Consistent Blake The Fully Deserved Derby Champ

After six weeks of stiff and tough competition, Laughil Blake provided us all with a Derby final win to remember and savour.

Blake had been the most consistent performer throughout having won five of his six rounds and just to add to the level of his consistency he clocked within a length and a half with every win ranging from 29:41 to 29:50.

His only defeat came at the paws of Paradise Maverik, after a very slow start Blake still managed to be only narrowly defeated and in many people’s eyes he lost little in defeat on that night. From a betting perspective, despite dodging a bullet with Vulturi failing to win, Blake did prove to be an extremely popular winner having been backed all week in the build up and proving similarly popular on the night itself in the ring. He was a loser in our book but, being a greyhound fanatic John Boyle was thrilled to see the best dog in the 2015 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby throughout the competition win the €125,000 winners prize.

From the boxes it appeared Blake was in big trouble as Ballymac Vic and Borneo started quickly, unlike Blake who only broke in fourth but, with that early pace which he had showed in all of the rounds previous, Blake was still able to make the bend in front, much to the delight of the crowd as the roar went up in more relief than anything else. Down the back Blake began to turn the screw but, it was not going to be easy because chasing him down was the two old warriors Ballymac Vic and Tyrur Sugar Ray.

The two old boys gave their all and some more but, on this night it was not to be as the fresher legs of Blake were not for stopping and he went on to become the second Irish Derby winner for trainer Michael ‘Curly’ O’Donavan after Judicial Prides win 14 years ago back in 2000. It really was an outstanding training performance as it was well documented that Blake is not straightforward to train as he struggles with an injury to his metatarsal and to be able to train a dog to go six rounds of a Derby in the fashion of which he did, deserves great credit.

It was a night to remember for owners Mary and Paul Jennings as they not only landed the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby but they went on to land the €5,000 Ger McKenna and Seamus Graham Memorial Plate with Blake’s litter brother Laughil Bolt too. Bolt was quickly into stride and just like his brother he made the opening bend in front which enabled him to run out the victor by half a length in 29:94.

Blake has only had 17 races in his brief career to date and after the Derby was over, it was put to owner Mary Jennings would Blake be retired or would he continue with his racing career to which she replied it is up to the trainer. This in my opinion is great news because generally when an owner leaves it in the hands of the trainers, they like to continue with the racing career.

I also feel much will depend on Blake’s previous injury and if after his expected well deserved rest, he comes back and has no issue with the injury, I see him making a bold bid for both the English and Irish Derbies next year. Boylesports have quoted Laughil Blake at 25/1 for both Derbies next year so as expected after his impressive Derby campaign this year, he tops both markets for next year’s two big events.

Blake does strike me as a dog who could well come back even stronger next year as he is still such a young dog and the prospect of possible improvement coming from this superstar is really a frightening prospect.

Overall, I feel the 2014 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby has been a major success from both a sponsors point of view and also from the view a greyhound enthusiast. On behalf of the sponsors I would like to thank all the people who made the greatest greyhound competition in the world go ahead in such top class fashion.

I would also like to say a big thank you to all the people who came in their droves to the support the Derby through every round to create the magnificent atmosphere which was evident on each night and finally to all connections of the 138 entrants who made the 2014 Derby such a magnificent spectacle. I feel it was been a great Derby with a fitting winner as in my eyes at least Laughil Blake has been one of the best Derby winners I have seen and fingers crossed we will see him back to defend his crown in the 2015 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby.