Bale The Magical One For Me

BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby

Outright Betting

The BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2019 renewal is absolutely flying in as we are now down to the final 12 greyhounds.

Every year I say how great the Derby is but hand on heart, this year is particularly brilliant. The standard is sensational and it really is wide-open with the semi-finals taking place this Saturday at HQ.

Magical Bale in all his Glory.
Magical Bale created more magical moments last Saturday to win his heat in 29.35. He is not only the youngest dog in the Derby, but his experience is crucial, and it really shows in a competition like this. Patrick Guilfoyle’s kennel star racked up another brilliant victory, is getting faster as the week’s go by and has his box this Saturday; trap one!

Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate this great greyhound. He was bred by Patrick and sent over to Kevin Hutton to start his career in the UK. Stardom was destined for Bale. In November 2017 he won the Puppy Derby Final at Towcester in 29.10 beating his Irish friend, Innocent Times.

Bale was then knocked out of the English Greyhound Derby in 2018 in the second round and had no luck in his next few races. He then popped on the boat and came back to his beloved Ireland and I will never forget his first win here.

He was in trap three, priced at 4/5 and the anticipation before his HQ debut was building up by the second. He broke fast from the 550 traps and clocked a stunning 29.58.

The 2018 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby was the next target. He won the first two rounds, then finished second and third respectively when qualifying for the final. He was 5/2 to win the final and I tipped him throughout the whole competition. I was convinced he was going to win.

As we all know, Ballyanne Sim scooted around Shelbourne Park to be crowned the winner at 10/1, backed from 20/1. Bale then had a break until February 2018 when he came out and won the BoyleSports Open 525 in 29.64. Brilliant.

Pure Class.
He was knocked out of the Easter Cup in the semi-final and had another break before his 2019 English Greyhound Derby campaign started.

Bale was beaten in the opening round at Nottingham but won every other heat in superior fashion. He was second in the final behind fellow Irish winner Priceless Blake, which was amazing for the Hennessy family.

So that was back in June and Bale then got on the boat again to come back home to Patrick and the Guilfoyle family.

He had two solo trials around HQ recording 18.64 and 28.19 suggesting he was in rude health. Now Bale has booked his spot in the semi-final of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby and races from trap one. I love this dog and I hope he qualifies for another Derby Final but this time he deserves the win.

His owners travelled over from Lambourn, England. It was around a 4-5 hour journey by car first and then another 5 hour ferry trip to Dublin and they have been doing that for the last few weeks just to watch their little superstar.

I will continue with the prayers for him to make the final and you never know, something magical might just happen.

Flawless Lenson Bocko
Bocko is another greyhound that is destined for stardom. What a thrilling Derby campaign this dog is having. His 29.27 victory on Saturday night was flawless.

This exciting 2-year old looks a penalty kick to win his heat this weekend and book his spot into the final for Graham Holland.

Run Happy ran fantastic to qualify for Pat Buckley and his daughter Emma adores the dog. She always has a smile on her face and it’s great to see younger people getting hooked into this sport. Once you go greyhound racing and catch the bug, you are hooked for life. Deadly Dynamite grabbed third spot for Karol Ramsbottom and has a lovely draw in the semi-finals. He was a superb winner in the first round from the same box in 29.59 so you never know.

Who Da Man? Sophies Man.
Peter Cronin has a bright future to look forward to with his dog Sophies Man. He cruised around HQ in the quarter-finals to record a 29.45 victory. He ran a blinder and I had him down as my dark ‘dog’.

It was a five-dog race with not much early pace in the race bar Mucky Brae in trap four, so the race was run to suit Cronin’s youngster.

This weekend he will run his 12th race so will the inexperience catch him out? It’s tough to say.

BoyleSports King has serious pace. He is a couch potato by day and loves McDonalds ice cream! His trainer Dolores Ruth was delighted with his performance on Saturday and after the race I was chatting to her when she informed me he lives in the house with her and enjoys a McFlurry ice-cream on the way home from Shelbourne Park.

If BoyleSports King makes it to the final, which looks likely, John Boyle will be treating everyone in BoyleSports HQ to McFlurrys and imagine if he actually won the final?! McFlurrys for the year!

Music Drowning Out For Music Toour Ears
Music Toour Ears flew from the traps in his heat last weekend and led for half of the race. It was evident that a powerful gallop coming from Murts Boher was going to catch Music out.

Murts took the lead down the back straight heading into the third bend and scooted home in 29.61. Our Surprise battled hard to grab second with Music fading back to third place, but he is still there.

He is a classy dog Music and so is his kennel buddy Magical Bale. Patrick could have two Derby finalists if all going well.

My Dad Lar was very impressed with Our Surprise for Brian and Laurence Jones and I would have to agree with him. He looked like he was going to take up the lead at the third bend but Murt’s hugged tight to the rails stopping him from getting through.

Our Surprise got a few bumps and didn’t have anything his way. He is a due a big break and should he get it, it will be one hell of a run as he already has 29.42 clocked. A surprise could be sprung from the well-known Jones family, just wait and see.

Before I go, a special word for the wonderful bitch Killmacdonagh. How awesome was she on Saturday? She was third behind Magical Bale and Ballydoyle Valor but the ground she made up was epic. A little cracker she is; everyone loves her and every week she leaves us all in awe. Fingers crossed she makes it to the final.

See you all Saturday night at Shelbourne Park. I’m back on RTÉ as a panellist so if you can’t make the track, tune into RTÉ and watch the derby magic unfold.