Wolfe Is Star Performer Of The Year
BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby
If Carlsberg did first round heats, then the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby would have been the best first round heats in the world. From 156 into 96, 16 heats will take place this weekend and they can’t come quick enough.
First Round Heats
Friday night’s first round heats were not as bad for us as anticipated after odds-on shots Ballymac Cooper and Ballymac Arminta failed to win.
Saturday night however saw seven favourites oblige including the popular Wolfe, Killmacdonagh, Magical Bale and Lenson Bocko. We had to cut Wolfe into 7/1 from 16/1 following his 29.22 win, making him the new ante post favourite in what has proved to be an incredibly hot and exciting Derby.
Earlier last week we began to see money for a puppy called Deadly Dynamite, trained by Karol Ramsbottom. We gradually cut his price into 6/4 from 5/2 and he obliged for punters after a stunning 29.59 win. His outright price has now been cut into 25/1 from 33/1 and should this progressive type keep breaking like he did on Friday, his initial price of 40/1 will prove serious value.
Drama, thrills, spills, tears, shocks and career bests; this Derby already has everything and we are only into the second round! There were eleven ‘Money Back if second to the SP favourite’ refunds; four on Friday and seven on Saturday.
26 heats were completed over Friday and Saturday with too many top-class performances to talk about so I will go with my top 5.
No. 1 – Wolfe
You have guessed it, my number 1 choice is the magnificent WOLFE, who recorded the fastest time in the first round of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby in a scintillating 29.22. Wow.
What a greyhound, what a run and what a way to kick-off the Derby action. Wolfe has set the bar high and it was wonderful to see him produce such a stunning effortless victory having disappointed in the English Greyhound Derby earlier in the year.
Graham Holland knows how good Wolfe is and having a dog like him makes his job a hell of a lot easier to get out of bed for in the morning.
We cut Wolfe into 7/1 from 16/1. Sure, it does sound drastic but when you see a dog perform like that in the first round of the Derby on just his 22nd career start, you would be jumping on the bandwagon to back him too. 7/1 is still a thrilling price when you consider he did a faster time than Ballyanne Sim last year when he won the Derby in 29.28.
Step forward Wolfe, you are the star performer of the week, and possibly the year so keep howling through the rounds.
No. 2 – Killmacdonagh
My second favourite moment from the first round heats came from an obvious choice in Killmacdonagh. Kieran Lynch is not only a savage trainer but a lovely man and I had the pleasure of interviewing him after Kilmacdonagh won the 2019 Sporting Press Oaks here back in June recording 28.17.
You could see the love Kieran has for this bitch as tears were building up in his eyes. She is only 65lbs but she is as good as any dog in this Derby. Her CV is what all the other dogs aim for; the Cork Oaks and track recorded holder, Sporting Press Oaks, Dundalk International and now the second favourite for the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby at 10/1 from 20/1.
This daughter of Zero Ten – Deercrest Lady clocked 29.39 on Saturday night after a cracking start wearing the red jacket. She went from off the rails into the middle so hopefully she can keep breaking that fast if she keeps getting the inside draw. Newinn Lester did well in second place but there was no stopping the great Killmacdonagh with the odds on a bitch winning the derby now 4/1 from 5/1.
No. 3 – Run Happy
Run Happy is my third choice for so many reasons. The main reason is that I have had my eye on this dog for a few months now with his BoyleSports Champion Stakes effort his best form to date. He recorded a 3.34 split that night when leading everywhere bar the line after Ballymac Arminta caught him coming home in 29.31 so he was always going to be a massive derby contender.
On Friday evening I headed up to Ian Fortune in his tiny little hideaway where he works his commentary magic from, as did his late father Michael. I recorded Ian doing what he does best on Run Happy’s heat where he was 4/6 favourite.
He justified his favouritism as he won in 29.50 but…
it was awesome watching Ian doing the commentary as it is always nice to see the work that goes on behind the scenes.
It was great to see Pat Buckley get a winner as he had some bad luck earlier in the night with Burgess Bucks. Run Happy will go far with that lovely early boot he has and is now 16/1 from 20/1 to win another Derby title for Pat.
No. 4 – Magical Bale
Fourth place goes to my beloved and all-time favourite Magical Bale. I love this dog. I love his big heart and his powerful pace. His trainer Patrick Guilfoyle has a wonderful kennel of greyhounds at the moment and he is always a trainer who you have to fear in a competition.
Magical Bale was second in the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby last year and second in this year’s English Greyhound Derby, when trained by Kevin Hutton. This dog just takes it all in his stride and I was thrilled to see him win his first round in 29.62 beating his kennel companion Laughil Josh.
Bale is still 16/1 in the ante post book and has a tricky heat and draw to overcome this weekend from trap four. I will say a prayer for you Bale but all you need to do is finish in the first three. You can worry about finishing first in the final!
No. 5 – Jaytee Taylor
This time last year Jaytee Taylor won the first round of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby in 29.46 by eight lengths after a 3.46 split.
He then won the next two rounds, followed by second place in both the quarter and semi-finals. He was last in the 2018 final but beaten less than five lengths. He had a small break then and went over to the 2019 English Greyhound Derby at Nottingham where he made the semi-finals and actually beat the eventual winner and his kennel buddy Priceless Blake in an earlier round.
From the end of June until the start of August, Paul took things handy with the star and then, just like this time last year, Taylor comes out and wins the first round of the 2019 Derby in 29.72 with the sweetness of beating last year’s winner Ballyanne Sim by a head.
It was the most exciting race for me as Taylor came from off the pace like he always does to grind down the early and consistent leader Ballyanne Sim. We went best price on Sim at 7/2 with Taylor a short 2/5.
There wasn’t much in it at the finish between the pair but both dogs needed the run and will definitely improve heading into the second round this weekend. Taylor has a special place in people’s hearts as he has a huge engine and his determination is remarkable.
He is still 14/1 to win the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby for the 2007 winning trainer Paul Hennessy.
I will be back on later in the week with a look forward to the second round and what my fancies are. Head over to my Twitter account @BoyleSportsSK to keep an eye on any competitions I’ll be running for your chance to win some tickets to any of the heats for the 2019 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.