Ballyana Records Fastest Derby Time Yet

It was a perfect night for racing in Shelbourne on Thursday as the 2nd round of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby commenced and we had a top class billing of racing to keep us entertained for the night.

It was a tough night for punters as just one favourite from the eight heats went on to win, which left the bookies currently holding the advantage as we head into Saturday’s action.

Kippers Usain won the opening heat at 6/4 but, he was the only winning favourite in the heats and there was even a 20/1 surprise winner as Fordeflag went on to cause a huge upset in heat 6. The most impressive heat wins came from Ballyana Foxtrot who went fastest, Paradise Maverik who beat Laughil Blake and Vulturi in a thrilling finish and finally the most talked about heat of the night, which went the way of Hawaii Kinsale as he beat Holdem Spy and Skywalker Farloe in heat 5.

I spoke last Thursday about Ballyana Foxtrot who was eye-catching in defeat and if you got on him ante-post at 66/1 you will be sitting pretty as he flew around Shelbourne in the fastest time set so far in the Derby, 29:39. Foxtrot who went off at 3/1 had a perfect draw out in 6 with slow starters on his inner and he went on to take full advantae of his favourable draw.

As the lids rose, Foxtrot was quickly away and he made the bend in front which made his task all the easier. Down the back, Foxtrot began to accelerate from the field but the strong stayer, El Flutter, was not far behind so a wide margin victory was not on the cards but the clock showed just how fast Foxtrot was moving.

He had previously been in great form in Limerick and on the back of this performance you would have to feel he is now translting his form to Shelbourne. His value in the Ante-Post market is now surely gone but, I do hope someone took advantage of the 66’s which was available after round 1!

The next heat was not as quick but it did throw up one of the most thrilling finishes of the night as Paradise Maverik went on to complete a double for Pat Buckley in the heats. Maverik, who returned at 5/1, broke well by his standards and from a good draw in trap one, he was perfectly positioned off the 2nd bend to challenge the leader Laughil Blake late on, which is exactly what he did and the flying finisher, Vulturi, was also involved in the 3-way photo.

Blake, who was fastest in the opening round, did not break as quickly as he did previously but he showed the blistering early he possesses to lead around the opening bend from Maverik, only to run a little wide on the bends giving away a little ground. Vulturi as always was slowly into stride but the Liam Dowling trained runner finished like an express train to be narrowly denied and just as a side note, IF he ever starts and gets a clear run, just watch out!

Blake led down the back and into the 3rd bend but, again, he ran wide on the bends and Maverik was only to happy to take advantage for the win in 29:59.

Heat 5 was talked up as the best heat on paper of the entire round 2 and it did not disappoint. Holdem Spy went to traps the 6/4 jolly but yet again he left favourite backers frustrated at the line. As they broke away it was Hawaii Kinsale who led on the inside from Skywalker Farloe and Holdem Spy on the putside. Around the opening bend, much like in round 1, it appeared as though the writing was on the wall as Spy turned in 2nd behind Hawaii with Farloe back in behind.

Into the third bend, Spy showed serious pace to take up the mantle from Hawaii who was demoted to 2nd but it was from here where Spy appeared to think he had done enough. As they turned for home Spy continued to race alongside Hawaii and at the line it was Hawaii who won the photo finish in a head bobber, with the winning time reading 29:87. It must be stated that Spy has done NOTHING wrong in any of his races and has caused NO interference to any of his rivals but, it does appear that when he hits the front he feels that his job is complete.

I have no doubt whatsoever that as long as he stays sound and gets a clear run, Spy will be still around in the latter rounds. Skywalker Farloe who was one of the Ante-Post favourites before the competition started showed a much improved performance as he finished a close 3rd.

Before I wrap up I just want to say a quick line for Kisses For Cloda who, so far in this Derby has proved what hard work, dedication and the never say die attitude can achieve in greyhound racing. Cloda was touted as a real English Derby hopeful in his earlier career but, injuries have restricted him to 10 races in 16 months but in the hands of Olly Bray, this exceptional greyhound produced one of the best runs so far in this year’s Derby when winning the penultimate heat of the night in the 2nd fastest time of the night 29:54.

He is an absolute credit to all connected and he is sure to give hope to people whose greyhounds are unfortunate enough to consistently suffer injuries, that it is possible to get them back to their best through hard work and the right attitude.