In total only four greyhounds have dipped under the 17 second barrier to the third bend sectional through the Derby. Of course, both Newinn Taylor and Pestana have done so numerous times, while Ballymac Cooper and Glengar Bale have also done so once.

Last weekend’s clocks were particularly fascinating. Newinn Taylor produced what was, without doubt, the best run of his career, posting a sensational 16.80 on his way to a wonderful 29.13 success. It was an incredible display in tough conditions.

Pestana also impressed although the clock was his slowest of the competition. He stopped the third bend clock in 17.09, while hit the winning line in 29.39. It is hard to see where he lost the time on previous outings but it’s probably safe to assume he will go faster on Saturday.

*Note – We have included leader’s times throughout the Derby for comparison:

Leaders clocks (fastest to slowest):

 

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

Q-finals

S-finals

Newinn Taylor

17.22

 

16.79

16.91

16.80

Pestana 

17.01

16.83

16.90

16.90

17.09

Ballymac Wild

17.36

17.12

17.20

17.04

 

Newinn Sheedy

17.12

17.09

 

17.04

 

Clona Blaze

17.46

 

17.14

 

 

Glengar Bale

17.08

16.93

17.16

 

 

Waikiki Keano

 

 

17.20

 

 

Great Name That

 

 

17.40

 

 

Scooby Princess

 

 

17.49

 

 

Ballymac Cooper

 

16.99

 

 

 

Catunda Logan

17.17

17.04

 

 

 

Epic Hero

 

17.06

 

 

 

Feudal Spirit

 

17.08

 

 

 

Toolmaker Sydney

 

17.11

 

 

 

Boylesports Xtra

 

17.12

 

 

 

Da Bold Eagle

17.24

17.14

 

 

 

Glory Kilara

 

17.20

 

 

 

Newinn Lester

17.09

17.25

 

 

 

Razldazl Peaky

 

17.25

 

 

 

Wolfe

17.26

17.33

 

 

 

Laughil Josh

 

17.38

 

 

 

Frankies Jet

17.17

 

 

 

 

Jacks Solution

17.20

 

 

 

 

Catchmeflying

17.22

 

 

 

 

Roanna Bess

17.22

 

 

 

 

Bhoireann

17.25

 

 

 

 

Deadly Missile

17.27

 

 

 

 

Ballymac Lowry

17.33

 

 

 

 

Doolin Prince

17.35

 

 

 

 

Degrom

17.35

 

 

 

 

Athlaccca Zette

17.38

 

 

 

 

Ballymac Anton

17.41

 

 

 

 

Ardrahan Pinokio

17.48

 

 

 

 

******

WATCH: 2020 BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY SEMI-FINALS

7 nights of racing in Shelbourne Park later and we now have our Final 6 for the 2020 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.

Ian Fortune and BoyleSport's Kevin Hennessy look back at the Semi-Final action of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby and the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate. 

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TAYLOR AND PESTANA DIDN’T DISAPPOINT 

It’s a travesty that Shelbourne Park is currently closed to the public because nights like Saturday should be a celebration of all that is great about our sport.

This year’s Boylesports Derby has been a classic in every sense of the word and were the stands open to the public, they would most certainly have been at full capacity for what promised to be a special occasion.

It didn’t disappoint as both Newinn Taylor and Pestana again displayed why they are ranked amongst the fastest greyhounds on the planet in the semi finals of the Boylesports Derby. In victory Pestana emerged as the only greyhound to hold an unbeaten record in the competition but he was somewhat overshadowed by Newinn Taylor, who produced one of the most perfect displays of front-running ever seen at the famous Ringsend venue.

1st Semi Final – PERFECTION FROM TAYLOR

Newinn Taylor simply couldn’t have gone any faster in the opening heat. As with Pestana’s record breaking run earlier in the competition, Newinn Taylor was simply perfect as he left some of the fastest greyhounds in world greyhound racing trailing in his wake to the third turn.

The Graham Holland trained superstar produced his best start of the competition, almost catapulting from the outside box to dominate from the opening stride. Displaying his customary awesome early speed, Simon Taylor’s Produce Stakes winner opened up a three and a half length lead over the chasing Ballymac Cooper.

Catchmeflying was in third, just ahead of Meenagh Miracle with Toolmaker Sydney and Scooby Princess next. But this was all about Newinn Taylor and he ran an incredible second turn to increase his lead further.

As they entered the back straight, Newinn Taylor had five lengths to spare over Ballymac Cooper and he continued to pile on the pressure. By halfway his lead was six lengths and he maintained his momentum into the third turn.

Going at such an incredible pace, it was inevitable that Newinn Taylor would come back to his rivals somewhat in the closing stages. He didn’t lose his stride, however, and, despite the best efforts of Ballymac Cooper, Newinn Taylor hit the line two lengths to the good in a sensational 29.13.

Behind the front two the battle for third spot went to Meenagh Miracle. She moved past Catchmeflying early in the back straight and had enough in her locker to contain the charge of Toolmaker Sydney into the third turn. Meenagh Miracle actually ran on strongly to finish just a length and a half behind Ballymac Cooper in third.

Obviously, it was an incredible display by the winner but the runs of both the runner-up and third were also pretty impressive.

2nd Semi Final – PESTANA TOO GOOD

Fifteen minutes later, Pestana claimed his place in the Derby decider with yet another brilliant display of front running.

The clock may have suggested he was a few lengths behind Newinn Taylor but to the eye that didn’t seem the case.

Breaking smartly from trap four, Des Grace’s incredible son of Ballymac Best and Coolavanny Pet was in complete control from the outset. Ballymac Wild successfully held Glengar Bale into the turn to stay second but he could never lay a glove on the leader.

Behind Ballymac Wild and Glengar Bale, Indesatchel entered the back straight a close fourth but he drifted off the second turn and lost momentum, allowing Kilara Icon slip up his inside. This was to prove the undoing of Indesatchel and, ultimately, Glengar Bale.

Out front Pestana was displaying his now trademark back straight pace to move into a near five length lead over Ballymac Wild by the third turn. As in the opening heat, the leader had to come back a little to the chasing pack, such was the pace he was going out front, but he never looked under any danger of getting picked up.

Ballymac Wild closed to the line but Pestana was simply too good and too sharp as he crossed the line with two lengths to spare in 29.39. Ballymac Wild was second, while the race for third spot was a bit tighter.

After racing in third for most of the journey, Glengar Bale was forced to give way in the closing stages to the superior power of Kilara Icon. The latter flew up the straight to see off Glengar Bale by three parts of a length, some two and a half lengths behind the runner up.

THE FINAL DRAW

And, so to the draw for the decider which was made by Sarah Kinsella of the sponsors, Boylesports. Followers of Newinn Taylor will be happiest as the Graham Holland trained star will race in the stripes, while Pestana will line up from trap four. The stage is now set for what could, potentially, be one of the races of the past decade.

THE FINAL OF THE BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY

1 BALLYMAC WILD

2 MEENAGH MIRACLE

3 KILARA ICON

4 PESTANA

5 BALLYMAC COOPER (W)

6 NEWINN TAYLOR (W)

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PARACHUTE TOO HOT IN PLATE

The Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate also provided some enthralling action with Black Parachute setting the standard as he raced to a comfortable victory in the second semi final.

It was clear from the early yards that the son of Top Honcho and Ballydoyle Honey was going to return to winning ways after coming away racing from trap three. Once leading his kennel companion Sweep The Yard around the corner, there were no changes thereafter.

Sweep The Yard did his best to stay with the leader but Black Parachute, who is owned by the Parachute Syndicate, stays beyond 550yds and he ran right to the line to complete a comfortable three length victory in 29.40. There was a further five length gap to the third qualifier Razldazl Monarch.

BORIS LEAVES IT LATE

Graham Holland wasn’t as lucky in the opening heat with his hot favourite Ballyhimikin Jet failing to finish.

He actually set the pace into the turn but Ravenswood Mango slipped up his inside on the bend, pushing the favourite wide.

As Ballyhimikin Jet retreated, Pat Healy’s Lemon Boris (Barcia Bale/ Lemon Steff) moved second behind Ravenswood Mango. The race was now between this pair as they entered the back straight a mile clear of the chasers. The Pat Buckley trained Lemon Boris, who had only come in as a reserve, tried to bridge the gap to the leader into the third turn but he had to wait until the run in to make his move.

By this point Lemon Ozzy was a close third but he had simply too much ground to make up. Instead, Lemon Boris came through on the run in to deny Ravenswood Mango by a head in 30.06. Incredibly, Lemon Ozzy was just a neck away in third.

******

EXPECT ANOTHER PESTANA MASTERCLASS

While the withdrawal of Boylesports Xtra was a real disappointment ahead of the semi-finals of the Boylesports Derby at Shelbourne Park this evening, those with greyhounds remaining in the blue riband event will be fully focused on their attempts to make the final six.

The sponsors believe that Pestana is the one to beat and he tightened his grip on the market following the Boylesports Xtra news. Now a 6-4 chance to capture the €115,000 winner’s purse next weekend, he will be a red-hot favourite for the second heat where he will have an empty box on his immediate inside.

Newinn Taylor is the clear second choice in the outright betting at 5-2 and he too should start a hot favourite this evening. Whether everything goes to script of not, this evening’s Derby action is likely to be every bit as enthralling and spectacular as the previous four weekends.

Heat 1 - TAYLOR HARD TO CONTAIN

NEWINN TAYLOR is a special performer. We’ve known that since he made his debut at Shelbourne Park in the early days of November 2019.

It was over nine and half months after that debut that he suffered his first defeat, capturing the O’Neill’s Dog Food National Puppy Stake and the Larry O’Rourke Produce Stakes along the way.

His first defeat came in the opening round of the Boylesports Derby, which also happened to be his first outing over the 550yd trip. It was clear he would come on for the run and, while he did suffer defeat again a week later, he displayed huge pace behind Pestana confirming that he could be a big player in the Derby.

Since then he has been foot-perfect, displaying his awesome early speed to burn off his rivals in both the third round and quarter finals. As a result of those performances he is now a clear second favourite for outright glory and all evidence would suggest he will continue his impressive winning ways in this evening’s opening semi-final.

The market suggests that Ballymac Cooper and Toolmaker Sydney are the big dangers to the Graham Holland trained favourite and it’s hard to disagree. Ballymac Cooper races from trap five and is perhaps the best equipped to threaten Newinn Taylor.

Liam Dowling’s star chased home Pestana last weekend, racing in second from the outset. There seems little doubt that Newinn Taylor has the superior early speed but if Ballymac Cooper was to turn on his heels his superior strength could come into play.

Supporters of Newinn Taylor will be more than aware that even if Ballymac Cooper makes a flying start from five, he is likely to edge inwards to the corner. That would leave Newinn Taylor with plenty of room to get into top stride.

Toolmaker Sydney will attract support from those looking for one at a slightly bigger price. The Robert Gleeson trained star is somewhat of an enigma with one in a generation back straight pace. His run behind Kilara Icon last week was one of the most incredible ever witnessed at HQ.

Over four lengths behind the talented Newinn Sheedy as they exited the second turn, Toolmaker Sydney went into overdrive down the back straight to move upsides the leader at the third turn. It was a jaw-dropping display of pure pace and one that made plenty of shrewd observers stand up and pay attention.

Much will depend on whether Toolmaker Sydney can find his trapping boots. Were he to come away on terms and hold his position into the corner he could emerge as a huge danger to the big two, especially if he were to enter the back straight within a couple of lengths.

Of course, at this late stage in the Derby there are often plot twists and the three remaining runners are all fast enough to go off script. Catchmeflying is a greyhound for next year but it’s hard not to give him aa glance at current prices. Blessed with fine pace to the third turn and ideally drawn on the fence, the Thomas Buggy trained star wouldn’t need much luck to make the frame, although it would depend on him making a fast start from the inside box. 

The leaves us with two of the fastest bitches in training, Meenagh Miracle and Scooby Princess. Both are hugely talented and, while they are a big price to win this evening, they can get involved. Meenagh Miracle absolutely flew home to grab second from a seemingly impossible position last week.

She may need to turn closer, but Michael Corr’s kennel is on fire at present and it would be brash to ignore her chances of qualification.

Much of the same applies to Scooby Princess. Jennifer O’Donnell has her charge in incredible form at present and she too is as strong as any greyhound left in the competition. Any traffic amongst her rivals would see Scooby Princess come into the reckoning as she is certain to finish with a wet sail.

It truly is a cracking contest although Newinn Taylor remains the one to beat and a worthy favourite. If he traps on terms, expect Simon Taylor’s superstar to again display his awesome speed to the turn and down the back straight. That could be enough to secure the victory, although Ballymac Cooper is selected to keep him honest. If avoiding traffic, Toolmaker Sydney can join the pair in the final seven days from now.

Heat 2 – ALL CLUES POINT TO PESTANA

The second heat has a very different look to it following the sad news of Boylesports Xtra’s withdrawal with all the clues now pointing to another comfortable PESTANA success.

Boylesports Xtra was a potential thorn in the side of Pestana but with trap two now vacant, the Owen McKenna trained Derby favourite should have all the room he needs to again set a sizzling pace form the opening yards.

There is no doubting the quality of those in opposition but none of the remaining four runners can match Pestana for brute pace to the third turn and that is why Pestana is red-hot favourite for tonight as well as outright honours.

Obviously, Ballymac Wild is seen as a big threat after posting a sensational 29.07 last week, matching the run of Pestana, but whether he can stay in touch to the third turn has yet to be seen. In each of the first three rounds, Ballymac Wild was four lengths behind Pestana on the third bend clocks.

Last week, he was just two lengths slower to the same point when making his fastest start to date. He may need to make an even faster start this evening. It’s worth remembering that, even if he does stay relatively close to Pestana to the third turn, he will need to get around him up the home straight which won’t be easy.

Glengar Bale is also worthy of plenty of respect. The son of Barcia Bale was one of the stars of the early round and actually joined Pestana at the head of the outright betting prior to the third round. He suffered his first defeat last week but remains a serious prospect open to improvement.

His chance will depend on whether he can come away racing and lead Ballymac Wild into the turn. That is no easy task but don’t be shocked if it happens.

The two remaining runners have a very different style of racing to those spoken of already. Kilara Icon has been a revelation through the Derby thus far. On the clock he has persistently been amongst the fastest in the competition from halfway.

Just last week he came from out of the clouds to lead on the line and, while things are likely to happen considerably faster this evening, his followers will be hoping he can stalk the field before pouncing late to grab a qualifying spot.

The same applies to Indesatchel. He is very much a greyhound for next year but is improving with each outing. He too packs a big finish although he can’t afford to give his rivals a head start. If he is to grab a place in the decider, he may need a career best start.

It really is an incredible contest packed with quality but Pestana stands out as the one to beat. Owen McKenna describes him as a no-fuss type greyhound and his style of racing reflects that. Expect the son of Ballymac Best to flash from trap three, assume control in the opening strides and go onto dominate yet again. If that were to happen Ballymac Wild would suffer his first defeat in the competition but is the most likely to chase Pestana home in second. The battle for third could be epic with Kilara Icon, Indesatchel and Glengar Bale all capable of securing the last qualifying spot.           

******

HOLLAND HOPING FOR A BRACE IN PLATE

While Graham Holland will be fully focused on trying to secure a Derby final spot with Newinn Taylor and Indesatchel, he also has a very strong hand in the semi finals of the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate.

In the opening heat he sends out Ballyhimikin Jet and the talented son of Droopys Jet will be a warm favourite to follow up last weekend’s impressive 29.35 success. Much will depend on whether he starts on terms, but should he avoid traffic he may have too much ammunition for his rivals.

Lemon Ozzy is seen as a big threat after claiming his first victory since last November in the quarter finals but needs to be at his sharpest to get first run on the favourite. Ravenswood Mango is a possible pace-setter for Liam O’Rourke but she may struggle to contain Ballyhimikin Jet from halfway.  

PARACHUTE CAN FLOAT HOME

In the second heat Graham has two of the bigger players.

Black Parachute is certain to start favourite and, if repeating his opening round effort when posting a rapid 29.18, will take the world of beating although his kennel companion Sweep The Yard is seen as a serious threat. The latter has massive pace and with a clear passage could really push his more fancied kennelmate.

Of the remainder Doolin Prince has the best of the draw. Blessed with fine pace from start to finish, he is unlikely to leave the rails and should make the frame. Razldazl Monarch and Bhoireann have been running well but only their best will suffice this evening. 

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KILARA ICON: IAN CHATS TO OWNER GARY HICKS

From the sunshine in Dubai, Gary Hicks will be keeping a close eye on the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Semi-Finals in Shelbourne Park. Gary is the proud owner of Semi-Finalist, Kilara Icon, trained by Robert Gleeson.

Ian Fortune chatted to Gary about his Derby hopeful, his love of greyhound racing and how the derby is beamed around the world for his family to cheer Kilara Icon on! 

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XTRA OUT OF DERBY

The dreadful news came through this morning that Boylesports Xtra, who was representing competition sponsor John Boyle, has been withdrawn from the Boylesports Derby after picking up a little problem during the week.

Paul Hennessy was understandably disappointed but recognised that he couldn’t risk his star, “It’s just one of those things. We had him checked out during the week and all was well but, after a gallop yesterday evening, he was a bit stiff and tender in the hock.

“It’s such a pity for John Boyle and his family. The dog was going so well for them and they were getting such sport out of him. We were all having a great thrill to be honest. As I said, it’s nothing too serious, just a bit of soreness and tenderness but he’ll be fine in a couple of weeks. We just couldn’t risk it.”

Paul’s son Kevin, who works for Boylesports, was also very disappointed. “I’m gutted to be honest. The dog had been running so well. John [Boyle] was flying. All he wanted to do was talk about the dog, you could tell he was loving it but it’s clearly wasn’t meant to be.

“John was pretty pragmatic about it. He’s involved in dogs all his life and he knows the ups and downs. His exact words were ‘we’ll dust ourselves down and go again next year’. He was so good through the competition it’s terrible for it to end like this. Thankfully, he will be perfect in a couple of weeks but there’s only one Derby”.    

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INDESATCHEL BAGS BONUS

Indesatchel joined Meenagh Miracle (last owner/trained greyhound) as a bonus winner in the Boylesports Irish Derby last weekend when emerging as the last Syndicate owned greyhound in the competition.

Owned by the Pillar Syndicate, the Graham Holland trained son of Skywalker Puma and Champagne Doll bagged his owners a tasty €1,500.

The syndicate is made up of two father and son combinations and all four have been entrenched in the sport for many years. The quartet are Larry and Jack O’Shea and Noel and David Byrne. We caught up with David Byrne yesterday and had a chat about the dog, how they got their hands on him and what it would mean to go one more step.

Watch the interview below:

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TALKING DOGS IS TALKING DERBY:2

Ian Fortune is joined by this week's special guests Tommy Lyons and George McDonagh for the 2nd installment of Talking Derby.
 
They look back at the Quarter Finals of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby and what's yet to come in Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium.
 
Get involved in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby conversation using #BoyleSportsIGD. Keep up to date with the latest news on igb.ie/talkingdogs and check back next Monday for more Talking Derby.

Click to return to the main Derby 2020 Menu

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BALLYMAC WILD GAMBLED INTO 11/2 THIRD FAVOURITE FROM 8/1 FOR BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY

Ballymac Wild’s blistering performance in the opening heat caught the eye of punters on Saturday night as he overtook Glengar Bale to go third favourite for the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.

Liam Dowling’s hopeful is now 11/2 from 8/1 in the race to be crowned champion after the field was whittled down to twelve on an action-packed evening at Shelbourne Park.

He will meet the antepost favourite in the semi-finals after his 29.07 clock was matched by Pestana in the third quarter-final heat. His grip on favouritism is all the stronger at 7/4 from 3/1, with Newinn Taylor into 5/2 from 4/1 after a three-length victory in the final heat.

BoyleSports Xtra followed home the Graham Holland trained Produce Stakes winner for the second round in succession and is now a 16/1 shot from 20/1 having started the contest out at 66/1.

Lawrence Lyons, spokesperson for BoyleSports said “Support for Pestana is showing no signs of easing up but Ballymac Wild’s performance has grabbed the attention of each-way backers at least. His rapid display sees him just 11/2 from 8/1 to win the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby with the competition heating up behind the favourite as we get to the business end.” 

BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY 2020

7/4         Pestana

5/2         Newinn Taylor

11/2       Ballymac Wild

8/1         Glengar Bale

8/1         Ballymac Cooper

16/1       BoyleSports Xtra

16/1       Toolmaker Sydney

25/1       Catchmeflying

33/1       Kilara Icon

50/1       Scooby Princess

66/1       Indesatchel

66/1       Meenagh Miracle

******

PESTANA THE THIRD BEND KING

Normal service was resumed on Saturday night as for the third time in four rounds, Pestana was fastest to the third turn although only by the minimum margin with Newinn Taylor just one hundredth of a second behind the Derby favourite on the clock.

It was obvious to the eye that Pestana didn’t quite come away as fast as in the second and third rounds, clocking 3.38 but he made up the time to the third turn and continues to set the standard in this year’s Derby.

In fairness to Newinn Taylor, he too lost a little time in the opening strides when missing a step just moments after flying form the outside box. He quickly recovered and his supporters will be more than pleased with his 16.91 return to the third turn.

Both Ballymac Wild and Newinn Sheedy clocked 17.04 to the third turn but they had very different stories to tell. Newinn Sheedy was so unlucky not to qualify, while Ballymac Wild is now the clear third choice in the betting with the sponsors after going on to post 29.07.

*Note - opening three round leader’s times included to allow for comparison:

Leaders clocks (fastest to slowest):

 

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

Q-finals

Pestana 

17.01

16.83

16.90

16.90

Newinn Taylor

17.22

 

16.79

16.91

Ballymac Wild

17.36

17.12

17.20

17.04

Newinn Sheedy

17.12

17.09

 

17.04

Clona Blaze

17.46

 

17.14

 

Glengar Bale

17.08

16.93

17.16

 

Waikiki Keano

 

 

17.20

 

Great Name That

 

 

17.40

 

Scooby Princess

 

 

17.49

 

Ballymac Cooper

 

16.99

 

 

Catunda Logan

17.17

17.04

 

 

Epic Hero

 

17.06

 

 

Feudal Spirit

 

17.08

 

 

Toolmaker Sydney

 

17.11

 

 

Boylesports Xtra

 

17.12

 

 

Da Bold Eagle

17.24

17.14

 

 

Glory Kilara

 

17.20

 

 

Newinn Lester

17.09

17.25

 

 

Razldazl Peaky

 

17.25

 

 

Wolfe

17.26

17.33

 

 

Laughil Josh

 

17.38

 

 

Frankies Jet

17.17

 

 

 

Jacks Solution

17.20

 

 

 

Catchmeflying

17.22

 

 

 

Roanna Bess

17.22

 

 

 

Bhoireann

17.25

 

 

 

Deadly Missile

17.27

 

 

 

Ballymac Lowry

17.33

 

 

 

Doolin Prince

17.35

 

 

 

Degrom

17.35

 

 

 

Athlaccca Zette

17.38

 

 

 

Ballymac Anton

17.41

 

 

 

Ardrahan Pinokio

17.48

 

 

 

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DERBY SEMI FINAL DRAW

As always, the Boylesports Derby draw was made after racing at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night and both semi finals have thrown up intriguing contests.

 The big two in the outright betting, Pestana and Newinn Taylor, have been drawn apart but neither can afford any mistakes at this late stage of the classic.

SEMI FINAL DRAW FOR BOYLESPORTS DERBY

Heat 1

1 Catchmeflying
2 Meenagh Miracle
3 Scooby Princess
4 Toolmaker Sydney
5 Ballymac Cooper (w)
6 Newinn Taylor (w)

Heat 2

1 Kilara Icon
2 Boylesports Xtra
3 Pestana
4 Indesatchel
5 Ballymac Wild
6 Glengar Bale (m)

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MAGICAL DERBY ACTION

It really is such a shame that greyhound racing must go on behind closed door at present because this year’s Boylesports Derby is up there with the best in memory.

On Saturday night, the very best in training were again in imperious form with the quarter finals of the Derby proving some in credible action.

Ballymac Wild and Pestana were fastest on the clock but all four heats featured displays of the highest quality as the field was reduced to twelve runners ahead of next weekend’s semi finals. 

Heat 1 – BRILLIANT WILD CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Ballymac Wild was a hot favourite to land the opening quarter final but few could have expected him to win with such a brilliant display of front running.

Making a flying start from trap three, the contest was effectively over after a stride.

Catchmeflying and Clona Blaze turned closest but neither were going to worry the leader. Instead, Ballymac Wild was in a race against the clock. Catchmeflying entered the back straight in second and ran well to stay within touching distance to the third turn but there was no stopping Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Wild.

As you would expect, the powerful son of Vulturi and Ballymac Breeze motored up the home straight to run out a stunning four length winner in a brilliant 29.07. His time was the second fastest of the Derby to that point.

The race for the qualifying places was far more competitive. Catchmeflying was always in a position to qualify and he did so in third, but Meenagh Miracle ran a remarkable race to grab second on the line. Only fifth down the back straight with the likes of Great Name That and Clona Blaze to pass to move into a qualifying spot, she displayed big pace and real determination to improve her position around the last two bends. Moving third as they turned for home, she flew up the straight to grab second on the line, a neck to the good over Catchmeflying. 

Heat 2 – STUNNING FINISH FROM ICON

The second quarter final was an epic encounter with the lead swapping hands on four separate occasions but, ultimately, Gary Hicks’ Kilara Icon (Droopys Jet/ Kilara Lizzie) had too much power for his rivals as he arrived with an incredible finishing flourish to lead inside the final two yards.

Newinn Sheedy was electric from traps and, despite cutting inwards from trap four, set a strong gallop to the turn. He was chased by the favourite Glengar Bale while, importantly, Toolmaker Sydney moved third on the corner.

While all this was happening, the fast starting Kilara Icon was being swamped into the turn and actually found himself last as the entered the second bend. Newinn Sheedy continued to set a strong pace into the back straight with Glengar Bale just two lengths back. Importantly, Toolmaker Sydney was just two length further back in third.

And then came one of the most incredible displays of back straight pace that has ever been seen at Shelbourne Park. Toolmaker Sydney, who was having just his eighth career start, started to shift through the gears and quickly sailed past Glengar Bale. He then set his sights on the leader.

Shooting up the inside of Newinn Sheedy at the third turn, he effectively threw the race wide open. With the front two now locked in battle and Glengar Bale slipped through on the inside to join in, those in behind started to close.

After entering the third turn at least eight lengths off the pace, Kilara Icon was now absolutely motoring in behind runners. Still only fifth as they turned for home, he was considerably closer and carrying real momentum.

Up front, Glengar Bale had taken over with Toolmaker Sydney on his shoulder but the pair were ambushed in the dying yards. After being a massive price to qualify at the second turn, the Robert Gleeson trained Kilara Icon flew up the straight to complete his recovery in style, leading in the final stride to beat Glengar Bale and Toolmaker Sydney by a short head and a half length in 29.58.

The winner’s time may have been somewhat slower than the other heat winners but his victory was one of the most remarkable of the entire competition.

Heat 3 – PESTANA SIMPLY TOO SHARP

Pestana is in danger of becoming a predictable greyhound and that will sit just fine with Des Grace and Owen McKenna as the brilliant son of Ballymac Best and Coolavanny Pet continues to march through this year’s Derby.

He was again faced with a potentially tricky draw in the third quarter final and he again made light work of his task, leading from the opening stride to record a sizzling 29.07, equalling the time set earlier in the evening by Ballymac Wild.

Deerjet Sydney broke fast from trap four but immediately clashed with Da Bold Eagle. This left the fast starting Pestana with room to track across to the fence. His supporters would have been more than aware of the presence of Ballymac Cooper in second, however.

As in their clash in the Champion Stakes semi final, Ballymac Cooper was just a couple of lengths adrift entering the back but this is a very different Pestana. Displaying awesome pace down the back straight, the April ’18 whelp clocked a massive 16.90 to the third turn and, despite drifting off the final turn, raced on to record another foot-perfect victory by two lengths.

Ballymac Cooper held the strong challenge of Da Bold Eagle down the back straight to remain second. Scooby Princess flew up the straight to cruelly deny the gallant Da Bold Eagle a place in the semi finals by a short head, some four lengths behind the runner-up. 

Heat 4 – RED-HOT TAYLOR DOMINATES

Newinn Taylor was again a joy to watch in full flight in the final heat as he displayed awesome early dash from the outside box to leave some hugely talented rivals struggling to keep up. Simon Taylor’s Produce Stakes champion flew from the outside box and, despite taking a little peck after a stride, was quickly in front.

Predictably, Boylesports Xtra flew from four and cut straight for the fence before turning a clear second, while Newinn Lester was third into the turn, although he was headed by his kennel companion Indesatchel early in the back straight.

It was then a case of whether the Graham Holland trained Newinn Taylor could open up a decisive lead before the third turn and he duly obliged. Posting a rapid 16.91 third turn sectional, he held a four length lead over Boylesports Xtra and, while the latter did close a little up the straight, Newinn Taylor was always in control.

Coasting home, Newinn Taylor raced to a three length victory over Boylesports Xtra in 29.19. Indesatchel stayed on strongly to finish just a head away in third. 

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MICHAEL FORTUNE MEMORIAL DERBY PLATE

Ballyhimikin Jet was fancied by many to go far in the Derby itself, so it was no surprise to see him bounce back to winning ways in emphatic fashion in the Boylesports Derby Plate.

The powerful son of Droopys Jet and Garryvoe Budgie was expected to come home in front and after a stride the race was over as a contest.

Allaghaun River and Green Dye gave chase but could never land a glove on the leader. Ballyhimikin Jet powered home a facile eight length winner in 29.35. Allaghaun River and No Green Dye clashed at the third turn, allowing Storys Derek to come through for second. No Green Dye was the third qualifier.  

OZZY BOUNCES BACK TO FORM

Lemon Ozzy hadn’t won a race since capturing the Night of Stars 600 last November but he left that unwanted statistic in the sand in the second heat as he made virtually every yard.

The Robert Gleeson trained son of Ballymac Eske and Lemon Lucy comfortably ledthe field into the corner and, once doing so, was never going to be stopped. Oran Don gave chase down the back straight and stuck to his task in second but Lemon Ozzy was never going to be stopped and he ran out a five length scorer in 29.50.

BHOIREANN LEADS THROUGHOUT

Gavin Johns’ Bhoireann made the most of an early advantage to hold the late challenge of Black Parachute in the final heat.

The latter was favourite to oblige after setting the standard in the opening round but he missed the kick and found himself short of room in the opening half of the contest.

In contrast, the Karol Ramsbottom trained Bhoireann (Droopys Cain/ Cherokeee Bride) was too sharp for his rivals and led into the corner before going on to lead throughout. Bhoireann eventually ran out a length and a half scorer in 29.61. Toolmaker Daddy was the third qualifier.

PRINCE DENIES MANGO

The Marie Gilbert trained Doolin Prince (Droopys Roddick/ Killinan Rosie) took the opening heat of the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate, although he did have to work hard to get to the long-time leader Ravenswood Mango.

 Doolin Prince was actually fastest into stride and looked likely to lead the field into the corner but Ravenswood Mango flew into the turn to take over.

Doolin prince came to challenge at the third turn, as did Sweep The Yard and both were forced to check up as the leader closed the door. Doolin Prince quickly recovered for Pat Flanagan and Stuart Kenny, however, before finishing fastest to lead late for a length and a half verdict in 29.88.

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WILL DERBY ACTION GO TO SCRIPT?

Following the news that Waikiki Keano will miss his assignment in the quarter finals of the Boylepsorts Derby, only twenty three greyhounds remain in the classic and the betting during the week would suggest the script has already been read and approved.

Of course, the very nature of greyhound racing and what makes it so exciting is the fact that it rarely follows the script. In each of the four quarter finals, there is a red-hot favourite but there’s no guarantee that all four will come home in front.

Heat 1 – WILD BIDS TO CONTINUE UNBEATEN WAYS

There is no stopping BALLYMAC WILD at present and he will bid to make it four wins from four in this year’s Derby in the opening heat.

A trap to line winner from trap one last week, he seems even better housed in the white of three this evening and as a result the layers have installed him an odds-on favourite.

The one fear for followers of the Champion Stakes runner-up is the proximity of Meenagh Miracle in four. It is possible she will edge inwards in the early yards, although Ballymac Wild tops the scales at over 80lbs and should be able to shake off any possible bumps with the bitch.

In terms of picking the main threat to Liam Dowling’s favourite, look no further than the bookended runners, Clona Blaze and Great Name That. Clona Blaze took some notable scalps in the third round when dominating after a flying start from the outside box and he can again go up fast in the stripes.

He may be into his fifth year but the 2018 Derby third and 2019 Easter Cup winner is clearly in tremendous heart and retains virtually all his ability.

Great Name That found himself in front by the second turn last week but that seems unlikely this evening unless he makes an uncharacteristic fast start from the inside box. Instead, the Liam Dowling trained son of Droopys Jet will be looking to hold a prominent pitch around the turn before making his move in the second half of the contest. He too remains unbeaten in the stake and could represent value at the current odds.

Catchmeflying is seen as one of the main players from trap two. However, that will very much depend on whether he can strike the front in the early yards. If he fails to do so, he would be vulnerable to the bigger finishers.

Meenagh Miracle and Ropewalk Bhoy complete the line-up and, while both face their toughest tests yet, they are both running at thee peak of their powers. Their chances depend on whether they can avoid traffic at the corner and, perhaps, find themselves in a prominent position as the runners enter the back.

There are so many possibilities, but the likeliest is that Ballymac Wild will come away on terms, hold his position into the turn before asserting down the back straight. Great Name That can complete a one-two for Liam Dowling while third spot could go to any of the remaining four runners.        

Heat 2 – BALE TO CONTINUE WINNING WAYS

There are so many talented trackers in action in Heat 2 with all six capable of a big run but the superior early dash of GLENGAR BALE could make the difference.

As with Ballymac Wild, the Pat Buckley trained star remains unbeaten in the competition and the bookmakers seem to believe he will have little problem in maintaining that record.

The biggest threat to Glengar Bale may well come from Newinn Sheedy in the early yards. The pair race side by side with Newinn Sheedy on the inner of Glengar Bale in four. If he is to lower the colours of the favourite, Newinn Sheedy will need to come away much faster than last week.

Robert Gleeson is unfortunate to have his two runners drawn together in the heat although both Kilara Icon and Toolmaker Sydney can play a big part in proceedings. Kilara Icon has been consistently one of the fastest dogs in the competition from the second bend home and if the gaps open at the right time he could again make the frame.    

Gleeson has stated that he believes Toolmaker Sydney can start much better than he has been doing. If he does, he too is a big player. As one of the fastest greyhounds down the back straight in training, he certainly has the engine to challenge but much will depend on how close he can turn.

Mustang Firmino is another with a big engine but, he too, is inconsistent at boxes. Were Kieran Lynch to get him to start on terms, he could run a big race at a big price.

Frankies Jet is the rank outsider of the field but that does him a disservice. He has been quietly going about his business in recent weeks, showing fine pace throughout and, from an ideal draw on the fence, it would be far from a surprise if he were to make it through to next weekend.

Glengar Bale is the one to beat, however. He missed the kick last week and still had the early speed to take charge into the bend. Expect the exciting prospect to start on terms this evening before moving into a decisive lead. Newinn Sheedy is chosen to chase him throughout, while the big finish of Kilara Icon could allow him fill the qualifying places.

Heat 3 – EXPECT ANOTHER MASTER CLASS FROM PESTANA       

On first glance PESTANA faces a tricky draw in Heat 3 but, much like last week, it’s not as bad as it looks.

Of course, seven days ago Des Grace’s brilliant Champion Stakes winners made light work of his task, producing one of his now famed flying starts to dominate.

There is no question tonight’s assignment is a bit tougher with the perfectly housed Ballymac Cooper a serious threat but, on current form, there is no opposing Pestana. He is performing like a near-perfect greyhound at present, displaying all the qualities needed to become a Derby champion and is fully deserving of his lofty position at the head of the betting for outright glory.

That doesn’t mean Ballymac Cooper can’t win. It’s obvious to most that he is amongst the very fastest in training and he boasts a win over Pestana in the semi finals of the Champion Stakes.

Of all the runners in action this evening, none seem as well housed as Ballymac Cooper. With Pestana and Deerjet Sydney expected to cut for the fence from traps five and four respectively, Ballymac Cooper will have the room of Shelbourne Park on the outside of the track and, would he make a fast start, he could find himself in the perfect position on the bend.      

The aforementioned Deerjet Sydney is another entitled to respect. He is normally a flying starter but, in each of his last two outings, he has been a little tardy from boxes before running a big race in defeat.

Were he to find his trapping boots, he would most likely find himself on the fence before the corner and in a position to challenge. Scooby Princess and Da Bold Eagle complete the line up and the pair couldn’t have a more different style of racing.

Da Bold Eagle has big early speed and would need to hit the front early which, in this contest, seems unlikely. Scooby Princess, in contrast, normally does her best work in the closing stages. She found herself in front to the turn last week but don’t expect a similar outcome this evening.

Pestana remains the one to beat, not only in his quarter final but in the Derby itself, and he can dominate from the outset but expect him to be pushed all the way by Ballymac Cooper and Deerjet Sydney.

Heat 4 – TURBO CHARGED TAYLOR

Ahead of his Derby challenge there were real questions about whether NEWINN TAYLOR would get the 550yd trip and whether it would blunt his speed.

Fast forward three weeks and the brilliant Produce Stakes winner has not only answered those questions quite emphatically, but is also now disputing favouritism for the classic.

Last week’s display was a little special. Showing exceptional early dash, the Graham Holland trained star posted an incredible 16.79 to the third turn before running out a convincing winner over Boylesports Xtra in 29.11.

The pair meet again tonight and it could again come down to a straight shootout. The feature of Newinn Taylor’s latest success was the fact that he broke so well from trap five before making full use of his stunning pace to the third turn.

He will need to be every bit as effective to the turn this evening as his kennel companion in trap five, Newinn Lester, won’t give an inch into the turn, while Boylesports Xtra seems certain to flash from trap four before getting to the fence.

The inside trio Indesacthel, Razldazl Peaky and Razldazl Annie are all strong running types and will hope to stay in touch early before running on into the qualifying places. That is easier said than done in a race of this nature.

The presence of Boylesports Xtra is especially inconvenient to those drawn near the fence. Should the Paul Hennessy trained star make his normal flying exit, he should get across to the rail and, on current form, is unlikely to surrender his advantage.

Newinn Taylor is the hot favourite, however, and he can fly up the outside of the track to take up the running before the turn. It will then come down to whether he has built a sufficient lead with Boylesports Xtra likely to close on the run in. Razldazl Peaky can come through for third.    

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HOLLAND’S STARS CAN SHINE IN PLATE

Graham Holland has a particularly strong hand in the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate and it would come as no surprise were he to record a hat trick in this evening’s quarter finals.

Black Parachute set a strong standard last week posting a rapid 29.18 on his way to a facile success. He faces a tougher test in this evening’s final heat but, if shaking off the early challenge of Bhoireann and Lemon Boris, should have too much ammunition for his rivals. Knocknaboul Syd can emerge as the biggest danger from an ideal draw on the fence.  

Holland has two runners in Heat 3 but all eyes will be on Ballyhimikin Jet. He missed the kick and found traffic problems last week before displaying massive pace to qualify in third. He can go considerably faster and stands out as one of the main fancies on the night. It really is difficult to see beyond the son of Droopys Jet and he is nominated to run out an easy winner.

Sweep The Yard could potentially set up a treble for Holland in the opening heat. He displayed massive pace in defeat last week and has been rewarded for his efforts with a perfect draw on the fence in the opening heat. If he can contain Doolin Prince in the opening yards he could run out a convincing winner.

Heat 2 looks a wide-open affair although it could pay to side with Razldazl Monarch. He returned to top form last week, leading early to win in 29.61. He can go faster and may need to in a race where Ballyhooly Cian, Killer Bee, Oran Don and Lemon Ozzy look obvious dangers.

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MEENAGH ALREADY A WINNER IN DERBY

Michael Corr had quite the weekend.

At Shelbourne Park he sent out Meenagh Miracle to qualify for the final twenty-four in the Boylesports Derby, while north of the border he unleashed a potential superstar at Drumbo Park in the form of Dunham Noel.

This week also started with a bang for Michael as it was confirmed that Meenagh Miracle became the first Derby bonus winner as the last standing owner-trained greyhound in the competition. Of course, Michael will be hoping she can qualify for the semi finals on Saturday night but no matter the result, she has earned her owner a €1,500 bonus.  

As it happens, the daughter of Farloe Rumble is also in line for a possible second €1,500 Derby bonus as one of only three bitches remaining in the competition. The others being Scooby Princess and Razldazl Annie.   

The last bonus on offer is for the syndicate owned greyhound to go furthest. There are currently five names battling for that honour - Great Name That, Indesatchel, Ropewalk Bhoy, Razldazl Peaky and Newinn Lester.  

In the case all greyhounds are eliminated in the same round the highest placed greyhound wins the bonus. If 2 or more greyhounds finish on the same placing, the bonus will be divided accordingly.

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FOUR ODDS-ON CHANCES IN DERBY QF’S

For the small punter, the sight of four odds-on chances in the four quarter finals of the Boylesports Irish Derby may be a little disappointing but there will be plenty willing to put the quartet into an accumulator and hope that all goes to script.

The sponsors have installed Ballymac Wild the 4-6 favourite for the opening heat. Liam Dowling’s charge remains unbeaten in the competition and the betting would suggest that Catchmeflying (4-1) and Clona Blaze (9-2) are the main dangers. 

Glengar Bale is another seeking a fourth win on the bounce and he is an 8-13 chance for Heat 2. Newinn Sheedy is the clear second choice in the market at 7-2.

Despite his incredible run of form, Pestana is the biggest of the four heat favourites. The Champion Stakes winner and national record holder for 550yds is an 8-11 chance for Heat 3 where Ballymac Cooper is his main market rival at 15-8.

Following his standard setting 29.11 in the third round, Newinn Taylor is understandably a hot favourite for the final heat. In fact, the Larry O’Rourke Produce Stakes winner is the shortest priced favourite of the round at 4-9.

For the record if you do an accumulator with the sponsors at the current prices, the odds add up to a little over 11-2.

And what if the bookmakers are 100% right? The sponsors betting would suggest the following twelve greyhounds will make the Derby semi finals: Balllymac Wild, Catchmeflying, Clona Blaze, Glengar Bale, Newinn Sheedy, Toolmaker Sydney, Pestana, Ballymac Cooper, Deerjet Sydney, Newinn Taylor, Boylesports Xtra and Newinn Lester.

Quarter final betting from Boylesports:

Heat 1: 4-6 Ballymac Wild, 4 Catchmeflying, 9-2 Clona Blaze, 6 Great Name That, 14 Meenagh Miracle, 16 Ropewalk Bhoy.

Heat 2: 8-13 Glengar Bale, 7-2 Newinn Sheedy, 11-2 Toolmakert Sydney, 7 Kilara Icon, 10 Mustang Firmino, 20 Frankies Jet.

Heat 3: 8-11 Pestana, 15-8 Balllymac Cooper, 7 Deerjet Sydney, 12 Scooby Princess, 14 Waikiki Keano, 16 Da Bold Eagle.

Heat 4: 4-9 Newinn Taylor, 4 Boylesports Xtra, 6 Newinn Lester, 10 Indesatchel, Razldazl Peaky, 33 Razldazl Annie.

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BALE IS BOUNCING

Glengar Bale was very much an unfinished article prior to his Boylesports Derby challenge but in the past weeks, the brilliant son of Barcia Bale and Droopys Smasher has matured and come to hand right in front of our eyes.

A smooth and untroubled winner of his first two starts in the competition, posting 29.40 and 29.15 in the process, he was actually disputing favouritism for the classic ahead of Saturday’s third round assignment.

The hottest favourite of the round, he again emerged a comfortable scorer in 29.45 although he did have to work a little harder than expected after mistiming the start. It is testament to his growing maturity that he quickly recovered and powered to the front by the corner.

And Pat Buckley reported on Monday morning that his star performer was spot on, saying, “He’s in great shape. He missed the kick the other night but ran great to get to the front early. He’s still young and there’s better to come. We got him checked out this morning and he’s perfect.”

He went on, “Obviously with the lockdown he didn’t have as much racing ahead of the Derby as we’d have liked. We did plan to give him an extra race or two ahead of the Derby, as much to see where he wanted to be seeded, but we couldn’t get him on. Thankfully, we made the decision to make him a middle seed and it really suits him.”

Buckley also has Deerjet Sydney remaining and he’s happy with his charge, although not quite as happy with his draw on Saturday night. “Sydney is a right dog but the draw is a worry. He’s mad for the fence as you know. If we could ever just get one for him we’d be delighted. We’ll just have to try and get him through and see what happens next week but I couldn’t be happier with him.”      

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TALKING DOGS IS TALKING DERBY

Talking Dogs is Talking Derby. Ian Fortune is joined by special guests Tommy Lyons & Mortimer Murphy as we look forward to the Quarter Finals this Saturday night in Shelbourne Park. 

Check back next Monday for more. Don't forget to join in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby conversation using #BoyleSportsIGD. 

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EXCEPTIONAL TAYLOR SETS THE PACE TO THIRD TURN

It was going to take some pretty special to knock Pestana off the top of the third bend table.

Step forward Newinn Taylor, who produced an incredible display of pure and raw early speed on Saturday night in the third round of the Boylesports Derby.

The key difference was that, in contrast to his two previous outings, Taylor came away racing, posting a fast 3.33 spilt. He continued to display massive pace around the opening two bends and down the far side before stopping the clock in fastest of the Derby 16.79 to the third turn.

Of course, Pestana wasn’t too far behind on the clock as he produced yet another brilliant display of front running. He was again fastest to the winning line first time up, posting 3.32 while he recorded a wonderful 16.90 to the third turn.

Veteran performer Clona Blaze gave evidence there was still life in his old legs as he recorded a very useful 17.14 in the opening heat while Glengar Bale, despite missing the kick, quickened impressively to lead early before going on to clock 17.16.

*Note - opening and second round leader’s times included to allow for comparison:

Leaders clocks (fastest to slowest):

 

 

 

 

 

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

 

 

 

 

Newinn Taylor

17.22

 

16.79

Pestana 

17.01

16.83

16.90

Clona Blaze

17.46

 

17.14

Glengar Bale

17.08

16.93

17.16

Ballymac Wild

17.36

17.12

17.20

Waikiki Keano

 

 

17.20

Great Name That

 

 

17.40

Scooby Princess

 

 

17.49

Ballymac Cooper

 

16.99

 

Catunda Logan

17.17

17.04

 

Epic Hero

 

17.06

 

Feudal Spirit

 

17.08

 

Newinn Sheedy

17.12

17.09

 

Toolmaker Sydney

 

17.11

 

Boylesports Xtra

 

17.12

 

Da Bold Eagle

17.24

17.14

 

Glory Kilara

 

17.20

 

Newinn Lester

17.09

17.25

 

Razldazl Peaky

 

17.25

 

Wolfe

17.26

17.33

 

Laughil Josh

 

17.38

 

Frankies Jet

17.17

 

 

Jacks Solution

17.20

 

 

Catchmeflying

17.22

 

 

Roanna Bess

17.22

 

 

Bhoireann

17.25

 

 

Deadly Missile

17.27

 

 

Ballymac Lowry

17.33

 

 

Doolin Prince

17.35

 

 

Degrom

17.35

 

 

Athlaccca Zette

17.38

 

 

Ballymac Anton

17.41

 

 

Ardrahan Pinokio

17.48

 

 

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INTRIGUING DERBY DRAW

At this late stage of the Derby, the draw will be of huge significance in the coming fortnight. Certainly, the quarter finals look hugely competitive although the biggest names have largely avoided each other.

The obvious exception is in Heat 3 where Pestana must negotiate another tough draw. The Champion Stakes winner races in the orange jacket of five and will again need to be at his sharpest to come home clear.

Of his rivals Ballymac Cooper stands out as the main threat although Deerjet Sydney and impressive third round winners Waikiki Keano and Scooby Princess could also have a big say.

Following his first win over 550yds at the weekend, Newinn Taylor will be favourite to add to his tally in Heat 4. It goes without saying he will again need to come away racing but, should he do so, he could find himself clear of his rivals which include Boylesports Xtra, Razldazl Peaky and his kennel companions Newinn Lester and Indesatchel.

THE QUARTER FINALS OF THE BOYLESPORTS IRISH DERBY

Heat 1
1 Great Name That
2 Catchmeflying
3 Ballymac Wild
4 Meenagh Miracle
5 Ropewalk Bhoy (m)
6 Clona Blaze (w)
Heat 2
1 Frankies Jet
2 Kilara Icon
3 Toolmaker Sydney
4 Newinn Sheedy
5 Glengar Bale (m)
6 Mustang Firminho (w)

Heat 3
1 Waikiki Keano
2 Scooby Princess
3 Da Bold Eagle
4 Deerjet Sydney
5 Pestana
6 Ballymac Cooper (w)

Heat 4
1 Indesatchel
2 Razdazl Peaky
3 Razldazl Annie
4 Boylesports Xtra
5 Newinn Lester (w)
6 Newinn Taylor (w)

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MORE FIREWORKS IN BOYLESPORTS DERBY

There may have been empty stands at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night but the thousands watching from their homes were treated to some exceptional performances in the third round of the Boylesports Derby, highlighted by the displays of Newinn Taylor and Pestana.

The pair met in the second round with Pestana creating history as he became the first dog to dip under 29 seconds but on this occasion Newinn Taylor went fractionally faster. Pestana was equally impressive, however.    

Of course it was inevitable that a few big names would make their Derby exit and there is no bigger name than that of defending champion Lenson Bocko. Others to see their Derby challenge end included Ballymac Anton, Wolfe, Epic Hero, Ballymac Tas, Feudal Spirit and Our Surprise.    

Heat 1 - BLAZE ON FIRE AS BOCKO IS ELIMINATED

A week to the day after turning four years of age, Clona Blaze claimed a well-deserved eighteenth career victory in the opening heat, although there was less luck for his kennel companion Lenson Bocko with the defending champion crashing out of the competition.

Lenson Bocko had been struggling to find form in recent weeks and this was another lack-lustre effort from the 2019 Derby champ. Missing the kick from trap five and cutting inwards behind runners, he was involved in a bad melee on the corner and was always struggling to qualify.

In contrast, the ever-professional Clona Blaze shot from the outside box and led the field into the turn. Luckily for Clona Blaze, he just managed to clear his nearest rival Coolavanny Chick on the corner, just moments before she was send sideways as the inside five runners all ran into serious crowding.

The Graham Holland trained Clona Blaze suddenly found himself a mile clear of Newinn Sheedy in second. Lenson Bocko was third entering the back straight but Toolmaker Sydney was quickly on his heels and the latter flew up the fence to head the defending champ.

Up front Clona Blaze was on his way to a facile victory. Kevin O’Brien’s brilliant son of Laughil Blake and Coolavanny Pearl raced on to a nine length victory over Newinn Sheedy in 29.48. Toolmaker Syd was a further three lengths away in third with Lenson Bocko’s bid to retain his title ended in fourth. 

Heat 2 – GREAT NAME THAT REMAINS UNBEATEN

Great Name That, trained by Liam Dowling for the Very Quiet Syndicate, was having just his seventh career start in Heat 2 and it’s evident to all that he is improving with each and every outing.

As with the opening heat, the race to the corner was all-important.

Ballymac Tas came away well and seemed perfectly positioned on the fence but Catunda Logan displayed fine early speed to strike the front before the corner. Cutting for the fence, Logan clashed with Ballymac Tas costing both valuable momentum.

Suddenly, in a matter of strides, Great Name That (Droopys Jet/ Ballymac Bonnie) shot around their outside to move from third into a clear lead as they entered the back. Ropewalk Bhoy soon moved second and displayed big pace down the back straight to close on the leader.

Great Name That is a stout stayer, however, and he raced right to the line to emerge a length scorer over his pursuer in 29.49. The battle for third went to Indesatchel a further four lengths adrift.

Heat 3 – BRILLIANT TAYLOR DOMINANT

Newinn Taylor posted a very special clock to the third turn as he displayed awesome early speed to make every inch in Heat 3, in turn completing a wonderful double for his handler Graham Holland.

For the first time in this year’s Derby Simon Taylor’s brilliant son of Droopys Buick and Newinn Expert came away racing from trap five and quickly raced clear of some hugely talented rivals.

As expected, Boylesports Xtra drove inwards from trap four but turned second with Mustang Firmino. The remaining runners which included the brilliant pair of Ballymac Anton and Wolfe could never land a blow.

The Graham Holland trained Newinn Taylor continued to pile on the pressure down the back straight and was five lengths clear as he recorded an incredible 16.79 third bend sectional. He did tie up somewhat up the home straight allowing the gallant Boylesports Xtra to close in second but Newinn Taylor remained clear to win by two and a half lengths in a rapid 29.11. Mustang Firminho was two lengths further adrift in third.  

Heat 4 – BALLYMAC RUNS WILD

Ballymac Wild was always in pole position in Heat 4 as he completed a superb double for Liam Dowling.

A number of the line-up charged the traps ahead of the start but Ballymac Wild made no mistake, coming away fast from the inside box to lead from the very first stride.

Deerjet Sydney was soon in chase and this set up an entertaining clash. Ballymac Wild continued to dictate into the back straight but Deerjet Sydney really put it up to the leader, closing into the third turn to sit right on his heels.

Ballymac Wild closed the door as Deerjet Sydney attempted to make a move on the fence and that secured the win for the favourite. Ballymac Wild flew up the home straight to eventually hit the line four lengths clear in 29.31. Razldazl Annie was a further three lengths adrift in third.       

Heat 5 – BALE JUSTIFIES ODDS

Glengar Bale was the shortest priced winner of the Derby thus far when coming home clear in Heat 5 at odds of 2-11.

Although not the fastest into stride, the Pat Buckley trained Glengar Bale displayed fine early zip to charge to the front before the corner.

In the style of a brilliant greyhound he quickly put distance between himself and his rivals. There was a great battle for second into the third turn. Antigua Sands was second down the back but both Frankies Jet and Kilara Icon flanked her into the third turn.

Kilara Icon was moving with real purpose and made his move up the inside but, when forced to check his stride, Frankies Jet shot into second spot. Glengar Bale remained clear for Jack Buckley and Austin Gleeson and eventually crossed the line with four and a half lengths in hand on Frankies Jet in 29.45. Kilara Icon was just three parts of a length away in third.

Heat 6 – KEANO STRIKES

After two fantastic runs in defeat in the past fortnight, the clues were certainly evident that Tomas Wall’s Waikiki Keano was ready to get his head in front and he put it all together in Heat 6 to open his Derby account.

Ballymac Cooper was the odds-on favourite in six but badly missed the start and found himself last of the six runners into the corner. Thankfully for his ante-post backers, the star performer came through for third but he could never threaten Waikiki Keano.

Meenagh Miracle broke fastest from the inside and moved right giving Feudal Spirit little chance to get racing. Waikiki Keano also broke smartly from four and he displayed better early dash to go to the front.

Once going to the front it was pretty clear the Peter Cronin trained son of Tullymurry Act and Boherna Meg was going to take some stopping. Great credit must go to Meenagh Miracle as she made him work hard for the victory but Waikiki Keano is clearly a greyhound in peak form and he stuck on grimly to hold his rival by a half length in 29.53.

Ballymac Cooper, after staying tight to the fence on the turn, moved into a qualifying position down the back before finishing just a further length and a half adrift in third.  

Heat 7 – REGAL DISPLAY FROM PRINCESS  

Steve Noble’s Scooby Princess was short of luck in her first two runs in the Derby but when it came her way in the penultimate heat she grasped her opportunity with relish. Just moments before the traps opened, a number of the line-up charged boxes.

It was to play into the hands of Scooby Princess who flew from trap two and contained the challenge of Great Eastern on the corner. It was all one-way traffic thereafter. Scooby Princess shook off the challenge of Great Eastern to race into a clear lead down the back straight and she continued to increase her advantage to the third turn.

Catchmeflying displayed superb pace to go second down the back straight but Scooby Princess had an unassailable lead and she powered up the straight to increase it further. The Jennifer O’Donnell trained daughter of Ballymac Eske and Mountaylor Queen raced right away to win by an ever-widening seven and a half length gap in 29.53. Catchmeflying held the late charge of Razldazl Peaky by a neck to take second.

Heat 8 – PERFECT PESTANA

Pestana failed to create history as he did seven days earlier, but the Owen McKenna trained star did produce another near-perfect display in the final heat to confirm his standing as the one to beat in this year’s Derby.

From a tricky draw in four, it was recognised that the brilliant son of Ballymac Best and Coolavanny Pet needed to be at his sharpest and he didn’t disappoint. Making another lightning fast start, he was soon clear of his rivals.

Motoring into the bend, the brindle was over three lengths clear into the turn and he proceeded to increase his lead down the back straight. By the third turn he had over six lengths to spare and still he maintained a powerful gallop.

Newinn Lester improve to move second at the third turn with Da Bold Eagle coming through for third but Pestana was in a different league to his rivals. Des Grace’s Derby favourite raced right to the line to emerge a sensational seven and a half length scorer in 29.15. Newinn Lester was second with Da Bold Eagle a further two lengths adrift in third. 

******

EXPECT STARS TO SHINE ON DERBY STAGE

The third round of the Boylesports Derby is always a special occasion.

Alas, there will be no spectators on hand to witness the finest canine talent on the planet strut their stuff at the home of greyhound racing but, have no doubt, there will be thousands viewing the action from their living room with the action live-streamed on-line and also available on Racing Post TV.

Of course, the headline act for many is Pestana as he bids to follow up his historic, record breaking second round run in an ultra-hot final heat. But there are so many other star names on show and those watching from home seem assured of incredible entertainment no matter the results.

The draw has thrown up some intriguing heats although there are a number of short priced favourites. Given the fact that the action has to be viewed from home, the off-course bookmakers and the tote look likely to be busy.

Certainly, the card seems made for accumulator punters, especially those that aren’t afraid to put in an odds-on shot or two. But be warned, the third round is when shocks can, and often do, come thick and fast.

Heat 1 – BOCKO NEEDS TO FIND FORM AND QUICK

LENSON BOCKO was a sensational winner of the 2019 Boylesports Derby and it seemed fair to suggest he had a better chance than many to become the first greyhound since Spanish Battleship to successfully defend his title.

Fast forward almost twelve months and he remains in a strong position to create history but that comes with the caveat that he finds his best form soon. He has the perfect opportunity to return to wining ways, after three straight defeats, in the opening heat.  

There is no doubt his last three performances have lacked the pure class, raw speed and the spark that have established him as one of the best greyhounds in training but it’s also worth remembering that he had an almost eight month layoff after his Night of Stars success last November.

With the in mind, it’s perhaps fair to expect him to improve for each run and that is why he is chosen to come home in front tonight. His younger kennel companion Newinn Sheedy is disputing favouritism and with reason. He has been foot-perfect in his two outings to date in the Derby and looks likely to race prominently again from a favourable draw in trap two.

If he can contain Lenson Bocko into the bend, then he will be hard to stop. Coolavanny Chick is another entitled to massive amounts of respect. She is amongst the fastest in training and can move as fast as any from the second turn.

The biggest concern for her backers is where exactly will she turn? There is no doubt the weakest part of her race is the run to the turn but, should she turn close, watch out.

Clona Blaze has been an incredible athlete through his career and he has an ideal draw in the stripes, but whether the 2019 Easter Cup champion is still the force of old is debatable. The remaining runner is Soldier Spy. He is certainly talented but he may be biting off more than he can chew in this contest.

Recent evidence would suggest Newinn Sheedy is the one to beat but with Lenson Bocko expected to improve for recent starts and likely to find himself with a little room to get into full stride in the opening yards, he gets the nod to see off Newinn Sheedy and Coolavanny Chick. Whatever the result, it’s a great way to kick off the third round.   

Heat 2 – VALOR TO ROAR BACK TO FORM

BALLYDOYLE VALOR is ready to announce his Derby credentials in Heat 2. You have to take my word for it.

Through 2019 there were no more progressive greyhound in training. Steadily improving with each outing, he ended the year as one of Ireland’s best.

When he returned at the start of the year all signs were that he was ready for a big 2020. Then lockdown hit. There is no question he has yet to produce his best form since the return after the layoff but recent clues would suggest he could put that right tonight.

He ran into a superstar in the form of Glengar Bale last week but displayed far more in defeat than he had done in his three previous losses. His task is far from an easy one this evening with talented racers, Ballymac Tas, Indesatchel, Catunda Logan, Great Name That and Ropewalk Bhoy to contend with but Valor is up to the task.

Indesatchel, Catunda Logan and Ballymac Tas are ahead of Ballydoyle Valor in the market but that doesn’t sit well with this scribe. Indesatchel has shown plenty of pace and power in recent outings but will struggle to lead those on his inner from trap three.

He will finish well but whether he could pick up either Ballymac Tas or Ballydoyle Valor is highly unlikely. Catunda Logan has won his last two starts in real style but both those wins came from the inside box. Tonight he races from four and should he fail to hit the ground running he could find himself in a battle to qualify, let alone win.

That leads us to Ballymac Tas. She is certainly very well housed in red and is unquestionably a really top class performer but she has had a litter of pups and doesn’t seem to be going to the turn as well as in the past.

Great Name That and Ropewalk Bhoy can’t be discounted either, but neither seem likely to set the pace and, in a race of this nature, that’s a problem. In short, Ballydoyle Valor is the NAP selection and at the 7-2 and 4-1 available in places, he is certainly my recommendation as the best bet of the night.

Heat 3 – TAYLOR TO OPEN HIS DERBY ACCOUNT

There’s an argument to suggest that NEWINN TAYLOR produced one of the best displays of the second round, even though he had no answer to Pestana.

Displaying incredible early speed after a flat-footed start, the Produce Stakes champion closed on the leader into the turn and stayed withing striking distance throughout.

When you consider how brilliant Pestana was, it was a hell of a run. It can also be argued that he is the best drawn dog of the entire Derby thus far in Heat 3. With the fast starting, rails-seeking Boylesports Xtra drawn on his immediate inside in four, Newinn Taylor should have any amount of room on the run to the turn.

IN that case, it would be a big surprise if the Graham Holland trained superstar didn’t show his incredible acceleration to lead the field into the turn. With the aforementioned Boylesports Xtra unlikely to stop cutting inwards until he gets to the fence, there is a strong possibility Epic Hero, Wolfe and even the rails runner Ballymac Anton could all find themselves short of room into the corner.

That would leave Mustang Firmino with the ideal opportunity to turn second from a favourable draw in the stripes. Whether he can match Newinn Taylor for raw pace to the third turn is unlikely, but at double figure odds he represents real value. Newinn Taylor remains the one to beat, however.

Of the remaining runners, the one that gets the clearest passage looks likeliest to qualify. On the strength of a rails pitch, Ballymac Anton get the nod to proceed into the quarter finals.

Heat 4 – PUNTERS WILD ABOUT BALLYMAC

The draw could play a big part in the outcome of Heat 4.

On paper, BALLYMAC WILD looks the best draw in red but that is very dependent on him coming away on terms. Should he do so, the rapidly improving tracker has both the pace and physical attributes to force his way to the front into or on the corner.

If he misses the kick, however, he could find himself with a bit more work to do. The reason for this is the presence of Deerjet Sydney in trap four. Much like the aforementioned Boylesports Xtra, Deerjet Sydney is a fast starter that is certain to cut for the fence from trap four.

Were he to clear those in his inner, Deerjet Sydney would take some stopping although getting across the rails-runner Ballymac Wild will be no easy task. In terms of their rivals, Our Surprise is worthy of respect.

A Derby finalist last year only to be withdrawn in the days leading up to the final, the powerful tracker seems to be very well in himself and few will be finishing faster. Whether he is sharp enough to take advantage of any early traffic problems is open to debate, but he could turn closer than last week which would see him emerge as a big threat.  Iconic Rory, Razldazl Annie and Traceys Bob complete the line-up and it’s fair to say all three need some form of luck, although Traceys Bob has shown enough in recent defeats to suggest he could possibly make the frame. Ballymac Wild remains a confident choice but Deerjet Sydney is an obvious threat.     

Heat 5 – BALE CAN STROLL HOME

There seems little point on wasting too many words on Heat 5.

GLENGAR BALE is a long odds-on chance to oblige and, barring accidents, he should come through this test with flying colours. He posted a wonderful 29.15 off a 16.93 sectional last week.

If any greyhound in the Derby is capable of giving Pestana’s week old record a rattle, it’s the brilliant young son of Barcia Bale and Droopys Smasher. If there is to be a shock result, Kilara Icon is perhaps best equipped to provide it. No greyhound has finished faster than the son of Droopys Jet in the last two rounds and, while he may struggle to turn close, he will again fly home. The battle for third could be pretty intriguing. Claims can be made for each of the remaining quartet with Frankies Jet and Antigua Sands well housed on the inside of the track, while the outside duo of Rockburst Mike and Calzaghe Sonic will both finish at speed.

Heat 6 – COOPER TOO HOT TO HANDLE?

Much like Glengar Bale, BALLYMAC COOPER will be very difficult to contain if producing anything like his best form.

He was simply brilliant last week, making virtually every inch in 29.10, and a similar effort would see him account for the progressive and prolific Feudal Spirit.

The latter lowered the colours of Lenson Bock last week, hitting the front before the corner and making all. He will need an equally brilliant display tonight as Ballymac Cooper seems to be right at the top of his game at present.

Of the others, Waikiki Keano has caught the eye in recent defeats. He ran a superb race behind Pestana and Newinn Taylor last week and were he to make a fast start from four, it would be no shock to see him play a big part in proceedings.

Local hero Beechview Cognac has performed remarkably well to get this far but unless he can find another length or two he may struggle to progress. The same can be said for the veteran Cash Is King. A classic winner in his youth, he is in too deep tonight.

Meenagh Miracle ran a fine race behind Razldazl Peaky last week and will be hoping to sneak a place in the quarter finals. If she is to do so she may need a career best effort from a favourable rails pitch. In short, expect Ballymac Cooper to fly to the front before the corner to see off a persistent challenge from Feudal Spirit. Waikiki Keano may not be too far behind.

Heat 7 – A WIDE OPEN CONTEST BUT PEAKY GETS THE NOD

Of all the third round contests, Heat 7 is perhaps the most open and one that would spread opinion the most. In reality each and every runner in the line up has outstanding claims but RAZLDAZL PEAKY carries the best form into the race.

He chased home Pestana in the opening round, posting the second fastest time of the round, before producing a workmanlike display to win his second round heat. He is a greyhound that doesn’t win by far and often saves his best for better company but there seems little doubt he will be a big player tonight.

The race for early supremacy will be an interesting one. Catchmeflying has a favourable draw on the fence should he start on terms and could, very easily, turn in front. He did fade quite notably last week, but Thomas Buggy suggested earlier in the week he would give his charge a few easy days with a view to freshening him up.

If the Catchmeflying from the opening round turns up, he could well live up to his name. Scooby princess lines up in two and is an accident waiting to happen. She has massive pace from the second turn and will be finishing faster than any. If the gaps arrive for her at the right time, watch out!

Laughil Josh is a consistent tracker with fine pace throughout. He of all the six runners is perhaps most dependent on an early advantage. If he fails to turn in front, he is unlikely to force his way into the lead.              

Great Eastern is a true professional and will fly to the corner from trap five. He too must lead the field in the early yards if he it ad to his tally. That leads us to Battle Cry. Although badly housed in six, she has shown signs of a return to her very best in recent weeks. At a big price she could certainly represent value. In a contest where there is a chance of traffic amongst the leaders, she will be finishing fastest. It’s a wide-open contest. Razldazl Peaky gets the nod but it’s purely a token selection.        

Heat 8 – ALL EYES ON PESTANA 

He won’t know it but the eyes of the greyhound world will be on PESTANA in the final heat after his historic, national record-breaking run in the second round.

Should the Owen McKenna trained star hit the lids as he did seven days ago, expect further fireworks but his tendency to edge inwards from a middle draw is a real cause for concern.

So too is the level of opposition he must face. Glory Kilara, Jacks Solution, Deadly Missile, Da Bold Eagle and Newinn Lester are all top-class performers with each is capable of producing a big run.

Gllory Kilara and Jacks Solution are likely to go up strongly up the fence and the same can be said for Da Bold Eagle and Newinn Lester on the outside.

All four would need to lead Pestana into the back straight to score and that is far easier said than done. Deadly Missile is perhaps the only exception to that rule. He has shown simply incredible pace in his last three victories and is an obvious danger to Pestana, but it’s worth pointing out that he has also been easing on the opening bend.  

For what it’s worth, my prediction is that Pestana will most likely out-trap those on his flanks. Jacks Solution is likely to go up fast from trap two, but Pestana can take him on the bend before going on to record another brilliant victory.

Were Deadly Missile to come away racing, he is likely to ease slightly on the bend, which in theory should allow Pestana slingshot past. Either scenario would do Owen Mckenna and Des Grace. The one thing we don’t want happening is Pestana to miss the kick and find traffic on the bend. He deserves better at this stage of the competition. Side with the track record holder to dominate again.

******

PARACHUTE TOO HOT IN PLATE

The opening round of the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate dominated proceedings at Shelbourne Park on Friday night and the Graham Holland trained Black Parachute displayed why so many fancied him to go far in the Derby with a stunning 29.18 victory to set the standard.

The powerful son of Top Honcho and Ballydoyle Honey broke smartly from trap four in Heat 3 and, once clearing the turn, was never under any threat. Drumdoit Bermuda ran a fine race in second but never looked like getting close to the leader.

Instead, Black Parachute, owned by the Parachute Syndicate, raced right to the line to score by an ever-increasing six length margin. Riplay Lad stayed on well to finish just a half length adrift in third.

COMFORTABLE FOR BHOIREANN

Bhoireann ran out a relatively straightforward winner of the opening heat for Gavin Johns and Karol Ramsbottom.

In a contest where the early lead was going to be all-important, the son of Droopys Cain and Cherokee Bride was the most fluent at boxes and he quickly moved into a comfortable lead.

Lemon Boris and Butts Bound turned behind the leader but neither could land a telling blow. Butts Bound emerged as the main danger into the third turn but checked his stride between the last two bends as he seemed to clip the back end of the leader. This cost him any chance and allowed No Green Dye to come through for second. Bhoireann hit the line three and a half lengths clear in 29.64. Third spot went to the fast finishing Florican Velvet.

SYD MAKES ALL

The promising Knocknaboul Syd (Droopys Sydney/ Knocknaboulmadam) held the late charge of Sweep The Yard to claim a third career success in Heat 2.

Making a fast start from four, the Pat Buckley trained Knocknaboul Syd soon moved over a length ahead of his nearest rival Manuka Man to clear the bend.

Thereafter it seemed likely that Pat McElligott’s charge would race clear of his rivals. With three lengths in hand at the second turn and a bigger lead at halfway he seemed certain to run out a comfortable winner but Sweep The Yard had other ideas. Displaying massive back straight pace, he cut through the pack to go second. And for a few strides as they turned for home he seemed likely to collar the leader. Knocknaboul Syd dug in, however, and held off the advances of his pursuer by a neck in 29.45. 

A RIPE EFFORT FROM MANGO

Ravenswood Mango displayed fine early speed to secure a decisive lead in Heat 5 for local handler Liam O’Rourke. Doolin Prince turned second.

The favourite for outright success, Ballyhimikin Jet, found himself short of room from traps and was struggling from the early yards.

Ravenswood Mango continued to set a strong gallop down the back straight and only when they turned for home did she start to show signs of fatigue. By this point Doolin Prince was a little closer, while Ballyhimikin Jet had shown massive speed to move third and close on the leaders. Despite tiring on the run in, Ravenswood Mango held on to see off Doolin Prince by a half length in 29.53.

Ballyhimikin Jet ran a remarkable race to finish just a length and a half away in third.

MONARCH RULES

Razldazl Monarch, trained by Neilus O’Connell for the Kildare-Kilcolgan Syndicate, returned to winning ways in Heat 4.

The key to his success was a fast start from trap four. Once clearing the turn, the strong running son of Makeshift and Razldazl Pru always looked comfortable. Burgess Puma did stay on well in second to close on the run in, but Razldazl Monarch was not going to be denied and he hit the line two lengths clear in 29.61. There was a similar gap to Oran Don in third.

A KILLER BLOW FROM BEE

Peter Comerford and Tony Moore’s Killer Bee brought his career tally to double figures in the final heat when making every inch.

The son of Kinloch Brae and Ballydoyle Honey flashed from the outside box and was never headed once doing so. Lemon Ozzy came out of the pack in the latter stages to take second but there was no catching the strong running Killer Bee, who hit the line five lengths clear in 29.71. Knight Rocker was the third qualifier. 

******

JET TO TAKE OFF IN PLATE

Ballyhimikin Jet was one of a number of Graham Holland trained greyhounds that was expected to go deep into the Boylesports Irish Derby.

Unfortunately for the Champion Stakes winner, luck was not on his side and he made his exit in last weekend’s second round.

Less than a week on, the powerful son of Droopys Jet is a clear favourite for outright success in the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate. He lines out in the last of the five heats and is selected to commence his campaign with a victory.

This is far from an easy assignment for Ballyhimikin Jet. Doolin Prince is perfectly housed on the fence and should give a good account of himself, while Degrom has shown that he can compete at the highest level and is also entitled to respect from trap five. Ballyhimikin Jet should have too much ammunition, however.

DON APPEALS FROM THE DRAW

Picking winners in the opening round of the Plate often proves a difficult task. One that certainly appeals is Oran Don in Heat 4.

In a contest where there is far from an abundance of early speed, the Marie Gilbert trained star has the draw in six to set a strong gallop. If going to the front, he would be very difficult to reel in.

Of his rivals, Rathcoole Foix and Burgess Puma stand out as the biggest dangers. Rathcoole Fox really disappointed in his last two outings, running pretty flat, but there is no doubt he is capable of considerably better.

Burgess Puma is having just his fifth start and seeking his first win at Shelbourne Park but he has shown plenty of raw pace and, were he to start on terms, he could make a bold bid.

BORIS TO SERVE AN ACE

The opening heat of the round is a competitive affair where an early advantage could make the difference.

With that in mind, it’s perhaps best to focus your attention on the most likely pace-setters. Lemon Boris is particularly well housed on the fence. A professional starter, he seems the most likely leader and could prove difficult to reel in if stealing a couple of lengths on the line up.

Bhoireann races on his shoulder and will attempt to deny Lemon Boris the lead, while Razldazl Mya has been running well and could also get involved.   

SYD CAN STEAL A MARCH

Claims can be made for a number of those in Heat 2.

Knocknaboul Syd is perhaps the most likely favourite. He ran a fine race in the opening round of the Derby behind Newinn Sheedy. If he comes away racing, the son of Droopys Sydney could hold the lead around the turn. Ballyhooly Cian has some superb provincial form but has yet to produce his best around Shelbourne.

With that in mind, Sweep The Yard is nominated as the main threat to Knocknaboul Syd. He has shown huge pace in his starts since the return after lockdown and, if the gaps open at the right time, he could have a big say.

PARACHUTE TOO GOOD?

Black Parachute will be warm order in Heat 4.

Blessed with fine pace from start to finish, the son of Top Honcho certainly boasts the best form on offer in the contest. Ripley Lad looks certain to finish fast and could make the frame, while Allaghaun River would have a big say if hitting the lids from trap three.  

******

JET AND PARACHUTE HEAD PLATE BETTING

Ballyhimikin Jet heads the betting for the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate which commences at Shelbourne Park this evening.

Sponsors, Boylesports, have installed the Graham Holland trained star their 5-1 market leader.

Holland is also responsible for the second choice in the market, Black Parachute. Both are expected to start hot favourites for their assignments this evening but whether punters will flood in to the pair at the outright prices has yet to be seen.

Traditionally, the Derby Plate throws up some strange results and it will be interesting to see how this year’s competition plays out behind closed doors. If you are looking for a couple at bigger prices, have a look at the market which is listed below:  

Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate

 5          Ballyhimikin Jet

7          Black Parachute

8          Degrom

8          Knocknaboul Syd

10        Razldazl Monarch

10        Doolin Prince

10        Oran Don

10        Deelish Luke

10        Sweep The Yard

12        Rathccoole Fox

16        Ballyhooly Cian

16        Ripley Lad

16        Lemon Ozzy

16        Burgess Puma

20        Toolmaker Daddy

20        Bhoireann

20        Lemon Boris

20        Manuka Man

25        Killer Bee

33        Butts Bound

33        KIilgraney Vegus

33        Towstar Paddy

33        Allaghaun River

33        Razldazl Mya

33        Patricks Machine

40        Knight Rocker

40        Ravenswood Mango

50        Highview Landing

50        Florican Velvet

66        Drumdoit Bermuda

100      Storys Derek

100      Dromrich Altair

100      Lord Rusty

150      Whitewood Axel

150      Early Rise

150      No Green Dye

******

RECORD TO GO AGAIN IS 4-1

It is no surprise to see sponsors BoyleSports offering prices about the track record to crash again in the BoyleSports Irish Derby.

Available at even money this time last week, Pestana smashed the clock in emphatic fashion on Saturday night and thee firm now go 4-1 from 5-1 about one of the remaining runners going lower than 28.99.

It was one of a number of special prices issued by the sponsors earlier in the week including top bitch, winning trainer, winning seed and whether a bitch will win the classic.

Graham Holland remains favourite to be the winning handler at 13-8. Liam Dowling is next at 11-4 with Pat Buckley at 9-2. If you wish to have a bet on the top bitch market, Coolavanny Chick and Scooby Princess are available at 5-2 with Ballymac Tas third in at 9-2.

The sponsors see an inside seed winning the title with a rails winner quoted at 1-2. It’s 2-1 a wide seed and 7-1 a middle seed capturing the trophy.  

FULL LIST OF THE SPECIALS BELOW:

Track Record To Be Broken Again (28.99): 4-1  

Top Bitch?: 5-2 Coolavanny Chick, 5-2 Scooby Princess, 9-2 Ballymac Tas, 6 Meenagh Miracle, 6 Battle Cry, 6 Antigua Sands, 6 Razldazl Annie

A Bitch To Win The Irish Greyhound Derby: 13-2

Winning Trainer?: 13-8 Graham Holland, 11-4 Liam Dowling, 9-2 Pat Buckley, 17-2 Mark O'Donovan, 11 Robert Gleeson, 25 Paul Hennessy,

Winning Seed: 1-2 Rails, 2 Wide, 7 Middle

******

OWEN DELIGHTED WITH HIS DERBY FAVOURITE

Owen McKenna was obviously delighted with the display of Pestana on Saturday night as he broke both the National record and Shelbourne track record for 550yds but he was also delighted to be present to witness it.

Some thirteen years ago, McKenna trained Catunda Harry to become the first greyhound to break the magical 28 second barrier in the semi finals of the St Leger at Limerick. It was seen as one of the great milestones in Irish greyhound racing but Owen wasn’t even on hand to witness and enjoy it.

Instead he explains, “The English Derby was on at the time and I was flying back to Ireland as he was running. It wasn’t until the plane had landed that I found out he had done the clock. It was the boss [Owen’s wife Sian] that was in charge that night. So, it was great to actually be there on Saturday.”

McKenna was confident there was a massive run in his Champion Stakes runner-up once he came away racing. Said Owen, “The track was in great order on the Friday so you’d have to expect a big run on Saturday if he came away racing. When you look back at the opening round, and the little ground he lost in the early yards, we knew he could go faster. And we weren’t wrong I suppose.”

He once again confirmed that Pestana took the race in his stride, “He’s a simple enough dog, not overly complicated. He loves his routine. He has to be first out of the kennels, first on the run and first to be fed. And he’s a great grubber. Once he’s fed, he’ll jump back on his bed and stick his legs in the air. He knows what he wants.”

As for his second round assignment, Owen is in no doubt that Pestana can handle a tricky draw in four. “He’s handled a trap three draw and he handled five from last week. Obviously, he’s taking on good dogs but he just needs to start. If he does you’d expect him to come through.”

And asked if Pestana can go any faster, he responds, “I don’t care once he just keeps qualifying.”  

Of course, it’s not the first time a member of the McKenna clan made a splash at Shelbourne Park for breaking 29 seconds. Some sixty four years earlier Owen’s father, the late, great Ger McKenna trained the brilliant Prince Of Bermuda to break the 29 second barrier for the first time over 525yds.

When asked if Ger ever spoke of him, “He never shut up about him. He says he was one of the great dogs. John [McKenna] used to get him going though, saying ‘sure what did he beat? They used to be bring dogs in with bailing twine back then’. That used to drive him mad.”

******

PESTANA AGAIN FASTEST TO THIRD TURN

It was no surprise to see Pestana setting an incredible standard to the third turn in the opening round of the Boylesports Derby on Saturday night.

Recording a 16.83 sectional, he kept on rolling to the line to become the fastest greyhound to ever cover 550yds on Irish shores.

It’s worth noting he went two and a half lengths faster than in the opening round. One wonders, would Pestana have done the record from an inside draw last week? The evidence would suggest it is entirely possible he would.

Both Glengar Bale and Ballymac Cooper were also very impressive to the third turn. Glengar Bale again displayed his incredible pace to post a lightning fast 16.93, while Ballymac Cooper was at his very best as he posted 16.99.

Catunda Logan (17.04) and Epic Hero (17.06) also went fast, while the Graham Holland trained pair of Feudal Spirit and Newinn Sheedy were the only others to break 17.10.  

*Note opening round leader’s time’s included to allow for comparison:

Leaders clocks (fastest to slowest):

 

 

 

 

1st round

2nd round

Pestana 

17.01

16.83

Glengar Bale (F)

17.08

16.93

Ballymac Cooper

 

16.99

Catunda Logan (F)

17.17

17.04

Epic Hero (F)

 

17.06

Feudal Spirit

 

17.08

Newinn Sheedy (F)

17.12

17.09

Toolmaker Sydney (F)

 

17.11

Ballymac Wild

17.36

17.12

Boylesports Xtra

 

17.12

Da Bold Eagle

17.24

17.14

Glory Kilara (F)

 

17.20

Newinn Lester (F)

17.09

17.25

Razldazl Peaky

 

17.25

Wolfe

17.26

17.33

Laughil Josh (F)

 

17.38

Frankies Jet

17.17

 

Jacks Solution (F)

17.20

 

Newinn Taylor (F)

17.22

 

Catchmeflying (F)

17.22

 

Roanna Bess (F)

17.22

 

Bhoireann

17.25

 

Deadly Missile (F)

17.27

 

Ballymac Lowry

17.33

 

Doolin Prince

17.35

 

Degrom

17.35

 

Athlaccca Zette (F)

17.38

 

Ballymac Anton (F)

17.41

 

Clona Blaze

17.46

 

Ardrahan Pinokio

17.48

 

******

PESTANA 11/2 FROM 8/1 FAVOURITE TO WIN THE BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY

There was plenty of excitement at HQ over the weekend as the second round of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby took centre stage, but it was Pestana who stole the show yet again.

Pestana became the first greyhound in history to break the 29 seconds barrier over the 550 yards trip on Saturday night as this Owen McKenna trained talent burst from trap one to make all in a dominant performance to record 28.99.

The old track record was recorded in 2015 by Tyrur Van Gaal but Pestana shattered the 29.10 record and has now seen his price plummet into the new 11/2 favourite to win the Derby from 8/1. Newinn Taylor was a brilliant runner-up to Pestana but remains 12/1 to grab the title.

Glengar Bale stole the headlines on Friday night as the Pat Buckley trained youngster skipped round in 29.15, the fastest time of the night with a brilliant sectional of 16.93 to the third bend. His odds were cut into the new 7/1 favourite from 12/1 before Pestana broke the track record 24 hours later.

Ballymac Cooper equalled the previous track record of 29.10 on Saturday which has seen his odds tumble into 10/1 from 16/1 placing him alongside his kennel mate and heat winner on the same night, Ballymac Wild. It was a superb night for trainer Liam Dowling as he had two other heat winners with Ballymac Anton (20/1) and Great Name That (50/1 from 66/1), giving the Kerry man a four-timer on the card. Indeed Ballymac Tas (50/1) also qualified along with Antigua Sands (66/1) meaning the super trainer has six through to the third round.

Epic Hero has been backed into 20/1 from 66/1 following his win on Friday night to clock 29.19 for trainer Thomas O’Donovan. This Produce Stakes finalist was very impressive on just his ninth career start.

Last year’s finalist Our Surprise who unfortunately had to withdraw due to an injury before the final, was back to winning ways as he clocked a flashy 29.53 coming from behind to snatch victory on the line. This Laurence Jones trained black beauty is now 33/1 from 50/1 to win the Derby.

Sarah Kinsella, spokesperson for BoyleSports said: “What an incredible weekend of action for the second round of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby. The stands might have been empty but the atmosphere in the kennels was electric as Pestana broke the track record to clock 28.99. Pestana is now the new 11/2 favourite from 8/1 while Glengar Bale, who was the favourite for about 24 hours after his 29.15 win on Friday night, is the 7/1 second favourite from 12/1. The third round starts Saturday with eights heats, and it promises to be another magical night at HQ.”

BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY 2020

11-2     Pestana

7          Glengar Bale

10        Ballymac Cooper

10        Ballymac Wild

12        Newinn Taylor

12        Lenson Bocko

14        Deadly Missile

14        Toolmaker Sydney

16        Newinn Sheedy

20        Epic Hero

20        Da Bold Eagle

20        Deerjet Sydney

20        Ballymac Anton

20        Catchmeflying

20        Feudal Spirit

25        Wolfe

25        Ballydoyle Valor

25        Coolavanny Chick

25        Jacks Solution

25        Razldazl Peaky

33        Our Surprise

33        BoyleSports Xtra

40        Scooby Princess

40        Indesatchel

40        Kilara Icon

40        Laughil Josh

40        Newinn Lester

50        Glory Kilara

50        Mustang Firmino

50        Great Name That

50        Catunda Logan

50        Razldazl Annie

50        Ballymac Tas

66        Waikiki Keano

66        Soldier Spy

66        Ropewalk Bhoy

66        Clona Blaze

66        Antigua Sands

100      Battle Cry

100      Beechview Cognac

100      Calzaghe Sonic

100      Iconic Rory

100      Meenagh Miracle

100      Rockburst Mike

100      Frankies Jet

100      Great Eastern

100      Traceys Bob

150      Cash Is King

******

28.99 - AN HISTORIC RUN FROM PESTANA

There is no doubt Shelbourne Park is a special place and over the past 92 years has provided many of the greatest moments in greyhound racing history.

The latest of which came on Saturday as Pestana became the first greyhound in Ireland to break the 29 second barrier for 550yds on his way to a sensational victory in the second round of the Boylesports Derby.

The Owen McKenna trained superstar was simply breath-taking, producing one of the most perfect displays ever seen by a racing greyhound as he stopped the clock in a scarcely believable 28.99.

Remarkably, some thirteen years earlier, McKenna also trained Catunda Harry to become the first greyhound in Ireland to break the magical 28 second barrier for 525yd trip. That’s some double.  

Owen McKenna pictured with Pestana.        Pic: Imelda Grauer

Heat 9 – SIMPLY INCREDIBLE

As predicted during the week, Pestana was sent to traps a red-hot favourite to continue his winning ways despite the presence of the brilliant Newinn Taylor.

It was also predictable the pair would dominate the contest itself, although Waikiki Keano did run a magnificent race in third.

But in truth, this was all about Des Grace’s Pestana and his history making exploits. To the eye it was one of the most perfect performances ever seen by a racing greyhound. Making a lightning fast start from the inside box, he never missed a beat, displaying real acceleration to open a clear lead and staying close to the fence throughout.

Newinn Taylor also ran an incredible race in defeat. He mistimed the start from trap five but did show huge pace into the turn to chase the favourite. In fact, Newinn Taylor closed the gap into the turn only to give the ground away by moving off the fence.

Pestana entered the back straight with three lengths in hand. It was clear, even at this early stage, that this was a race against the clock and that Newinn Taylor would not be threatening in the leader. The pair flew into the third turn with Pestana maintaining his three lengths lead and the eye was drawn to the third bend sectional – an incredible 16.83.

Incredibly, Newinn Taylor ran a fine third turn to close the gap slightly but Pestana was still moving with real fluency and he kicked again as they turned for home. He maintained a superb racing line off the final turn and galloped right to the line.

Pestana came home three and a half lengths clear of Newinn Taylor with Waikiki Keano just another two lengths adrift in third. A glance at the clock confirmed he had produced a second run. It needed a second glance to confirm the eyes weren’t playing tricks. Pestana had created history.

In clocking 28.99 he became the first greyhound to break the 29 second barrier for 550yds. He will now take his place in the third round of the Boylesports Derby as the Shelbourne Park track record holder and national record holder for 550yds. 

Heat 10 – ANTON SEES OFF HIS GREAT FOE WOLFE

Not for the first time in their illustrious careers, Ballymac Anton and Wolfe met in Heat 10. Predictably, Wolfe set the pace from the inside trap but, in just his second start since winning the Easter Cup in March, the Graham Holland trained star still looked a little short of his best.

The same could have been said for Ballymac Anton in victory last weekend but on this occasion the son of Ballymac Best and Coolavanny Angie was a little sharper. Soldier Spy and Grandslam Champ were actually the fastest into stride and the former actually set the pace to the turn but it was at this point that Wolfe shot up the fence to take up the running.

Ballymac Anton stayed tight to the fence to chase the pair in third, less than a length and a half behind Wolfe. This left him in the perfect position to strike. Wolfe struggled to get way on his rivals to halfway although he did open a two length margin into the third turn.  

It was at this point that Ballymac Anton made his move. Closing the gap on Wolfe in a matter of strides, he slipped up the inside of his rival before the final turn and quickly moved into a decisive lead.

Staying on well, Ballymac Anton initiated an incredible four-timer for Liam Dowling by crossing the line three lengths clear in 29.43. Wolfe stuck on well to stay second with Soldier Spy a further length and a half away in third.

Heat 11 – WONDERFUL WILD DOMINATES

Liam Dowling was at it again in Heat 11 as Ballymac Wild confirmed his standing as a leading Derby hope with a brilliant front running display.

The Juvenile Classic winner and Champion Stakes runner-up had given plenty of clues in his opening round victory that he was ready to produce a massive run and he didn’t disappoint.

Coming away on terms, the son of Vulturi and Ballymac Breeze was soon in front and, once doing so, was only going to increase his lead. Indesatchel ran a fine bend to move past Iconic Rory for second but his chase was futile.

Ballymac Wild was clear down the far side and he never took his foot off the pedal. Racing right to the line, the July ’18 emerged a superb five and a half length winner in a very quick 29.15. Indesatchel was second, two and a half lengths clear of Iconic Rory in third.

Heat 12 – COOPER SENDS A MESSAGE

Liam Dowling completed a hat-trick in Heat 12 where Ballymac Cooper sent out a clear message to his Derby rivals that he is a serious Derby contender.

He was aided by Deerjet Sydney diving inwards from trap three and finding traffic, but the manner in which Cooper flew into the turn suggests he was going to come home clear anyway.

By the bend, Cooper was three lengths clear and on his way to a facile success. Coolavanny Kyser turned second and displayed fine determination to stay within touching distance to the third turn but he paid the price for his efforts, fading home.       

Instead, Razldazl Annie and Deerjet Sydney displayed fine pace and strength to battle it out for second. Ballymac Cooper was in a different league to his rivals on this occasion, however. The son of Ballymac Matt and Ballymac Scala raced to an easy nine length victory in 29.10 – a time that would have equalled the record prior to Pestana’s heroics. Razldazl Annie got the better of Deerjet Sydney by a short head to take second.

Heat 13 – PEAKY OBLIGES

After a wonderful performance behind Pestana in the opening round, Razldazl Peaky, owned by the Kildare Kilcolgan Syndicate, was a warm favourite to win Heat 13 and, while he did oblige, he had to work far harder than expected.

The Neilus O’Connell trained son of Makeshift and Razldazl Pru shot from trap three and led the field into the turn, just clearing Kilgraney Vegas to set the pace into the back straight. It should have been plain sailing for the favourite once turning in front, but Meenagh Miracle had other ideas.

She carried real momentum into the back straight and raced upsides Razldazl Peaky into the third turn. The race was still in the balance as they hit the home straight, but Razldazl Peaky stays beyond the 550yds and he duly pulled away in the closing stages to secure a workmanlike victory by a length and a half in 29.45. Calzaghe Sonic ran on fast to qualify in third, just a further length adrift.   

 Heat 14 – GREAT NAME GIVES LIAM WINNER NUMBER 4

Not content with three winners, Liam Dowling made it four on the night in Heat 14 with Great Name That motoring home to mow down the long-time leader Da Bold Eagle.

As expected Da Bold Eagle shot up the fence to enter the back straight with a clear advantage but his supporters knew their fate before the third turn as Great Name That, owned by the Very Quiet Syndicate, made his move up the rail.

Great Name That was only fourth into the turn but, staying tight to the fence, was third behind Da Bold Eagle and Priceless Squire as they hit the second bend. Even with six lengths to make up on the leader, Great Name That looked the one to beat.

The son of Droopys Jet and Ballymac Bonnie flew into the third turn to go second along the fence and then set his sights on the leader. Powering up the straight, Great Name That hit the front inside the final 50yds to record a fine success by a length from another fast finisher, Scooby Princess, in 29.50. Da Bold Eagle was just a half length away in third.

Heat 15 – XTRA FOOT-PERFECT

As expected, Derby sponsor John Boyle’s Boylesports Xtra set a searing gallop to the corner in Heat 15 before going on to record a most impressive victory over Traceys Bob.

The runner-up was his only realistic challenger throughout but he struggled to get close enough to mount a serious challenge.

Predictably, Boylesports Xtra broke fastest to lead the field into the turn and he opened up a three length lead entering the back straight. Traceys Bob did close that gap into the third turn to get within two lengths but, as they swung for home, Boylesports Xtra saved ground staying tight to the fence to increase his advantage again.

Staying on strongly, the Paul Hennessy trained Boylesports Xtra raced clear to record a comfortable and mighty impressive three and a half length victory over Traceys Bob in 29.24. Mustang Firmino again displayed fine pace to finish just a neck away in third.   

Heat 16 – SPIRIT SEES OFF KENNEL MATE BOCKO

Reigning Derby champion Lenson Bocko suffered a third defeat in a row in the final heat of the round with his kennel companion Feudal Spirit running out a deserving winner following a most professional display. 

Larry O’Rourke’s Feudal Spirit was having just his tenth career start but he continues to progress each night. The son of Droopys Jet and Kilara Cher flashed from trap three to challenge for the early lead with his kennel companions Ballyhimikin Jet and Lenson Bocko.

We waited for Lenson Bocko to move through the gears into the turn to take up the running but it never came. Instead, Feudal Spirit held off his more illustrious rival to set the pace around the opening two bends.

Turning into the back straight Feudal Spirit held a near three length advantage. By halfway it was three lengths although Lenson Bocko drew closer as they approached the third turn. For a brief moment it seemed that Lenson Bocko was going to challenge the leader but Feudal Spirit ignored the script.

Maintaining a strong gallop all the way to the line, the Graham Holland trained star claimed a seventh career victory in just his tenth career start by two lengths in 29.29. Ballymac Tas was a further half length away in third.

******

BOYLESPORTS DERBY 3RD ROUND DRAW

Heat 1

1 Toolmaker Sydney

2 Newinn Sheedy

3 Soldier Spy

4 Coolavanny Chick (w)

5 Lenson Bocko (w)

6 Clona Blaze (w)

Heat 2

1 Ballymac Tas

2 Ballydoyle Valor

3 Indesatchel

4 Catunda Logan

5 Great Name That

6 Ropewalk Bhoy (m)

 Heat 3

1 Ballymac Anton

2 Wolfe

3 Epic Hero

4 Boylesports Xtra

5 Newinn Taylor (w)

6 Mustang Firmino (w)

Heat 4

1 Ballymac Wild

2 Iconic Rory

3 Razldazl Annie

4 Deerjet Sydney

5 Our Surprise (w)

6 Traceys Bob (w)

Heat 5

1 Frankies Jet

2 Antigua Sands

3 Kilara Icon

4 Glengar Bale (m)

5 Rockburst Mike (w)

6 Calzaghe Sonic (w)

Heat 6

1 Meenagh Miracle

2 Feudal Spirit

3 Beechview Cognac

4 Waikiki Keano

5 Cash Is King (w)

6 Ballymac Cooper (w)

Heat 7

1 Catchmeflying

2 Scooby Princess

3 Laughil Josh

4 Razldazl Peaky

5 Great Eastern

6 Battle Cry

Heat 8

1 Glory Kilara

2 Jacks Solution

3 Deadly Missile

4 Pestana

5 Da Bold Eagle

6 Newinn Lester (w)

******

BOCKO TO BOUNCE BACK TO WINNING WAYS

Lenson Bocko can bring the curtain down on the second round of the Boylesports Derby this evening with the reigning champion likely to appreciate a little extra space in the opening yards from an outside draw.

After some incredible racing last night, this evening’s action could provide even more spectacular displays with the new favourite for outright glory, Pestana set to light up proceedings in the opening heat of the night.

Heat 9 – PESTANA TO DELIVER AGAIN

There was no doubting the brilliance of the opening round display of PESTANA as he set the standard with a 29.21 return.

He will be tested this evening but all evidence suggests he is deserving of his position at the head of the outright betting.

Newinn Taylor is one of the few greyhounds in training with the early speed to match Pestana and many will fancy him to push the favourite but, from an ideal drawn the fence, it really is impossible to oppose Des Grace’s Champion Stakes winner.   

Expect the pair top race clear of their rivals into the turn with Pestana leading into the back straight. It will be interesting to see if Newinn Taylor stays on any better this week.

Heat 10 – WOLFE CAN ROAR BACK TO FORM

The betting for Heat 10 would suggest the two of warriors, WOLFE and Ballymac Anton will battle it out for the victory.

That is perhaps too simplistic a view with the outside trio, Soldier Spy, Grandslam Champ and Athlacca Zette, all capable of going up fast but there is no doubting the two elder statesmen have the form in the book.

Wolfe made a particularly promising return last week, displaying much of his trademark early dash to set a strong gallop. He may have tired in the closing yards but that was to be expected in his first start since capturing the Easter Cup in March.

If, as expected, he comes on for that run he could take some stopping. Ballymac Anton came home in front last week but his display was pretty workmanlike. He will need to be far sharper in the opening yards to contain Wolfe.

Of the remainder, Athlacca Zette seems best positioned to challenge in the stripes but Wolfe remains the choice to make every yard before seeing off his great rival Ballymac Anton.

Heat 11 – WILD CAN PROGRESS

There was so much to like about the manner in which BALLYMAC WILD overcame a bumpy ride to score last week and the Champion Stakes runner-up could go quite a bit faster in Heat 11.

He won’t have things too easy, however, as he must take on the likes of Indesatchel and the brilliant Skywalker Logan.

Ballymac Wild has a favourable draw in five despite being an inside seed. With two relatively slow starters, Benman and Killer Bee, on his flanks he should have room to race in the opening yards and could provide him with the perfect platform.

Of course, Skywalker Logan is entitled to a huge amount of respect with the powerhouse expected to make a bold bid but he must match Ballymac Wild to the turn which could be a big ask. Indesatchel has only had four career starts and is clearly going places, although, he too, tends to do his best work from halfway. It all points to Ballymac Wild getting to the front a little earlier than normal and that could prove decisive. 

Heat 12 – COOPER TO SEND OUT A WARNING

BALLYMAC COOPER is amongst the fastest greyhounds on the planet and he is chosen to send out a warning to his Derby rivals from a favourable draw in Heat 12.

 From trap four, Liam Dowling’s charge should have plenty of room to reach full stride into the turn with Deerjet Sydney expected to dive inwards from trap three.

The latter is an obvious danger after a brilliant opening round display but whether he can match Ballymac Cooper for raw pace is questionable. Ripley Lad is one that could potentially outrun his price.

He is expected to finish with a wet sail but, should Ballymac Cooper come away on terms, it’s difficult to see result other than a comfortable victory for the brilliant son of former Derby champion Ballymac Matt. Deerjet Sydney is the main danger but Ballymac Cooper is nominated as the bet of the night.

Heat 13 – PEAKY TO OBLIGE

Of the 96 second round qualifiers, only Pestana went faster than RAZLDAZL PEAKY last weekend.

Of course, it was Razldazl Peaky that chased home Pestana eight days ago and a repeat of that form will see him come home in front in Heat 13.

In a race where none of the six competitors tasted victory last weekend, Razldazl Peaky has almost half a second in hand on his rivals. Certainly, if coming away as he did last week, Razldazl Peaky looks the most likely pace-setter and, if striking the front, it’s very unlikely he would be picked up.

 Meenagh Miracle is perhaps the greatest threat to the favourite, although Magical Jasper and Calzaghe Sonic also have the pace to play a part, but the vote remains firmly with Razldazl Peaky in a week when his handler Neilus O’Connell recorded his 1000th winner. 

Heat 14 – PRINCESS TO RULE

Da Bold Eagle looks set to dictate the pace in the early yards of Heat 14 with Degrom and Sweetheart Deal likely to turn closest but the vote goes to the Jennifer O’Donnell trained SCOOBY PRINCESS.

The selection ran into a couple of cul de sac’s last week but displayed all of her power and pace in defeat. If the gaps open at the right time she could find herself challenging for the lead off thee final turn and, in that case, she would be too strong for her rivals.

Da Bold Eagle is perhaps the key to the race as far as Scooby Princess is concerned. A fast starter with superb pace to halfway, he can stretch out the field, leaving gaps for the strong runners to find.

Da Bold Eagle isn’t the strongest and, if he stacks up his pursuers around the last two bends, Scooby Princess can come through to score. Of course, Great Name That will also be finishing fast but Scooby Princess can get first run on that rival. 

Heat 15 – XTRA TO DOMINATE

It would come as a major surprise if BOYLESPORTS XTRA didn’t lead his rivals around the turn in Heat 15.

A flying starter with a favourable draw close to the fence, Boylesports Xtra could find himself in the perfect position entering the back straight.

There are plenty of talented tracker in opposition but they must get a clear passage behind Boylesports Xtra to stay in touch. If not, Boylesports Xtra has the back straight pace to put the race beyond their grasp. 

Of the dangers, Mustang Firmino is perhaps the most obvious. He has exceptional pace but is a little inconsistent at boxes. Were he to come away racing, he could really put it up to Boylesports Xtra. Ballymac Wisdom and Monbeg Zinzan are both strong racers and certainly have the pace to challenge in the second half of the race but whether they can turn close enough is debatable.

It's probably safest to stick with Boylesports Xtra. Expect the Paul Hennessy trained Night of Stars winner to set a searing gallop before playing a game of ‘catch me if you can’.

Heat 16 – BRILLIANT BOCKO CAN SCORE

A week after losing for the second time in a row for the first time in his career, expect LENSON BOCKO to stop the rot in the final heat.

The Derby champion certainly had excuses for his defeats in the Champion Stakes decider and last weekend. A change of seeding and a return to a wide draw can see him halt his losing run.

This is no easy task, however. He faces three impressive opening round heat winners including his kennel companions Feudal Spirit and Ballyhimikin Jet. The other opening round winner was Roanna Bess and all three must be respected.

The two remaining runners are also of the highest quality. Ballymac Tas ran up the 2019 English Derby and has an ideal draw on the fence, while Night of Stars winner Lemon Ozzy seems to be finding form and is another to consider in trap 5.     

But there’s no doubt Lenson Bocko remains the one to beat. After finding early crowding from a middle draw in his last two outings, a switch to the outside could have a therapeutic effect on the Derby champion.

With a little extra space to play with, expect the brilliant brindle to hit top stride into the turn to assume control before going on to claim a fourteenth career victory. The hugely fast Ballyhimikin Jet is perhaps the main danger, although the none of the remaining four runners can be ignored.    

******

BALE AND HERO BRILLIANT IN DERBY

The Boylesports Derby continued at Shelbourne Park on Friday night with the opening session of second round heats providing enthralling racing from start to finish.

There were so many wonderful performances but those of Glengar Bale and Epic Hero stood out as they dipped under 29.20. 

Heat 1 – A DEADLY EFFORT FROM MISSILE

Garry Hannon’s Deadly Missile duly obliged at odds on in the opening heat of the second round but he had to work considerably harder than expected.

The son of Skywalker Puma and Coolavanny Ella missed the kick but paced up well to challenge.

However, for the second week running he seemed to ease slightly on the turn and this nearly proved to be very costly. In contrast, Glory Kilara broke smartly to lead into the turn. Razldazl Monarch got up the inside of Deadly Missile on the turn to move second.

Entering the back straight Glory Kilara remained a length in front of Razldazl Monarch, while Deadly Missile was now a further four lengths away in third. The favourite’s chance seemed to be disappearing but he had others ideas.

Razldazl Monarch drew upsides Glory Kilara to challenge on the third turn but Deadly Missile was now much closer after displaying massive back straight pace. The front two continued to battle for the lead at they hit the home turn but Deadly Missile was now on their heels.

Coming between the front two, Deadly Missile launched what was to be a decisive move. The Mark O’Donovan trained star powered to the line to score by three parts of a length in 29.51. Glory Kilara was second with Battle Cry coming home fast to finish a further half length adrift in third.   

Heat 2 – AGE NO LIMIT FOR LESTER 

Newinn Lester, owned by the Hovex Racing Syndicate, may be into his fifth year but the brilliant son of Tullymurry Act and Market Glory continues to perform at the highest level.

He claimed his eighteenth career victory in Heat 2 as he justified a lofty position in the betting.

Jacks Solution was the favourite and seemed on target to score when making a flying start from trap two but he took a slight bump from Lemon Boris on the turn and Newinn Lester took his opportunity to draw closer.

Entering the back straight the big two in the market were side by side. Jacks Solution was close to the fence with Newinn Lester on his outer. The pair had a great buckle to the third turn but, at this point, Newinn Lester drove to the front and he made every inch thereafter.

Staying on to the line, the Graham Holland trained Newinn Lester emerged a length and a half scorer over Jacks Solution in 29.42. Frankies Jet was never far away before finishing a further half length away in third.

Heat 3 – SIZZLING SYDNEY

Willie Hyslop’s Toolmaker Sydney claimed his third win on the bounce in Heat 3 when displaying incredible back straight pace to score.

Great Eastern and Clona Blaze went up fast to challenge for the early lead but their fate was sealed when Toolmaker Sydney moved third.

Great Eastern led the field into the back with Clona Blaze on his shoulder, but the Robert Gleeson trained Toolmaker Sydney moved through the gears to shoot past the pair into the third turn. It was the decisive moment in the contest.

Both Clona Blaze and Great Eastern attempted to come back at Toolmaker Sydney on the run in but there was no catching the new leader. The son of Droopys Sydney and Emers Ivy raced to a three parts of a length success over Clona Blaze in 29.47. Great Eastern was a head back in third.  

Heat 4 – BRILLIANT BALE A DERBY CONTENDER

Jack Buckley and Austin Gleeson’s Glengar Bale was understandably sent to traps the hot favourite for Heat 4 and the son of Barcia Bale and Droopys Smasher proceeded to turn the race into a procession, in turn confirming his standing as one of the fastest young greyhounds in training.

This was an exhibition type display. Breaking smartly from trap five, the Pat Buckley trained star quickly moved to the front and eased right away from the chasing Cushie Wayne down the back straight.

Ballydoyle Valor moved into second approaching the third turn but Glengar Bale was all of six lengths clear and on his way to a brilliant victory. Rockburst Mike flew to challenge Ballydoyle Valor for second on the run in but Glengar Bale was in a league of his own, crossing the line five lengths to the good in a sensational fastest of the Derby 29.15. Rockburst Mike took second by a shorthead from Ballydoyle Valor.  

Heat 5 – A LATE SURPRISE

Our Surprise finally returned to winning ways when coming home in front in Heat 5.

Incredibly, his previous win came in the semi finals of the 2019 Boylesports Derby. Of course, his owners Laurence and Brian Jones went through heartbreak when forced to withdraw him from the final through injury.

Some eleven months on, Our Surprise was a 5-4 favourite for Heat 5 and he duly obliged, although he had to do it the hard way. The son of Tullymurry Act and Corduff Flame made a slick exit but he came out slightly crooked and his first step was a corrective one.

It meant he was out of position behind the early leaders Knocknaboul Syd and Laughil Josh into the turn. With the front two bumping on the turn, Burgess Dakota slipped through on the fence to lead but it also allowed Our Surprise to draw closer on the wide outside.    

Passing halfway the race was in the balance. Burgess Dakota remained in front but Laughil Josh was closing fast, as were both Ropewalk Bhoy and Our Surprise. Laughil Josh took over on the third turn, but Our Surprise and Ropewalk Bhoy kept coming. In an exciting finish, Our Surprise arrived wide and fast to lead in the closing strides.

It would have meant so much to both his owners to see Our Surprise take the verdict by three parts of a length in 29.53. Ropewalk Bhoy again ran his heart out to finish second, while Laughil Josh was a further half length back in third.    

  Heat 6 – SPEEDY SHEEDY

After making virtually every inch in the opening round, the rapidly improving Newinn Sheedy produced another foot-perfect display to continue his winning ways in Heat 6.

Sent off the 1-2 favourite, the son of Coolavanny Jap and Newinn Boodles was dominant as he completed a wonderful double for Graham Holland.

Making a flying start from trap two, Larry O’Rourke’s charge quickly opened up a commanding advantage and he was always in complete control. Cash Is King gave chase for much of the opening half of the contest but he was headed by Beechview Cognac who, yet again, ran a fine race. 

Newinn Sheedy was far too good for his rivals, however. Maintaining a strong gallop all the way to the line, the puppy went on to record a facile four and a half length victory over his pursuer in 29.29. Cash Is King held the advancing Towstar Paddy to qualify in fourth, a further four and a half lengths adrift. 

Heat 7 – LOGAN AT HIS VERY BEST

Michael Byrne’s Catunda Logan gave a clear indication of what he is capable of in, what promised to be a hugely competitive, Heat 7.

Instead, Catunda Logan displayed a clean pair of heels to his rivals in the early exchanges and, in the quick conditions, looked right at home out front.

Litter sisters Coolavanny Chick and Unlock Unlock found early crowding and were well off the pace entering the back. Instead, Catchmeflying chased Catunda Logan down the back straight and looked likely to threaten up the home straight.

The challenge never came, however. Instead, Coolavanny Chick emerged from the pack, displaying massive pace and power, to go second on the run in but it was all too late. Catunda Logan raced on to an impressive four length verdict in a fast 29.31. Coolavanny Chick displayed incredible pace to finish second, a length and a half clear of the tiring Catchmeflying.   

Heat 8 – AN EPIC PERFORMANCE

Epic Hero had given plenty of clues in his most recent outings that he was ready to produce a massive run and it came in the final heat as the Tommy O’Donovan trained son of Droopys Jet and Ravenna flashed from trap three to dictate throughout.

Ger Hutton’s talented young tracker was aided by the inside runners Newline Cody and Rathcoole Fox clashing at traps. The extra space allowed Epic Hero pick his racing line into the turn and he quickly moved into a decisive lead. 

Newline Cody recovered well to chase Epic Hero into the back but the real threat to Epic Hero came from Kilara Icon as he turned on the afterburners down the back straight to move second. Closing around the last two bends, Kilara Icon looked a serious challenger but Epic Hero was in no humour to surrender his lead and he dug in to score by a length in a very fast 29.19. Antigua Sands was a further four lengths away in fourth.   

******

DEBRY CONTINUES AND YOUNG STARS TO IMPRESS

One of the features of the opening round of the Boylesports Derby was the success of the lightly raced greyhounds. Incredibly, fifteen of the twenty-four heat winners had ten races or fewer ahead of the Derby.

It really is a remarkable statistic that confirms that this year is like no other. In previous years many of the fifteen would have had as many as five or six more starts on their card but the loss of three months racing has clearly had a massive impact.

Tonight, the inexperienced runners could again have a huge say in proceedings with the likes of Glengar Bale, Deadly Missile, Jacks Solution, Toolmaker Sydney, Knocknaboul Syd, Newinn Sheedy, Catchmeflying, Burgess Puma, Unlock Unlock, Coolavanny Chick, Newline Cody and Epic Hero all capable of going very close in their respective heats.

Heat 1 – MISSILE CAN GO NUCLEAR

DEADLY MISSILE is one of the very best on show this evening.

Had he negotiated the opening turn with any fluency last week, he would almost certainly have been amongst the fastest heat winners, if not the fastest.

Tonight, he will be a red-hot favourite for the opening heat and it is difficult to see beyond him. Blessed with massive early speed, huge back straight pace and the stamina to see out 550yds strongly, the Mark O’Donovan trained star really has all the qualities needed to become aa Derby champion.

The one concern this evening is a wide draw in five. But fear not. With the slow starting Vigorous Scooby drawn on his immediate inner and Beechview Elsie almost certain to edge inwards from trap three, Deadly Missile could find himself with plenty of room to reach top stride into the bend.

Glory Kilara is capable of shooting up the fence but Deadly Missile is lengths faster than his rivals to the turn and looks set to make very inch. It’s not inconceivable he could give the record a shake if weather and track conditions allow.

Glory Kilara is drawn to emerge as the nearest rival to Deadly Missile, while Razldazl Monarch will attempt to put a slightly disappointing opening round effort behind him to qualify in third.

Heat 2 – VETERAN LESTER TO POUNCE EARLY

NEWINN LESTER may be into his fifth year but the Graham Holland trained star displayed all his brilliant early speed to set a blistering gallop in the opening round.

Coolavanny Chick had to produce a special effort to deny him the victory, but in defeat the veteran gave a clear indication he is still able to compete at the very highest level.

Tonight, he is fancied to take Heat 2 at the expense of impressive opening round winner and Produce Stakes runner-up Jacks Solution. The draw is the all-important factor. From an ideal pitch in the stripes, Newinn Lester, who posted the third fastest sectional to the third turn last weekend, seems likely to get first run on his rival.   

Jacks Solution is capable of a flying start, as he displayed last week and in the Produce Stakes, but he is flanked by two speedsters in the form of Lemon Boris and Frankies Jet and any slip up, however small, could prove costly. In contrast, Newinn Lester has the strong running/ slow starting Dromrich Altair and Redzer Ardfert on his inner.

In short, expect Newinn Lester to lead the field into the back straight before going on to claim the eighteenth victory of his career. Jacks Solution is an obvious threat but don’t be surprised if fast finishing Redzer Ardfert was to arrive late.

Heat 3 – PRINCE CAN GET FIRST RUN ON SYDNEY

Toolmaker Sydney took the unbeaten record of Newinn Taylor in the opening round and will be a big fancy to win Heat 3, but will need to be at his sharpest in this five-dog affair. Instead, DOOLIN PRINCE is given the nod.

The latter produced a professional effort in the opening round, making every yard despite a tough draw, to deny Our Surprise. He has proven in his career that he is very tough to pass and the make-up of this contest should suit.

There’s no question Toolmaker Sydney has a huge engine, but he has yet to prove that he has the early speed to lead this type of company around the turn. Were he to do so, it’s very unlikely to he would be picked up.

In five career starts he has yet to set the pace, however. Great Eastern is likely to go up fast from trap three but tends to steer a middle path, while Clona Blaze will also go up fast from the outside box must lead Great Eastern, which is no easy task. 

With that pair likely to stays off the fence, the door could open for Doolin Prince who, on known form, seems likely to lead Toolmaker Sydney into the bend. It very possible that the top four in the betting could all be within a couple of lengths of each other at halfway but Doolin Prince could get first run into the third turn. That could prove decisive. Toolmaker Sydney is an obvious threat but, at the prices available, can certainly be opposed.

Heat 4 – BALE TO IMPRESS AGAIN

GLENGAR BALE sent out a clear warning last weekend that he is a serious Derby challenger, despite his inexperience, and he can continue his unbeaten passage through the classic in Heat 4 where he is set to start a hot favourite.

The Pat Buckley trained star is bred to stay far further on his dam side but the feature of his opening round effort was the pace he displayed to halfway. In fact, he was the second fastest of 96 qualifiers to the third turn.

With that in mind, it’s highly likely he will dictate again in a contest which lacks a specialized early pacer. Of his rivals, Ballydoyle Valor should offer the most resistance in the early yards and looks the greatest threat in the race itself, but he hasn’t been firing on all cylinders in recent weeks and will need to return to his brilliant best.

If he were to do so he could really put it up to Glengar Bale but, on recent evidence, the favourite should come home clear, further highlighting his Derby claims. The race for third could also be an interesting affair. Rockburst Mike clocked very well from the second turn last week and he get the nod to chase the big two home in third.    

Heat 5 – A NICE SURPRISE

It’s eleven months since OUR SURPRISE missing his engagement in the 2019 Boylesports Derby decider but, after an interrupted year, the powerful son of Tullymurry Act seems to be returning to his very best form.

He produced a superb run in defeat last weekend, overcoming a bad bump on the corner, to chase home Doolin Prince. Tonight could be the night he returns to winning ways at the expense of exciting youngster Knocknaboul Syd.

Ourt Surprise has an ideal draw in the stripes and has the early dash to lead up Ropewalk Bhoy and Ballymac Kingdom on his inner. Both KNocknaboul Syd and Laughil Josh will go up strongly on the inside of the track but they will almost certainly have to lead around the turn to open their Derby account.

The same can’t be said for Our Surprise. A powerful galloper with plenty of stamina, he can win from the front or from off the pace. Given the draw and the likelihood of him turning close, the near veteran is chosen to come out on top at the expense of Knocknaboul Syd. The one potential fly in the ointment is Ballymac Kingdom. Blessed with massive pace, he would have a big say were he to produce one of his better starts.

Heat 6 – SHEEDY LOOKS TOO SHARP        

NEWINN SHEEDY need only repeat his latest fast exit to come home clear in Heat 6.

In a contest where early speed is far from abundant, the talented puppy should be far too quick for those in opposition and is selected to make all the running.

Track champion Beechview Cognac is likely to go up well from trap five, but it’s very difficult to see him containing the favourite into the turn. If failing to do so, it’s difficult to see him worrying the favourite. One that could potentially play a big part is Jirano Classic.

A strong runner capable of a flash start, he could represent some value but you would be depending on him making a lightning fast exit and getting across Newinn Sheedy. That seems a big ask from trap four.

In truth, the market seems to be right in this contest. Newinn Sheedy is an odds-on favourite to oblige and I would expect him to do just that and follow up his latest impressive effort. Beechview Cognac and Jirano Classic are nominated as his biggest dangers.

Heat 7 – CATCH FACES HIS TOUGHEST TEST

Heat 7 is perhaps the most intriguing of the entire round.

Of the fifteen inexperienced heat winners we referenced in the introduction, two of them – CATCHMEFLYING and Coolavanny Chick - line out in this contest and they will be joined by fellow lightly raced stars Burgess Puma and Unlock Unlock.

Catunda Logan is the most experienced runner in the line-up and he has the best of the draw on the fence. He is perhaps the most likely pace-setter although he can be a little inconsistent from traps. Only his best will suffice tonight.

Instead we’ll focus our attention on his less experienced rivals. Both Catchmeflying and Coolavanny Chick were amongst the most impressive winners last weekend. In fact, they were two of the four heat winners to dip under 29.40.

Catchmeflying is one of the best all-rounders in the competition. He goes up well, maintains a strong gallop down the back and stays on strongly. Were he to come away racing from trap three this evening it would need something extraordinary from his rivals to deny him victory.

Coolavanny Chick is capable of such a run, however. Despite finding a little traffic on the first and third turns last weekend, Noel Hehir’s bitch came through to win in most impressive fashion. She clearly has a massive engine and looks a big threat.

On the unofficial clocks, Unlock Unlock was faster than any other greyhound from the second band to the line in the opening round. Her problem has been her starting but, were she to improve in that department, it goes without saying she has the pace to threaten any greyhound left in the competition.

That leads us to Burgess Puma. He was having just his third start last weekend and caught the eye of many behind Glengar Bale. If he were to sharpen up his starting, he too could have a big say.

It really is a fascinating contest packed with potential superstars. Picking a winner is no easy task but on the strength of his 29.36 return seven days earlier, Catchmeflying is just chosen to win for Thomas Buggy.

Heat 8 – HERO CAPABLE OF AN EPIC RUN

EPIC HERO has been on the radar for some time and remains a greyhound waiting to explode on the track scene. Have no doubt he has the pace to challenge and beat the very best but the penny has yet to drop.

He faces some very talented rivals tonight but, after a couple of promising runs in defeat in recent weeks, he is selected to show his many talents this evening. The betting ahead of this contest suggests that recently purchased Newline Cody (see story) and Rathcoole Fox are the big two but both can be opposed.

Newline Cody is very inexperienced and seems to be finding his feet, while Rathcoole Fox produced a very untypical lackluster effort last week. Both are capable of going much faster than last weekend, but so too is Epic Hero.

Another worthy of a big mention is Kilara icon. He was hugely impressive from the second turn last week, displaying massive pace to recover from bad early traffic. His biggest problem is clearing the bend from trap five. The remaining pair, Ardrahan Pinokio and Antigua Sands could also play a part but I’m willing to overlook them for Epic Hero. Much will depend on how he starts, but don’t be surprised if the Tommy O’Donovan trained tracker takes off this evening.    

*****

SHELBOURNE IN TIP TOP SHAPE

Despite the heavy rain and storms that battered much of the country last night, Derek Frehill reports that Shelbourne Park is in top shape ahead of tonight’s Boylesports Derby action.

The head of the Leinster Racing Office suggested that Shelbourne largely escaped the storms and that the place looks ‘immaculate’ ahead of tonight’s racing.

That will certainly come as a great news to all involved and it also banishes the rumours abound on Thursday evening. Indeed, I got one text from the UK no less, suggesting racing was going to be cancelled following reports of heavy flooding. There’s a lesson to be learnt – don’t listen to all you hear.    

******

WYATT OUT OF DERBY

Droopys Wyatt will be a non-runner in the second round of the Boylesports Derby following his withdrawal this morning.

The Robert Gleeson trained youngster was due to race from trap five in Heat 3. The trap will now remain vacant.

******

PESTANA FASTEST TO THIRD TURN

One of the better innovations in recent times has been the introduction of the third bend sectional to the tracks of Ireland. While the clocks are yet to be displayed on the card, it remains a wonderful aid for punters.

I’m a great believer the more information you can provide the public the better and the third bend sectionals really are a step in the right direction. It’s during big competitions that the sectional really comes into its own providing a great yardstick.

You wouldn’t need membership to Mensa to guess that Pestana was the fastest greyhound to the third turn in the opening round of the Boylesports Derby. Des Grace’s brilliant Champion Stakes winner was simply electrifying on Friday evening, posting a fastest of the round 29.21 and it was clear he was doing a pretty special run into the third turn.

Despite cutting inwards at boxes and taking an early bump, the son of Ballymac Best displayed awesome early dash to race clear before stopping the clock in 17.01 for the third turn.  

To highlight the quality of the display, on the corresponding night last year, Grangeview Ten posted the fastest sectional with a 17.04 return. And of course, the same Grangeview Ten happened to come home clear in the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup on Saturday night.

Glengar Bale also clocked extremely well to the third turn. The lightly raced tracker led early to record a slick 17.08 on his way to a comfortable victory. Veteran tracker Newinn Lester also moved with real fluency, posting 17.09. 

Leaders clocks (fastest to slowest):

 

 

Pestana (F)

17.01

Glengar Bale (F)

17.08

Newinn Lester

17.09

Deerjet Sydney (F)

17.11

Newinn Sheedy

17.12

Catunda Logan (F)

17.17

Frankies Jet

17.17

Jacks Solution (F)

17.20

Newinn Taylor (F)

17.22

Catchmeflying (F)

17.22

Roanna Bess (F)

17.22

Da Bold Eagle

17.24

Bhoireann

17.25

Wolfe

17.26

Deadly Missile (F)

17.27

Balllymac Lowry

17.33

Doolin Prince

17.35

Degrom

17.35

Ballymac Wild

17.36

Athlaccca Zette (F)

17.38

Ballymac Anton (F)

17.41

Clona Blaze

17.46

Ardrahan Pinokio

17.48

Cushie Wayne (F)

17.59

******

PESTANA THE NEW 8/1 FAVOURITE FROM 12/1 FOR BOYLESPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY

The Owen McKenna trained Pestana was the talk of Shelbourne Park over the weekend as the BoyleSports Champion Stakes winner clocked the fastest time of the opening round for the 2020 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.

Pestana made all from a tough draw wearing the orange jacket in five but showed his brilliant early pace into the first turn to record a blistering 29.21 winning by a length to Razldazl Peaky on Friday night. Pestana was cut into the new 10/1 favourite following his performance but has since been trimmed further into 8/1 after the draw was made on Saturday night with this flying machine getting that all-important trap one in the second round.

Another top-class performance from Friday night was the Pat Buckley trained Glengar Bale who skipped round Shelbourne Park in 29.40 to win by 4½ lengths and really caught the eye. His strong pace has seen his odds nibbled into 14/1 from 16/1 and is one of many future stars in Buckley’s impressive kennel as his Deerjet Sydney was another winner in 29.39. This son of Droopys Sydney – Madgies Wish was fast away from the boxes and is now 20/1 from 33/1.

Last year’s Derby champion Lenson Bocko grabbed 3rd spot in the race won by Deerjet Sydney with his odds eased out to 12/1 from 10/1 favourite. Newinn Taylor, who was beaten for the first time in his career by Toolmaker Sydney, remains 12/1 while Toolmaker Sydney is 16/1 from 20/1.

Coolavanny Chick caught the eye when winning the first race on Saturday night with her odds crumbling into 33/1 from 50/1. This flying machine dominated the home straight after picking up the leader Newinn Lester to clock a very fast 29.39 coming from behind for owner Noel Hehir. That was just her 8th career start and she is certainly one to keep an eye on for the future.

Newinn Sheedy was another big ante post mover following his 29.47 victory to land heat 19. Trained by Graham Holland who had a successful weekend with numerous qualifiers, Sheedy has tumbled into 33/1 from 66/1 with Knocknaboul Syd a length and half back in second with his odds also trimmed into 33/1 from 50/1.

 Sarah Kinsella, spokesperson for BoyleSports said: “What a fantastic weekend of racing at Shelbourne Park for the opening round of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby. Pestana was the fastest heat winner in 29.21 which has earned him a new spot in the betting as this Owen McKenna star is now the new 8/1 favourite from 12/1. Lenson Bocko has been eased out to 12/1 from 10/1. Coolavanny Chick was very impressive and is now 33/1 from 50/1. The draw for the second round has been completed and we are looking forward to another weekend of top-class action.”

BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY 2020

8          Pestana

12        Lenson Bocko

12        Newinn Taylor

14        Glengar Bale

16        Deadly Missile

16        Toolmaker Sydney

16        Da Bold Eagle

16        Ballymac Wild

16        Ballymac Cooper

20        Ballydoyle Valor

20        Ballyhimikin Jet

20        Catchmeflying

20        Deerjet Sydney

20        Ballymac Anton

25        Coolavanny Chick

25        Jacks Solution

25        Newinn Sheedy

33        Unlock Unlock

33        Lemon Ozzy

33        Wolfe

33        Newline Cody

33        Ballymac Kingdom

33        Razldazl Peaky

33        Knocknaboul Syd

33        Rathcoole Fox

33        Feudal Spirit

40        Degrom

40        Monbeg Zinzan

40        Indesatchel

40        Roanna Bess

40        Doolin Prince

50        Skywalker Logan

50        Razldazl Annie

50        Ballymac Tas

50        Coolavanny Kyser

50        Lemon Boris

50        Great Name That

50        Ripley Lad

50        Redzer Ardfert

50        Laughil Josh

50        Our Surprise

50        Scooby Princess

50        Razldazl Monarch

50        Mustang Firmino

50        Toolmaker Daddy

50        Slippy Cian

66        Bhoireann

66        Droopys Wyatt

66        Glory Kilara

66        Ropewalk Bhoy

66        Soldier Spy

66        Catunda Logan

66        Antigua Sands

66        Burgess Puma

66        Kilara Icon

66        Clona Blaze

66        BoyleSports Xtra

66        Epic Hero

100      Rockburst Mike

100      Towstar Paddy

100      Calzaghe Sonic

100      Deadly Do Lago

100      Battle Cry

100      Beechview Cognac

100      Traceys Bob

100      Razldazl Mya

100      Jirano Classic

100      Ardrahan Pinokio

100      Newinn Lester

100      Great Eastern

100      Traceys Bob

100      Grandslam Champ

100      Iconic Rory

100      Kilgraney Vegas

100      Meenagh Miracle

100      Priceless Squire

100      Vigorous Luke

100      Vigorous Scooby

100      Benman

100      Athlacca Zette

100      Ballymac Wisdom

100      Burgess Dakota

100      Glengar Mary

100      Killer Bee

100      Magical Jasper

100      Waikiki Keano

100      Knight Rocker

100      Sweetheart Deal

150      Frankies Jet

150      Cushie Wayne

150      Cash Is King

150      Beechview Elsie

200      Drumdoit Bermuda

200      Ferdia

200      Storys Derek

200      Lord Rusty

250      Dromrich Altair

******

BOYLESPORTS DERBY 2ND ROUND DRAW

It was late into Saturday night when the draw for the second rounds of the Boylesports Derby came to a conclusion.

There were some very notable seeding changes with Lenson Bocko and Ballymac Cooper now wide seeds.

The draw has thrown up some really mouth-watering clashes, but the meeting of Pestana and Newinn Taylor in Heat 9 on Saturday looks a little special.

Boylesports Derby - second round draw

FRIDAY AUGUST 21st

Heat 1

1 Glory Kilara

2 Razldazl Monarch

3 Beechview Elsie

4 Vigorous Scooby

5 Deadly Missile

6 Battle Cry

Heat 2

1 Lemon Boris

2 Jacks Solution

3 Frankies Jet

4 Redzer Ardfert (w)

5 Dromrich Altair (w)

6 Newinn Lester (w)

Heat 3

1 Toolmaker Sydney

2 Doolin Prince

3 Great Eastern

4 Lord Rusty

5 Droopys Wyatt

6 Clona Blaze (w)

Heat 4

1 Cushie Wayne

2 Deadly Do Lago

3 Ballydoyle Valor

4 Glengar Mary

5 Glengar Bale (m)

6 Rockburst Mike (w)

Heat 5

1 Laughil Josh

2 Burgess Dakota

3 Knocknaboul Syd

4 Ballymac Kingdom

5 Ropewalk Bhoy (m)

6 Our Surprise (w)

Heat 6

1 Vigorous Luke

2 Newinn Sheedy

3 Towstar Paddy

4 Jirano Classic

5 Beechview Cognac

6 Cash Is King (w)

Heat 7

1 Catunda Logan

2 Burgess Puma

3 Catchmeflying

4 Unlock Unlock (m)

5 Coolavanny Chick (w)

6 Storys Derek (w)

Heat 8

1 Newline Cody

2 Rathcoole Fox

3 Epic Hero

4 Antigua Sands

5 Kilara Icon

6 Ardrahan Pinokio (w)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 22nd

Heat 9

1 Pestana

2 Waikiki Keano

3 Bhoireann

4 Toolmaker Daddy (m)

5 Newinn Taylor (w)

6 Sippy Cian (w)

Heat 10

1 Wolfe

2 Ballymac Anton

3 Knight Rocker

4 Soldier Spy

5 Grandslam Champ

6 Athlacca Zetta (m)

Heat 11

1 Indesatchel

2 Iconic Rory

3 Skywalker Logan

4 Benman

5 Ballymac Wild

6 Killer Bee (w)

Heat 12

1 Razldazl Annie

2 Coolavanny Kyser

3 Deerjet Sydney

4 Ballymac Cooper (w)

5 Ripley Lad (w)

6 Drumdoit Bermuda (w)

Heat 13

1 Magical Jasper

2 Kilgraney Vegas

3 Razldazl Peaky

4 Meenagh Miracle

5 Ferdia (w)

6 Calzaghe Sonic (w)

Heat 14

1 Da Bold Eagle

2 Great Name That

3 Scooby Princess

4 Degrom (m)

5 Sweetheart Deal (w)

6 Priceless Squire (w)

Heat 15

1 Monbeg Zinzan

2 Boylesports Xtra

3 Ballymac Wisdom

4 Razldazl Mya

5 Mustang Firmino (w)

6 Traceys Bob (w)

Heat 16

1 Ballymac Tas

2 Roanna Bess

3 Feudal Spirit

4 Ballyhimikin Jet (m)

5 Lemon Ozzy (w)

6 Lenson Bocko (w)

******

DERBY OPENING ROUND CONCLUDES

Just 96 greyhounds remain in Boylesports Irish Derby after the concluding opening round heats on Saturday evening at Shelbourne Park.

As you would expect there were some really taking performances in Saturday’s session and the honour of going quickest went to Coolavanny Chick as she stormed home to take Heat 13. 

Heat 13 – CHICK TAKES OFF

Coolavanny Chick came home well to lead late in the first of the evening’s twelve heats but that scarcely describes the impressive nature of her victory.

Noel Hehir’s daughter of Droopys Sydney and Toms Delight broke fast to challenge for the early lead but Newinn Lester displayed fine early speed to quicken to the front.

With the latter cutting the corner, Coolavanny Chick had to slightly check her stride which allowed Razldazl Monarch up her inside. As they entered the back straight Newinn Lester had two and a half lengths in hand on Razldazl Monarch, who in turn had a length to spare over Coolavanny Chick.

It was a similar story passing halfway but as they approached the third turn, Coolavanny Chick started to shift through the gears. Moving second at this point, Coolavanny Chick set her sights on Newinn Lester. In an exciting finish, Coolavanny Chick was too strong for the long-time leader and she came through to score by a half length in 29.39. Razldazl Monarch was another three lengths away in third. Vigorous Luke was the fourth qualifier.

Heat 14 – DETERMINED DEGROM COMES OUT ON TOP

After a fine double the previous evening, Pat Buckley was on the mark again in Heat 14 with Tom Quinn’s Degrom showing great determination to see off the persistent challenge of Coolavanny Kyser.

Degrom came away racing from the outside box and seemed set to lead around the turn, but Soldier Spy and Coolavanny Kyser weren’t too far away and when the former ran off the turn, he clipped the heels of Degrom.

This allowed Coolavanny Kyser to join Degrom between the opening two bends. The son of Pat C Sabbath and Cabra Fifi quickly regained his momentum, however and drove the second turn to take up the running once again. Once doing so he was never going to surrender his lead.

Coolavanny Kyser attempted to get back on terms but Degrom is a strong runner and raced right to the line to score by three lengths from Coolavanny Kyser in 29.63. Third spot went to Soldier Spy who finished a further length and a half adrift. Glengar Mary was the fourth qualifier.   

Heat 15 – BHOIREANN WINS WELL

Early speed was the key to success for Bhoireann in Heat 15 as he shot to the front on the corner before building an unassailable lead.

Manuka Man was actually fastest into stride but couldn’t contain Gavin Johns’ son of Droopys Cain and Cherokee Bride.

Bhoireann really motored to halfway to put the result beyond doubt and, while Ballymac Tas emerged from the pack to chase home the leader, there was no way he was going to surrender his lead. 

The Karol Ramsbottom trained Bhoireann raced on to a deserving length verdict over Ballymac Tas in 29.68. Sweetheart Deal ran well to finish just three lengths away in third, while Rathcoole Fox also progressed to the second round.

Heat 16 – FEUDAL DISPLAYS REAL SPIRIT

Larry O’Rourke’s Feudal Spirit continues to progress with each run and he displayed fine pace and determination to come home clear in Heat 16.

Feudal Spirit was the first to hit the ground from trap four and led in the early yards but Ballymac Lowry displayed big early dash to shoot up the inside and lead on the turn.

Ballymac Lowry led by a length between the bends but Feudal Spirit ran a tremendous second turn to join his rival and the pair raced neck and neck to the third turn. At this point Ballymac Lowry held a narrow advantage but again Feudal Spirit ran a great bend to hit the front between the last two bends.

By this point both Monbeg Zinzan and Traceys Bob were closing but there was no way Feudal Spirit was going to come back to his rivals. Staying on well, the son of Droopys Jet and Kilara Cher increased his lead to the line to score by a length and a half in 29.72. Monbeg Zinzan took second, a length to the good over Traceys Bob with Calzaghe Sonic getting up late for fourth.

Heat 17 – JET TAKES FLIGHT

Graham Holland had the top four in the betting for Heat 17 so it was no surprise to see him winning with Ballyhimikin Jet but he would have been disappointed to see both Newinn Session and Black Parachute making their exit after an opening bend clash.

Wolfe was having his first start since capturing the Easter Cup but he displayed no signs of rustiness in the early yards, breaking smartly from trap four before charging into the lead before the turn. As Wolfe edged inwards, Ballyhimikin Jet was left room to race in trap five and he was in the perfect position at the turn, slipping around second.

In contrast Newinn Session and Black Parachute clashed at this point, leaving both trailing the field. Wolfe continued to dictate down the back straight but he started to show one or two signs of fatigue approaching the third turn.

John and Billy Dunne’s Ballyhimikin Jet was on his heels at this point and starting to advance. Going to the front as they entered the home straight, Ballyhimikin Jet (Droopys Jet/ Garryvoe Budgie) powered home to record a superb three length victory in 29.58. Wolfe held off Lemon Ozzy to take second while Burgess Dakota was the fourth qualifier.  

Heat 18 – GREAT RUN FOR THAT

Great Name That didn’t look a likely winner in Heat 18 when entering the back straight almost eight lengths adrift in fourth.

Up front Lemon Boris set the pace to the turn after a flying start but he was pursued by both Frankies Jet and Zingers.

Frankies Jet charged into the third turn to head the early leader but it was the challenge of Zingers that threw the race wide open. The latter shot up the inside of the front two at the third turn. As the outside pair edged inwards, the trio clashed and Zingers was forced to check off the turn.

This left a gap up the fence and Great name That arrived with a rush to take full advantage. Shooting up the fence, the powerful son of Droopys Jet and Ballymac Bonnie hit the front before the final turn and then raced clear to record a comfortable three length success in 29.94. Frankies Jet stayed on for second with Vigorous Scooby recovering from a tardy start and early traffic to take third just a head adrift. Lemon Boris qualified in fourth.

Heat 19 – SPEEDY SHEEDY MAKES ALL

After winning with Feudal Spirit earlier in the evening, owner Larry O’Rourke completed a superb double in Heat 19 with the hugely promising Newinn Sheedy.

The Graham Holland trained son of Coolavanny Jap and Newinn Boodles broke smartly from trap three and was soon in front.

Knocknaboul Syd turned a close second, while Run Happy found traffic problems in third, leaving the front two in the clear. The order of the front two never changed thereafter despite the best efforts of Knocknaboul Syd to bridge the gap.

Newinn Sheedy galloped on strongly to emerge a length and a half scorer in 29.47. Knocknaboul Syd ran well in defeat in second, some two and a half lengths clear of Toolmaker Daddy. Deadly Do Lago was the fourth qualifier.   

Heat 20 – BEE LANDS A LATE KILLER BLOW

Killer Bee was a real star in his youth but a serious injury almost ended his career.

After a year off the track and a successful rehab, the powerful son of Kinloch Brae and Ballydoyle Honey returned to the action in June.

While he may not be the tracker he once was, he certainly seems to be enjoying his racing and he was at his most determined in Heat 20 where he claimed a first win since April 2019.

This was an eventful race. Killer Bee, owned by Peter Comerford and Tony Moore, broke smartly but was outpaced and could only turn fifth. In contrast, Killahan Gangster and Aardrahan Pinokio went up fast on the outside of the track to set the pace.

Slippy Cian and Scooby Princess emerged as serious dangers into the third turn, but something had to give. Both Scooby Princess and Slippy Cian were forced to check leaving Ardrahan Pinokio to open a clear advantage. He seemed certain to open his account once doing so but Killer Bee had other ideas.

Killer Bee slipped up the inside of Scooby Princess to move third and, when Slippy Cian drifted wide at the final turn, he moved second. Killer Bee was now in full stride and he flew to the line to collar Ardrahan Pinokio by a neck in 29.92. 

Heat 21 – BALLYMAC RUNS WILD

Ballymac Wild has already won the Juvenile Classic and run up the Boylesports Champion Stakes and there seems every chance he could go deep in the Derby if his winning display in Heat 21 is any indication.

Liam Dowling’s talented son of Vulturi and Ballymac Breeze came away on terms but soon challenged fro second spot behind the professional starter Great Eastern. He ran a fine opening bend and seemed likely to move beyond the leader as they entered the back straight but Great Eastern tends to steer a middle path and he got in the way of Ballymac Wild.

As this was happening Newline Cody challenged on the inside of the track. The race was really on as they motored into the third turn. Newline Cody seemed to have the room to make a decisive move, but Ballymac Wild had other ideas. Sweeping to the front on the bend, he quickly moved on to run out a four length winner in 29.56. Mustang Firmino caught the eye, emerging from the pack to go second, while Newline Cody was three lengths away in third. Great Eastern qualified in fourth.

Heat 22 – ANTIGUA WINS ON IRISH RETURN

As a youngster, when known as Ballymac Beach, Antigua Sands was a very talented lady.

Fast forward over a year and she returned to Irish shores after a successful spell in the UK and the evidence of her run in Heat 22 would suggest she’s still a very talented type.

Liam Dowling’s daughter of Ballymac Vic and Rockaway Beach was never too far off the pace which was set to the turn by Battle Cry, but later by Clona Blaze. The latter took control on the bend and tried to shake off those in behind.

It was clear into the third turn he was going to struggle to do so. Both Antigua Sands and Drumdoit Bermuda were advancing at this point and the former got first run, slipping through on the fence to lead the field around the final two turns.

Drumdoit Bermuda soon moved second and did close on the new leader up the straight but Antigua Sands held on to score by a length in 29.75. Battle Cry was a further length and a half away in third, while Clona Blaze made it through to the second round in fourth. 

Heat 23 – PRINCE RULES

The penultimate heat of the round saw the Marie Gilbert trained Doolin Prince display fine early zip to overcome a tricky draw in five.

The inside seed needed to be at his sharpest as he just cleared Ravenswood Mango, who was forced to check wide.

She in turn cannoned into Our Surprise which was to prove the pivotal moment in the contest. Doolin Prince continued to set a strong gallop but Our Surprise quickly recovered to move second and was only three lengths adrift as they entered the back straight.

Doolin Prince increased his lead fractionally to the third turn but it was inevitable that the powerful gallop, Our Surprise would come back at him on the run in. this was indeed the case with Our Surprise closing fast as the line approached, but Doolin Prince is a strong runner himself and he dug deep to contain his rival by a neck in 29.61. There was an eight length gap to Lord Rusty in third with Benman in fourth.

Heat 24 - A BOLD DISPLAY BY DA EAGLE

Philip McDonagh’s Da Bold Eagle displayed his qualities in the final heat of the round as he shot into an early advantage before the turn.

In doing so he avoided a scrimmage that affected many of the field and left him clear.  

Passing halfway with an eight length advantage, the Mark O’Donovan trained Da Bold Eagle was never going to be reeled in. Magical Jasper turned second and closed with each stride from the third turn but it was a futile chase.

Da Bold Eagle continued to race clear and he eventually coasted home a two and a half length scorer over Magical Jasper in 29.82. Ballydoyle Valor was the same distance away in third. Epic Hero was fourth.

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EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME IN DERBY

A further twenty four greyhounds will be eliminated from the Boylesports Derby this evening, leaving us with a field of 96 greyhounds ahead of next weekend’s second round.

Tonight’s action looks even more competitive than Friday’s with fewer odds-on chances to speak of.

Of course, there will be the usual shocks and a couple of stand-out performances but qualification is the main aim for those hoping to see their charge go deep into the competition. 

A heat by heat guide to tonight’s action:

Heat 13 – CHICK CAN FLY

Saturday’s action gets underway with an intriguing contest. Razldazl Monarch, Coolavanny Chick and Newinn Lester are expected to dominate the betting but choosing a winner from the trio is no easy task.

All three have strong claims but after an impressive 29.50 return in her previous start, the vote goes to COOLAVANNY CHICK.

Noel Hehir’s talented lady has fine pace throughout and seems suited by Shelbourne Park. Much will depend on the opening exchanges, but she is flanked by slower starters and should be close to the pace into the turn.

Newinn Lester looks the likely leader but the veteran struggled to get home in his latest outing. He may need another run or two to reach peak fitness. Razldazl Monarch is fresh from a tremendous victory in the Killeacle Dowling Memorial at Tralee. He did manage to squeeze in a trial at Shelbourne which will certainly work in his favour and he stands out ass an obvious threat.

Heat 14 – DEGROM TO SHINE FOR BUCKLEY

After posting a double on Friday in the heat, Pat Buckley will be looking for further success in Heat 14 where DEGROM stands out as a serious challenger.

He won well from the outside box in mid-July, posting a very useful 29.58 and a similar return would see him take some stopping.

Indeed, it would be no shock if he were to go even faster given his progressive profile. From an ideal draw on the fence, Coolavanny Kyser stands out as a serious rival. He is three or four lengths a better greyhound when wearing the red jacket and he won’t be shy of support.

Of the remainder, Pat Buckley’s other runner Glengar Mary must be respected. She has been in fine form over further in recent weeks and is likely to stay on well.

Heat 15 – FOX TO POUNCE

RATHCOOLE FOX will be a short price to begin his Derby bid with a victory in Heat 15.

A hugely talented tracker with big pace from start to finish, he may need to be at his sharpest with the likes of Ballymac Tas and Bhoireann to contend with. Rathcoole Fox is certainly up to the task, however.

Capable of a fast start, the Graham Holland trained tracker stays beyond the 550yd trip and, were he to strike the front, would be nearly impossible to reel in. Ballymacc Tas is clearly a big threat, although the 2019 English Derby runner-up isn’t quite firing on all cylinders at present.

Of the remainder, the consistent Manuka Man, who happens top be a half brother to Rathcoole Fox, could play a big part is producing one of his better starts. He too stays further than 550yds and could outrun his price.

Heat 16 – ZINZAN CAN COME OUT ON TOP

MONBEG ZINZAN may only have six races to his name but the talented son of Skywalker Luke has already caught the eye on more than one occasion and looks certain to appreciate a switch to Shelbourne Park.

After a couple of promising trials, he has the draw in Heat 16 to make a bold bid. Blessed with fine pace throughout he need only hold his rails pitch into the turn top find himself close enough to strike. Ballymac Lowry looks the most likely pace-setter but his stamina is far from proven.

In fact, he has only four races on his card and has never given any indication that he needs 550yds. If he is to strike, he must build a clear advantage.

The same can’t be said for top UK challenger Calzaghe Sonic. Now housed with Martin Lanney, he is a powerful galloper and faces a favourable draw in the stripes. He could well emerge as the greatest danger to the selection, although he will need to be at his sharpest in the opening yards. Feudal Spirit is another worthy of a mention. A progressive type with five wins from eight starts, he would emerge as a big player if taking a flash start from four.

Heat 17 – SESSION TO SEE OFF HIS KENNEL COMPANIONS

Graham Holland must have had his head in his hands as the draw was made for Heat 17 as, one by one, runners from his kennel were called out.

In all he is responsible for four of the six runners and it’s conceivable they will fill the top four places in the betting.

Likeliest to head in the market is the exciting NEWINN SESSION. He suffered his first defeat in the semi finals of the Produce Stakes but gave evidence that he was going to really relish the 550yd test at Shelbourne when posting 29.33 in his latest trial.

He won’t need to go much faster tonight, although he will need to come away racing from trap two. Of his kennel companions, it’s difficult to nominate the biggest danger from Black Parachute, Wolfe and Ballyhimikin Jet. All three are proven performers with exceptional pace.

Wolfe hasn’t been seen since capturing the Easter Cup and, while he is getting on, he remains one of the fastest in training. If he were to come away racing from trap four, his rivals could find themselves chasing shadows.

Heat 18 – EARLY SPEED THE KEY FOR BORIS

Pat Buckley’s kennel certainly seems to be firing at present and he has a lively challenger in Heat 18 where LEMON BORIS seems the likely leader.

The son of Barcia Bale is a professional at boxes and should turn in front if containing the likes of Zingers, Patricks Machine and Frankies Jet into the bend.   

None of those mentioned are stout stayers by any means, so an early advantage could make all the difference. Of the remainder, Great Name That and Vigorous Scooby will be finishing well but they could find themselves struggling to stay close to the leaders into the back straight. Great Name That is a talented youngster and can emerge as the biggest threat, but Lemon Boris can hold on to provide Pat Buckley with another winner.

Heat 19 – HAPPY TO RUN FREE

Eleven months after finishing third in the 2019 Boylesports Derby, RUN HAPPY is back for another Derby challenge.

The brilliant son of Tullymurry Act has had an interrupted few months but after two promising recent trials he may be forward enough to do himself justice in Heat 19.

The Pat Buckley trained star is blessed with brilliant early speed as his run in last year’s Derby decider will testify. The draw tonight is far from ideal but if he hits the ground running, as he so often does, he could find himself in the driving seat by the corner.

Picking the most obvious danger is not easy but there was much to like about the Shelbourne debut of Ballymac Notisme last week. After missing the kick he did show pace to grab third and it seems safe to say he will go considerably faster tonight. Newinn Sheedy and Knocknaboul Syd are also worthy of a mention. Both are relatively lightly raced and have shown plenty of ability. Deadly Do Lago will be finishing strongly. 

Heat 20 – OUTNUMBERED CAN IMPRESS

OUTNUMBERED has often given the impression he was ready to take the step up to the next level.

That theory will be tested tonight when he lines out in trap two in Heat 20. An impressive winner over 550yds around Shelbourne in June, he has the draw to emerge triumphant this evening.

Flanked by strong runners, Outnumbered need only come away on terms to finds himself in the perfect position to strike as they hit the corner. Slippy Cian is now a veteran but can never be discounted, especially over 550yds. Were he to pout his best foot forward from trap four he could make a bold bid.

Scooby Princess enters the contest on the back of a brilliant display in the final of the Shelley Fennelly memorial at Cork. She isn’t the fastest into the corner but few will be finishing faster. Much will depend on whether Outnumbered hits the ground running. If doing so he could potentially make every inch.

Heat 21 – WILD JUST GETS THE VOTE

In what looks a hugely competitive affair, Champion Stakes runner-up BALLYMAC WILD just gets the nod ahead of Mustang Firmino and Newline Cody.

Expect the trio to head the market and, should all three come away on terms, they could also dominate the contest itself.

Ballymac Wild has suffered a further defeat since his run in the Champion Stakes but he does seem to be maturing into a very talented performer. The biggest concern for his backers is his inconsistency at traps but were he to add that string to his bow he could emerge as a serious Derby challenger.  

With that in mind he gets the nod. Much of the same can be said for Mustang Firmino. He too often leaves his chance at traps but there is no doubt he has the pace to challenge and beat the best in training. 

Newline Cody is taking his first steps outside puppy company and faces a tough draw in three. With the professional trapper Great Eastern drawn on his inside, newline Cody will need a flying start to get loose in the opening yards. This has the potential to be a cracking contest, but it could pay to stick with Ballymac Wild.

Heat 22 – OLD MAN BLAZE TO SCORE

2019 Easter Cup champion CLONA BLAZE may have turned four years of age this month but he retains plenty of ability if his recent efforts are to be believed.

A professional starter with big early speed, he can make the most of a favourable draw in trap five to dictate the pace.

Of course, were he to mistime hiss start that would throw this contest wide open with little separating the remainder in terms of ability. Antigua Sands is an interesting runner for Liam Dowling. She has returned from the UK and has an ideal draw on the fence. It’s worth noting she has impressed around Shelbourne in the past.   

Battle Cry is another talented lady. She was areal star at the back end of 2019 and, while she has failed to sparkle in recent outings, she could be just one run away from returning to her best. She will finish fast and, were the gaps to open at the right time, she could arrive late. Butts Bound and Drumdoit Bermuda are perhaps best equipped to turn closest to Clona Blaze. Both are entitled to run well, but whether they can pick up Clona Blaze is open for debate. 

Heat 23 – SURPRISE TO DELIGHT

There was real disappointment for Laurence and Brian Jones last September when they were forced to pull OUR SURPRISE from the Derby decider just at the time when he seemed to be reaching the very peak of his powers.

He returns to the scene of his greatest displays tonight and has the perfect draw to perform at his best in Heat 23. With Doolin Prince expected to cut inwards from trap five, Our Surprise should have the room of Shelbourne Park in the early yards and that can make all thee difference.  

Swanley Chick is well found in the market after posting new figures for the 525yd trip at Dundalk in her latest outing, but she is far from certain to get loose in the early stages. She remains a danger, as does the aforementioned Doolin Prince, but Our Surprise may have too much ammunition for his rivals if avoiding any mistakes at trap rise.

Heat 24 – VALOR TO CLIP EAGLE’S WINGS

Da Bold Eagle may be a shorter price that BALLYDOYLE VALOR in the outright betting, but expect the latter to show his worth in the final heat.

A progressive tracker through 2019, Ballydoyle Valor established himself as one of the fastest in training at the back end of the year and could yet play a big part in this year’s Derby.

Blessed with tremendous pace and power, he rarely runs a bad race and is made for the 550yd trip. Da Bold Eagle is clearly a very talented tracker himself and boasts a record of six wins from seven starts. Whether the extra twenty five yards will work in his favour has yet to be seen, however.

Certainly, if Da Bold Eagle is to score, he must strike the front in the opening yards. Ballydoyle Valor is a stronger running greyhound and, were he to turn on his heels of Da Bold Eagle, he would probably have too much power for his rival.

Epic Hero and Sweep the Yard are also entitled to respect. Epic Hero, in particular, seems to be developing into a serious greyhound. He was far from disgraced in the Produce Stakes decider and gives the impression there is better to come. 

******

PESTANA SETS THE PACE AS DERBY GETS UNDERWAY

The 2020 Boylesports Derby got underway at Shelbourne Park on Friday night and, as you would expect, there was the usual mix of surprise results, brilliant performances and one or two big name eliminations.

Pat Buckley posted a fine double with both Glengar Bale and Deerjet Sydney impressing but the undoubted star of proceedings was the Owen McKenna trained Champion Stakes winner Pestana as he recorded a rapid 29.21 to set the standard.

Heat 1 – BRILLIANT BESS OPENS DERBY

Roanna Bess continued her rapid rise up the ranks, opening the Derby with a brilliant display of front running.

In what was only her seventh career start, Adrian Maher and Robbie O’Neill’s daughter of Droopys Cain and Ravenswood Jodie forced her way to the front at the turn and then always had enough in hand to contain the persistent Razldazl Annie.

The latter was actually fastest from traps and led in the early yards but Roanna Bess displayed fine early speed to join her rival before going to the front on the turn. In truth, no other greyhound landed a telling blow thereafter.

Razldazl Annie closed on the leader to sit just a length behind at the third turn but Roanna bess is a strong runner and she maintained a powerful gallop all the way to the line to score by a half length in 29.45. Jirano Classic was a further five lengths adrift in third while Cash Is King was the fourth qualifier from the heat. 

 Heat 2 – GLENGAR STROLLS HOME

Sent to traps a 1-2 chance, the Pat Buckley trained Glengar Bale had clearly read the script ahead of the second as he dominated from start to finish.

Owned jointly by Jack Buckley and Austin Whelan, the son of Barcia Bale and Droopys Smasher is amongst the favourites for outright glory and he won in very straightforward fashion.

Making a slick exit, the July ’18 whelp quickly moved into a commanding advantage, increasing his lead down the back straight. The inexperienced Burgess Puma displayed fine pace to move second and did close on the leader in the latter stages, but Glengar Bale cruised home a four and a half length winner in 29.40.

Burgess Puma caught the eye in second, while Ballymac Kingdom ran on well after early traffic to grab third, a further six lengths adrift. Dromrich Altair was the fourth qualifier.

Heat 3 – SYDNEY SCORES AS TAYLOR SUFFERS FIRST DEFEAT

Newinn Taylor was a red-hot favourite to maintain his unbeaten career record in the third heat but it was to prove and unlucky thirteenth start for the Produce Stakes winner.

In contrast, Toolmaker Sydney, who was having just the fifth start of his career, ran wonderfully well to come home in front for Willie Hyslop and Robert Gleeson.

Newinn Taylor walked from trap six but displayed his brilliant early dash to lead the field on the turn. He could never build a decisive lead, however. In fact, he was only a length and a half to the good entering the back straight with Waikiki Keano hot on his heels.

Just behind them was Toolmaker Sydney and he displayed real pace into the third turn to move second. Once moving second there was a certainly inevitability about the result. Newinn Taylor was starting to show signs of fatigue and Toolmaker Sydney drove his way to the front before the home turn.

Waikiki Keano came after Toolmaker Sydney but there was no catching the son of Droopys Sydney and Emers Ivy as he held on to score by a neck in 29.72. Newinn Taylor suffered his first defeat a further length and a half adrift in third. Towstar Paddy was the fourth qualifier.

Heat 4 – DEERJET TAKES OFF TO BEAT BOCKO

Reigning Derby champion Lenson Bocko suffered an odds-on defeat in Heat 4, finishing third although it could have been far worse.

The favourite missed the kick from trap three and that could prove a blessing as impressive winner Deerjet Sydney flashed from trap four before cutting straight for the fence. 

Once getting to the front Deerjet Sydney was always in complete command and he duly ran out an easy winner, completing a double for Pat Buckley in the process. Buttsys Bengal gave chase for much of the way but eventually ran out of steam. Lenson Bocko was only fourth into the turn and had to battle for room to race around the opening two bends.

Meanwhile Dee4rjet Sydney raced into a clear advantage to halfway and, staying tight to the fence throughout, ran out a comfortable and mighty impressive four length winner in 29.39. The battle for second was far closer. Lenson Bocko seemed set to take second but drifted off the final turn allowing Razldazl Mya to come through on the inside to finish four lengths behind the winner in second. Lenson Bocko was just a neck away in third. Priceless Squire was the fourth qualifier. 

Heat 5 – PESTANA MEANS BUSINESS

Heat 5 saw Des Grace’s Champion Stakes winner Pestana (Ballymac Best/ Coolavanny Pet) sent out a loud and very clear warning to his Derby rivals that he means business.

From a tricky draw in five, the Owen McKenna trained Pestana came away racing but took a couple of bumps as he looked to get to the fence.

Thankfully, his brute early speed carried him to the front and this proved decisive. The strong running Razldazl Peaky turned second but could never get close enough to worry the hot favourite. Pestana flew down the back straight to maintain a near four length lead into the third turn.

As you would expect, Razldazl Peaky ran on strongly up the straight but Pestana was to emerge a comfortable length winner in a brilliant 29.21. Redzer Ardfert caught the eye finishing fast in third a further three lengths adrift. The fourth qualifier was Laughil Josh. 

Heat 6 – A FLYING RUN FROM CATCH

John and Michael Byrne’s Catchmeflying produced a wonderful performance to add to his already impressive tally in Heat 6.

The Thomas Buggy trained youngster only turned two this month but he is showing real maturity to match his ability. 

In what was his first outing over 550yds, the son of Sh Avatar and Roseville Liz came away well and quickened into the turn to lead Beechview Cognac. The latter shaped as though he was going to challenge into the third turn but Catchmeflying seemed to sense his presence and he kicked again.

From the third turn there was no doubt about the result with the leader easing clear in the style of a greyhound with a big future. At the line Catchmeflying had five lengths in hand in 29.36. Second spot went to the staying on Meenagh Miracle with Beechview Cognac just a short head away in third. Kilara icon ran on for fourth.  

Heat 7 – JACK HAS THE SOLUTION

After chasing home Newinn Taylor in the Produce Stakes, Eric Cantillon’s Jacks Solution returned to winning ways in Heat 7 when lowering the colours of the hot favourite Ballymac Cooper.

The pair had contrasting luck with Ballymac Cooper taking a bump at boxes and being forced to come through the pack.

On the other hand, the Peter Cronin trained Jacks Solution came away well and displayed fine early dash to race to the front before the turn. Once going to the front, the son of Ballymac Vic and Rocken Pearl was always in control and he duly cruised home a three length winner in 29.45.

Despite his early problems, Ballymac Cooper came through to take second with Knight Rocker a length and a half back in third. The fourth qualifier was the rank outsider Storys Derek.

Heat 8 – ANTON OBLIGES

Ballymac Anton may be approaching his fourth birthday but the Leger and Gold Cup hero continues to win races at the highest level.

Sent to traps the 4-6 favourite for Heat 11, the son of Ballymac Best and Coolavanny Angie, along with many of his rivals, seemed to charge traps but soon got racing.

Ferdia took a flier from trap four but was soon headed. A line of three raced into the turn but, importantly, Ballymac Anton had the inside line. Romeo Speedy was sitting a close fourth but he ran off the turn carrying both Pacemaker Ted and Ripley Lad with him.

Suddenly, Ballymac Anton was clear of the field and on the way to his twenty second career victory. Glory Kilara was now in chase but there was no way in which Ballymac Anton was going to hand away his advantage. Staying on well, Liam Dowling’s charge hit the line four lengths clear of the fast finishing Ripley Lad in 29.69. Glory Kilara was a further length and a half away in third with Ferdia staying on well to grab fourth.   

Heat 9 – BOY OH BHOY

Ropewalk Bhoy, owned by the Christo Balbriggan Syndicate, was a popular local winner of Heat 9 as he came storming through at the third turn to take charge.

Gaytime Milo seemed likely to turn in front after going up well from trap four but he seemed to ease slightly on the turn, taking a bump from Cushie Wayne as a result.

The latter then moved to the front but he was challenged by Jirano Jet at halfway. With Cushie Wayne edging off the fence in an attempt to contain his challenger, he left a gap up the fence for Ropewalk Bhoy to aim at. 

A regular at Shelbourne Park, the Liam O’Rourke trained Ropewalk Bhoy didn’t need a second invitation. Driving into the space at the third turn he quickly moved into a decisive lead. Cushie Wayne came again up the run in but Ropewalk Bhoy (Laughil Blake/ Ravenswood Emily) held on to score by a length in 30.03. Grandslam Champ was a length and a half away in third while Ballymac Wisdom ran on to grab fourth.  

Heat 10 – LOGAN GIVES RIVALS THE SLIP

Catunda Logan was at his sharpest in Heat 10 as he claimed a ninth career victory.

Perfectly housed on the rail, Catunda Logan soon mastered Iconic Rory into the turn and shot clear of his rivals down the back straight.

Michael Byrne’s son of Tullymurry Act and Catunda Yvonne stayed tight to the fence and moved with real fluency to go five lengths clear as they entered the back straight. Kilgraney Vegas gave chase at this point but was never going to threaten the leader. In fact, the leader increased his lead to nearly eight lengths into the third turn. 

Unlock Unlock displayed huge pace for the third week running to come through the pack for second. She flew up the home straight to close on the leader and ran well to get within a length but Catunda Logan always looked comfortable as he stopped the clock in 29.56. There was a further five and a half length gap to Kilgraney Vegas in third, while Iconic Rory chased the trio into the next round in fourth.

Heat 11 – INDESATCHEL OPENS ACCOUNT IN STYLE

You can be certain that any young greyhound that opens his career account in a Derby is capable of going on to big things. Indesatchel certainly fits that description.

Trained by Graham Holland for the Pillar Syndicate, the son of Skywalker Puma and Champagne Doll had caught the eye in his previous starts when storming home in second.

A week on he was a 6/4 chance to go one better and he duly obliged in style. Athlacca Zette displayed a fine turn of early speed to set a strong gallop around the opening two bends but he could never shake off Indesatchel.

The favourite actually ran a great turn to enter the back just a length behind the early leader. Athlacca Zette remained in front down the back straight but it was clear into the third turn that Indesatchel was too close and he shot up the rail to move to the front.

Staying on to the line, Indesatchel went on to score by a length and a half from Athlacca Zette in 29.51. Droopys Wyatt was a length and a half away in third with Rockburst Mike staying on in fourth.

Heat 12 – A DEADLY RUN BY MISSILE

Garry Hannon’s Deadly Missile was far from foot-perfect in the final heat but he did show exceptional pace as he saw off Boylesports Xtra after a protracted battle.

A week after posting the fourth fastest time ever recorded for the 550yd trip at Shelbourne Park, the Mark O’Donovan trained Deadly Missile was understandably sent to traps the 4-5 favourite.

All seemed to be going to plan as the son of Skywalker Puma and Coolavanny Ella broke smartly to lead into the turn. Despite cutting straight for the fence from a wide draw, Boylesports Xtra was a close second but things changed dramatically at the bend.

Deadly Missile stayed off the fence and seemed to miss a step, allowing Boylesports Xtra to shoot through on the fence. Two lengths down into the turn, Boylesports Xtra actually entered the back with two lengths in hand.

Deadly Missile quickly recovered, however, and he displayed huge pace down the back straight to rapidly close the gap on the new leader. As they approached the third turn Deadly Missile flew up the inside of Boylesports Xtra to regain the lead.

Boylesports Xtra came back at the leader, as did Skywalker Logan in third, but Deadly Missile wasn’t going to surrender his advantage again and he stuck on grimly to beat Boylesports Xtra by a half length in 29.60. Skywalker Logan was just a length and a half away in third. Beechview Elsie was fourth.   

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DERBY NON-RUNNERS

Priceless Blake, Jaytee Havana and Priceless Jet became the latest names to be withdrawn from the Boylesports Derby.

Reserves have yet to be announced.

A full list of the non-runners to date:

Friday

Heat 1: Priceless Blake & Fainne Chiarrai

Heat 4: Deadly Dynamite

Heat 6: Jaytee Havana

Saturday

Heat 16: Priceless Jet

Heat 23: Swanley Chick

******

AND SO IT BEGINS…

Thirty six days from today, the 2020 Boylesports Derby winner will be crowned at Shelbourne Park.

The eventual winner will have negotiated six rounds, seen off 143 rivals and competed for less than three minutes in total but their name will be forever known as a Derby champion.

It’s the hope and dream of any man, woman or child that puts a lead on a greyhound that they will eventually be a part of a Derby winning victory. This year’s Derby journey starts this evening and for the next five weeks all roads will lead to Ringsend for the most enthralling racing action imaginable.

As it happens, many of the more fancied runners in the outright market will take their first steps to potential Derby glory in tonight’s opening session with defending champion Lenson Bocko leading the way.

The brilliant brindle races in the white jacket of three in Heat 4 and faces a stiff enough test in what will be just his third run since late November.

There will be a number of short priced favourites which could lead to a chess like battle between punters and bookmakers. The likes of Glengar Bale, Newinn Taylor, the aforementioned Lenson Bocko, Pestana, Ballymac Cooper and Ballymac Anton could all starts odds-on this evening and many punters will be doing an accumulator.

The action commences at 7.46pm and will conclude almost three hours later at 10.42pm. Let the search for winners commence and, once again, we’d like to wish the best of luck to each and every person connected to one of the Derby contenders.

A heat by heat guide to tonight’s session:

Heat 1 – DUKE TO RULE

A competitive way to start proceedings. DOOLIN DUKE is a likely favourite to claim the opening heat of the 2020 Boylesports Derby.

He was last seen when finishing third to his then kennel companion Newinn Taylor in the Larry O’Rourke National Produce Stakes, but has since changed hands and will tonight have his first start for his new owner Kenny Glen and trainer Pat Buckley.

A trap five draw is far from ideal, but the son of Laughil Duke is blessed with fine pace and power and should clear Florican Velvet in four in the opening yards. Reigning English Derby champion Priceless Blake is lightly raced this term but his latest sprint trial suggests he is in good heart. If he is to challenge, he must come away racing and head the rails runner Razldazl Annie in the opening yards.

Roanna Bess, is instead, nominated as the main danger to Doolin Duke. She has turned into a wonderful performer and has tremendous pace from start to finish. Incidentally, former Produce Stakes champion Cash Is King will race in the stripes as a replacement for Fainne Chiarrai.                                

Heat 2 – BALE TO IMPRESS

New kid on the clock GLENGAR BALE is fancied, by many, to go far in this year’s Derby and he will be one of the shortest priced runners on the night in Heat 2 where Ballymac Kingdom stands out as the obvious danger.

The latter really hit form in recent weeks, running out a brilliant winner of the Corn Cuchulainn.

It wouldn’t normally be seen as an ideal prep for the Derby but it might be just what the doctor ordered as far as Ballymac Kingdom is concerned. He had endured some rough passages in his previous nine starts over four bends and would have gained some valuable confidence in the Corn Cuchulainn.

It goes without saying Ballymac Kingdom would take some stopping if he were to hit the ground running but Glengar Bale may get first run tonight and that could prove decisive. It is difficult to make a case for the remaining runners ahead of the big two in the market, although Burgess Puma is worthy of a mention. He has shown real ability in just two previous outings and posted a quick 28.31 in a recent trial at HQ.

Heat 3 – LUCKY NUMBER 13 FOR TAYLOR

I would predict that NEWINN TAYLOR will start the shortest priced favourite of the night in Heat 3.

The Produce Stakes winner is twelve from twelve and looks certain to make it thirteen on the bounce from a favourable draw in the stripes.

The Graham Holland trained star has sensational pace to the third turn and few, if any, in the Derby will be able to contain him to that point.

Of his rivals tonight, Toolmmaker Sydney looks the biggest danger. He has only four races to his name, opening his account last time out. Blessed with massive pace down the back straight, he may need to sharpen up in the early exchanges to really threaten. Ballymac Juliet and Waikiki Keano  both have some useful form and seem well housed on the inside of the track but it will need something special to worry the favourite. This could prove to be yet another procession for Newinn Taylor.

Heat 4 – BOCKO’S TOUGH START

Defending Derby champ LENSON BOCKO can get his Derby bid off to a winning start in Heat 4, although the draw does offer some obstacles to Graham Holland’s superstar.

With a clear passage, Lenson Bock would almost certainly emerge triumphant, but nothing will come too easy tonight.

Buttsys Bengal races on the fence and is likely to go up fast. The lightly raced tracker has shown real sprinting prowess and should race prominently. With no Shelbourne Park form on his card, it will be interesting to see how he handles the opening turn.

Deerjet Sydney was an impressive winner last time out, making all in 29.40 but he would far prefer a rails pitch. From trap four he represents a potentially big problem to Lenson Bocko. With the Pat Buckley trained Deerjet Sydney expected to cut inwards in the early exchanges, Lenson Bocko may need a flying start from three to avoid getting into bumping match.

Oran Don is the best drawn dog in the race in five. With the Marie Gilbert trained star likely to get a clear run in the opening yards he could emerge as the main danger to the Derby champ. Incidentally, Deadly Dynamite is reported a non-runner from trap two in this heat with his place expected to go to Jirano Classic.

Heat 5 – PESTANA TO LEAVE RIVALS STANDING

Champion Stakes winner PESTANA is another that will start a hot favourite when he lines out in Heat 5.

Few can match the Owen McKenna trained star to the third turn and, should he come away racing, he can overcome a tricky draw in trap five.

In a contest where early speed is not abundant, Pestana can open a race-winning lead by halfway. The likes of Razldazl Peaky, Lenson Blinder, Meenagh Maestro and Redzer Ardfert will all finish well but Pestana remains the one to beat. Laughil Josh is the best drawn dog in the contest and will bid to turn second.

Heat 6 – EXPECT A FLYING RUN FROM CATCH

In one off the most competitive races of the entire opening round, claims can be made for many of those in Heat 6.

That said, CATCHMEFLYING looked a real prospect in his latest start at Shelbourne, posting a rapid 28.26 for the 525yd trip.

In victory he displayed tremendous early dash and the longer run to the turn over the 550 Derby trip should suit the Thomas Buggy trained youngster. Shelbourne favourite Beechview Cognac is seeking his tenth win of the year from trap five and is likely to give his all once again, while Kilara Icon has huge pace should he turn prominently from the inside trap.

Another with strong claims is Meenagh Miracle. She has failed to get loose in recent outings but has tremendous pace and can’t be dismissed. Cabra Ava and the lightly raced Jaytee Havana will be bigger prices but neither can be completely ruled out in a contest of this nature. 

Heat 7 – CAN COOPER HANDLE DRAW?

This heat is all about whether BALLYMAC COOPER handles the inside draw. So often he has shown a tendency to edge inwards from the outside of the track but I’m certain Liam Dowling was hoping for a middle draw when he changed the seeding of his star to inside.

If Cooper comes away on terms and stays straight into and around the turn, he should come home clear but there is an ‘if’ attached to that statement. Jacks Solution, following his wonderful display in the Produce Stakes decider, is the clear and obvious danger.

He has superb pace into the turn and continues to improve. Were Jacks Solution to get loose, Ballymac Cooper could find himself with a mountain to climb. The four remaining runners would definitely need the big two to slip up to come out on top.

Heat 8 – OLD MAN ANTON TO SHINE

While it’s unknown how Ballymac Cooper will handle an inside draw, the same can’t be said for his kennel companion BALLYMAC ANTON.

The Leger and Gold Cup winner loves the fence and should take some stopping in Heat 8 where he races from trap two.

Glory Kilara, drawn on the fence, will be hoping to deny Ballymac Anton the early lead but that is easier said than done. Ballymac Anton is a big, powerful and very determined tracker and one suspects he will be ready to race.

Romeo Speedy and the aforementioned Glory Kilara could emerge as the greatest dangers, although the strong running Ripley Lad won’t be shy of support either.

Heat 9 – THERE’S WISDOM IN FOLLOWING BALLYMAC

This is another heat where claims can be made for almost every runner.

BALLYMAC WISDOM is perhaps the most likely favourite but she may have to do it the hard way with a couple in this contest capable of going up fast.

Jirano Jet is the most interesting runner in the race. He has shown plenty of ability and could find the draw in his favour if starting on terms. He posted 28.72 in a recent solo at Shelbourne and wouldn’t need to go much faster tonight.

Gaytime Milo is also one to note. The lightly raced tracker took a tumble in his latest outing but had shown real promise on debut, winning in 28.49. He may be suited by the extra yards into the turn and is one to consider.      

Ballymac Wisdom is the proven runner, however. And were she to avoid early traffic, she could prove too strong for her rivals at the business end.

Heat 10 – UNLOCK HAS THE KEY

UNLOCK UNLOCK is selected on potential rather than recent form.

Yes, she did come from well off the pace to win last time out but will need to go considerably faster than the 30.01 she posted in victory.

That is entirely impossible, however. It’s worth remembering she came from behind to beat the hugely talented Droopys Curio to score in 28.15 at Newbridge back in March. Tonight’s test is even stiffer with the likes of Catunda Logan, Deelish Luke and Iconic Rory to contend with.

Catunda Logan is ideally drawn on the fence and stands out as a massive player. He will need to dictate from the early yards but that is conceivable. Deelish Luke is a progressive young tracker with plenty of pace and power from the second turn. Whether he can match Unlock Unlock for brute strength is unknown but he can’t be dismissed.

Iconic Rory is a very interesting runner. He hasn’t been seen in some time but did show glimpses of real ability in the O’Neills Dogfood National Puppy Stake at Shelbourne at the back end of 2019. If Pat Norris has him on top form he could raise an eyebrow or two.

Heat 11 – INDESATCHEL TO OPEN ACCOUNT

The penultimate heat of the night features a number of inexperienced runners and its one of these, INDESATCHEL that gets the nod.

He ran on strongly in defeat last weekend and has gone up faster in the past. If he comes away on terms, we could see a far improved display from the Graham Holland trained black.

Droopys Wyatt is another seeking a first win in what will be his fourth career start. He has gone close on two occasions and should probably have won on at least once. He races from the inside box and looks likely to get involved.

So too does Rockburst Mike. He displayed fine pace and power in the recent Killeacle Dowling memorial at Tralee and should be suited by Shelbourne Park. He is entitled to plenty of respect. Realt Rabach is nominated as the best of the remainder.

Heat 12 – MISSILE TO EXPLODE AGAIN

The final heat of the night could be thriller. DEADLY MISSILE was breath-taking in his latest outing, posting the fourth fastest time ever for the 550yd trip.

A similar return would see him strengthen his position in the outright betting but he faces a far tougher test this evening.

Skywalker Logan may be getting on a bit, and on the victory lap of his career, but he has shown few signs that he has lost any of his potency. From an ideal draw on the fence, the Pat Guilfoyle trained superstar will really test Deadly Missile especially if turning close.  

Boylesports Xtra is another top tracker but has been less than fortunate with the draw. A flying starter with a liking for the inside, he will need to be at his very sharpest from the outside box if he is to clear those drawn on his left.

Both the promising Glencorbry Duke and Ballyhooley Cian can run but they too will need to come away racing from their respective draws in three and four. It’s conceivable the pair could find Boylesports Xtra stealing their ground in the opening three strides.

It really is an intriguing contest but Deadly Missile is chosen to use the opportunity to announce his Derby credentials. 

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BOCKO DERBY FAVOURITE BUT NOW AT 10-1

After yesterday’s opening round draw, Lenson Bocko remains the ante-post favourite ahead of the Boylesports Derby but the sponsors made the decision to push the Graham Holland trained star out to 10-1.

That’s the biggest price he has been with the sponsors for quite some time and it may attract a few interesting punters, although he does face a tricky opening round draw. Newinn Taylor in contrast, has been handed quite a straightforward task and remains firm on the 12-1 mark, while Pestana has seen his price contract into the same mark.

The talented pair of Newinn Session and Ballymac Cooper are on the 14-1 mark while Toolmaker Sydney, Deadly Missile, Glengar Bale and Da Bold Eagle are 16-1. Incidentally, in a change from recent years, there are very few bitches at the top end of the market. In fact, the shortest priced bitch is Unlock Unlock at 33-1.

Meanwhile, the market is largely dominated by Graham Holland who is responsible for six of the top thirteen in the betting.

BOYLESPORTS BET:

10 Lenson Bocko

12 Newinn Taylor

12 Pestana

14 Newinn Session

14 Ballymac Cooper

16 Toolmaker Sydney

16 Deadly Missile

16 Glengar Bale

16 Da Bold Eagle

20 Black Parachute

20 Ballydoyle Valor

20 Ballyhimikin Jet

20 Ballymac Wild

25 Doolin Duke

25 Outnumbered

33 Lemon Ozzy

33 Wolfe

33 Ballymac Anton

33 Unlock Unlock

33 Oran Don

33 Run Happy

33 Rathcoole Fox

33 Deerjet Sydney

33 Newline Cody

33 Ballymac Kingdom

40 Catchmeflying

40 Feudal Spirit

40 Jacks Solution

50 bar

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THE 2020 BOYLESPORTS DERBY DRAW

The time for waiting is over. The draw for the Boylesports Derby was made in the Oaks Suite at Shelbourne Park this afternoon and, as you would expect, there are some mouthwatering clashes to look forward to.

There was a full book of entries with Derek Frehill confirming that they even have a couple of reserves on top of the 144 greyhounds in the opening round. The action gets underway on Friday with twelve opening round heats while the remaining twelve will take place the following evening.

Lenson Bocko remains favourite with the sponsors to defend his crown but he faces a less than ideal draw in opening round. Racing as an inside seed from trap three in Heat 4, the Derby champion is flanked by talented greyhounds and may need to be at his sharpest in the opening yards.

The likes of Buttsys Bengal, Deadly Dynamite, Deerjet Sydney and Oran Don are all very talented and capable of making life difficult for Lenson Bocko. It is certainly the stand out heat of the round.  

The full draw:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 14TH

Heat 1

1 Razldazl Annie

2 Priceless Blake

3 Roanna Bess

4 Florican Velvet (m)

5 Doolin Duke (w)

6 Fainne Chiarrai (w)

Heat 2

1 Awesome Alfie

2 Burgess Puma

3 Ballymac Kingdom

4 On the Cards

5 Glengar Bale (w)

6 Dromrich Altair (w)

Heat 3

1 Ballymac Juliet

2 Waikiki Keano

3 Toolmaker Sydney

4 Towster Paddy (m)

5 Drumdoit Casper (w)

6 Newinn Taylor (w)

Heat 4

1 Buttsys Bengal

2 Deadly Dyanamite

3 Lenson Bocko

4 Deerjet Sydney

5 Oran Don (w)

6 Priceless Squire (w)

Heat 5

1 Laughil Josh

2 Razldazl Peaky

3 Lenson Blinder

4 Meenagh Maestro

5 Pestana

6 Redzer Ardfert

Heat 6

1 Kilara Icon

2 Cabra Ava

3 Meenagh Miracle

4 Jaytee Havana

5 Beechview Cognac

6 Catchmeflying

Heat 7

1 Ballymac Cooper

2 Freedom Whiskey

3 Knight Rocker

4 Uncle Bertie

5 Jacks Solution

6 Storys Derek (w)

Heat 8

1 Glory Kilara

2 Ballymac Anton

3 Romeo Speedy

4 Ferdia (w)

5 Pacemaker Ted (w)

6 Ripley Lad (w)

Heat 9

1 Cushie Wayne

2 Grand slam Champ

3 Ballymac Wisdom

4 Gaytime Milo

5 Ropewalk Bhoy (m)

6 Jirano Jet(m)

Heat 10

1 Catunda Logan

2 Kilgraney Vegas

3 Deelish Luke

4 Iconic Rory

5 Unlock Unlock (m)

6 Lotus Percy (w)

Heat 11

1 Droopys Wyatt

2 Indesatchel

3 Realt Rabach                     

4 Attlacca Zetta (m)

5 Thunder Blue (m)

6 Rockburst Mike (w)

Heat 12

1 Skywalker Logan

2 Deadly Missile

3 Glencorbry Duke

4 Ballyhooley Cian

5 Beechview Elsie

6 Boylesports Xtra

SATURDAY, AUGUST 15TH

Heat 13

1 Razldazl Monarch

2 Vigorous Luke

3 Upward Pearl (w)

4 Coolavanny Chick (w)

5 Dromrich Antares (w)

6 Newinn Lester(w)

Heat 14

1 Coolavanny Kyser

2 Soldier Spy

3 Glengar Mary

4 Whitewood Alex

5 Gut Feeling (m)

6 Degrom (w)

Heat 15

1 Manuka Man

2 Ballymac Tas

3 Rathcoole Fox

4 Bhoireann

5 No Green Dye

6 Sweetheart Deal (w)

Heat 16

1 Monbeg Zinzan

2 Highview Landing

3 Ballymac Lowry

4 Feudal Spirit

5 Priceless Jet (w)

6 Calzaghe Sonic (w)

Heat 17

1 Burgess Dakota

2 Newinn Session

3 Black Parachute

4 Wolfe

5 Ballyhimikin Jet (m)

6 Lemon Ozzy (w)

Heat 18

1 Zingers

2 Great Name That

3 Vigorous Scooby

4 Lemon Boris

5 Patricks Machine

6 Frankies Jet

Heat 19

1 Deadly Do Lago

2 Ballymac Notisme

3 Newinn Sheedy

4 Knocknaboul Syd

5 Run Happy

6 Toolmaker Daddy (m)

Heat 20

1 Scooby Princess

2 Outnumbered

3 Killer Bee (w)

4 Slippy Cian (w)

5 Killahan Gangster (w)

6 Ardrahan Pinokio (w)

Heat 21

1 Great Eastern

2 Early Rise

3 Newline Cody

4 Allaghaun River

5 Ballymac Wild

6 Mustang Firmino (w)

Heat 22

1 Antigua Sands

2 Tullovin Duke

3 Battle Cry

4 Butts Bound (m)

5 Clona Blaze (w)

6 Drumdoit Bermuda (w)

Heat 23

1 Ravenswood Mango

2 Benman

3 Swanley Chick

4 Lord Rusty

5 Doolin Prince

6 Our Surprise (w)

Heat 24

1 Magical Jasper

2 Ballydoyle Valour

3 Da Bold Eagle

4 Epic Hero

5 Sweep The Yard

6 Super Vic (w)

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DERBY DRAW TO BE LIVE STREAMED

As we’ve come to expect in these modern times, the draw for the opening round of the Boylesports Derby will be live-streamed on Monday afternoon.

The draw which is due to commence at 12 noon will be available on the IGB’s Facebook page, while we will be posting a direct link on this very page on Monday morning.

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KINGDOM FOR DERBY BUT INSPEED SKIPS SHELBOURNE

Last weekend’s Corn Cuchulainn champion Ballymac Kingdom will step back in trip for a crack at the Boylesports Derby which gets underway on Friday week.

The brilliant son of Definate Opinion and Coolavanny Angie is clearly in tremendous form and has appreciated the opportunity to get loose in recent starts.

Liam Dowling reports the dog in fine form, “We’ll have to have a go at the Derby now. The dog’s in good order and he bounced off his bench on Sunday morning which you love to see. He’s a very fast dog but luck wasn’t always on his side.”

Dowling reports he could have a six strong team depending on this weekend’s results. He has a couple involved in the Bar One Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk and, were they to make their exit from that competition, they could make Shelbourne.

He also suggested the two bitches that were involved in the Shelley Fennelly Memorial at Cork at the weekend could be involved also.

One greyhound that won’t be in the entry for Dowling is Ballymac Inspeed, however. The Future Champion Unraced winner has been a model of consistency for Dowling, finishing runner up in the O’Neill Dog Foods National Puppy Stake, runner up in the Best Car Parks Gold Cup and third in the Ladbrokes Easter Cup.

He was purchased over lockdown and came in for big support for the Derby but has now joined Tom Heilbron in Newcastle with a crack at the English Derby in October his intended target.

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LOOKING AHEAD TO THE BOYLESPORTS IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY

BoyleSports' Leon Blanche and IGB CEO Gerard Dollard chat about the upcoming BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby which gets underway in Dublin on 14th August.

With over a quarter of a million euro of a prizefund and 6 weekend's of action in Shelbourne Park, it's the highlight of the Irish Greyhound Racing calendar.

Entries are currently being accepted, with the 1st Round draw scheduled to take place on Monday next, 10th August. The draw will be streamed live online. For details on entries, visit Shelbourne Park's Future Sweepstakes page. 

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RPGTV TO SHOW IRISH DERBY ACTION

This year’s Boylesports Derby will benefit from extra coverage with Racing Post Television committing to showing the competition from the third round onwards.

Speaking on behalf of the IGB, Joe Lewins, who shortly retires as the IGB’s director of tote and wagering, said: “The Irish Greyhound Derby is the highlight of the annual racing calendar. 

“Running since 1928, it has retained its top-class status attracting huge interest from within and outside the greyhound community. 

“The IGB is delighted with RPGTV partnership for the 2020 BoyleSports Derby which will see all races from the third round onwards being screened live and we’ve no doubt that all will thoroughly enjoy top class, exciting action.”

The third round of the Derby is scheduled for August 29th and will share billing on RPGTV with the Summer Stayers from Monmore. Kevan Moretti, chairman & CEO of GTV Ltd, also commented: “We’re thrilled that RPGTV will be expanding its Irish Derby coverage this year. 

“We’ll be adjusting RPGTV's schedule to show the racing at Shelbourne from the third round through to the final on September 19. We look forward to seeing the very best of Irish greyhound racing.”

Of course, RPGTV has recently launched a weekly Irish Focus, which will be shown each Wednesday evening, and this latest breakthrough will come as another bonus to those who follow Irish greyhound racing.