Six, No, Make That Five Of The Best Left In BoyleSports IGD
And then there were six……no wait, five….
What a journey these wonderful five finalists have been on throughout the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby but there can only be one winner to claim the massive €140,000 prize.
Ian Fortune and I were on the panel with Peter Collins on RTE2 on Saturday night for the live coverage of the derby action and what a night of drama it was. A remarkable day of sport with Magical landing the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown followed by the incredible Dublin team who won the historic 5-in-a-row at Croke Park. It was then onto HQ for the semi-finals of the biggest race of the year and it didn’t disappoint.
It was sad to see Magical Bale finish outside of the qualifying spots. He has given us all some tremendous racing memories and no matter what his future holds he is going to create more magic somewhere along the way.
How good was Lenson Bocko though? My God he is just in fantastic form, there was no catching him and when we were all in the RTE studio watching the race, there was big WOW from us all after his flying break from the boxes. He was awesome and recorded a very fast 29.32 by three a ½ lengths to Run Happy who has had a very encouraging derby campaign, doing everything right.
Run Happy is a likeable greyhound who has never ran a bad race. He clocked 28.07 in his Shelbourne Park debut, proving that there was a bright future for Pat Buckley’s star.
Bocko was trimmed into 8/11 from 11/8 for the final but since the withdrawal of Our Surprise, he is now 8/13 to land the big prize.
BoyleSports King grabbed the last qualifying spot in this heat by a neck, leaving us all on the edge of our seat. Did he qualify, did he get up? That’s all we could say. We wanted this dog in the final so badly as John Boyle adores this sport so it’s marvellous to see him in with his chance.
He made up a serious amount of ground, like he always does but Saturday night was particularly impressive. Imagine what he will be like over further, plus he is not even two years of age yet!
Well done to Dolores Ruth, a derby winning trainer who knows exactly what is needed to win these big spots.
In other news, BoyleSportstwink, also owned by John won the 750 yards final on Saturday at Limerick in 41.97 beating the 6/4 favourite Redzer Ardfert on only her 12th start. A productive weekend for the boss man, who has three runners on Saturday night at HQ with BoyleSports King, BoyleSportsTwink and BoyleSports Xtra.
The second semi-final was just as exciting as we saw Mucky Brae and Our Surprise land on the line together with the judges unable to separate the pair. A dead heat was called with Killmacdonagh securing the third spot by a small margin of a head to Ballydoyle Valor.
Mucky Brae was sensational, that was his best run to date, clocking an identical time to Bocko of 29.32. What a final it will be if these two lead up. Our Surprise didn’t surprise me as I tipped him up as the ‘dark dog’ and he didn’t disappoint at 5/1. I’m delighted for Laurence and Brian Jones, a family that is steeped in greyhound history. Our Surprise is lucky to be alive as he was born six hours after the last pup and was very weak.
Having Brian the vet as a brother was a massive help though as Laurence took the dog into his home with his family and bottle fed him for weeks. That’s why they called him Our Surprise as he surprised them all with his fight and determination to survive. Nearly three years on he is now in the 2019 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby and the whole greyhound industry wishes that he recovers from his injury in time for the Night of Stars in November.
Killmacdonagh, what more can I say about her. She is one classy lady with a huge fight in her. She never gives up and knows exactly where the line is. She is giving herself a lot of work to do but she has trap one in the final so you never know, she could pop out wearing the red jacket just like she did in the first round.
As the only bitch in the race and everyone waiting to see if the 20-year wait can be broken, this talented bitch has a massive following coming to Shelbourne Park on Saturday and if she wins, the noise and atmosphere will light up HQ in the best way possible.
Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate
The Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate is another huge highlight on the card on Saturday as we remember our friend Michael. He loved the derby it was his favourite time of the year and we hope that his commentaries echo through the halls of Shelbourne Park for years to come. It’s a hot line-up with Graham Holland going for the Derby/Plate double with Blue East (10/11), Clonbrien Prince (5/2) and Macaroon Cruz (4/1).
It’s going to be a tight final.
I can’t wait till Saturday night for the final, what a night it’s going to be and RTE2 are covering it live again so make sure you tune in if you can’t make the track. Bring on the derby fever.