Sarah Kinsella

Irish Greyhound Derby: Semi-Final Countdown At Shelbourne Park

The BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby is reaching its climax so here’s Sarah Kinsella’s latest blog review and looking ahead to this weekend.


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When 24 became 12

There is always a wave of sadness when the numbers are beginning to get closer to single figures as it’s a sign that the derby is coming to a close. 24 became 12 on Saturday evening at Shelbourne Park and I must admit that I’m the most excited for Gortkelly Nestor.

This Andy Murray trained star has now made the semi-finals of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby for the second year in a row. Read more about Gortkelly Nestor HERE.

He was only denied a spot in the final last year by one length so I really hope he makes it into the final six and we get to meet Andy and his family at the Derby Final lunch at HQ next Monday.

He is running brilliant without winning but he did win the Derby Trial Stake at Limerick Stadium beating Tullig Raven by seven lengths. He was only back from a break, so he is coming into his top form at the right time.
Best of luck Nestor.

Major shocks

There was always going to be three connections in each of the four heats going home disappointed, but I didn’t think Romeo Magico was going to be one of them.

I really fancied him in the opening heat, but his breaking let him down and he found trouble early doors. Ballymac Finn was a brilliant winner for Liam Dowling, however.

He is a handsome dude too. He posed for me on the track as I took pictures of him for my social media, and he was loving life.

He was fast away and always led. That’s all you need. 29.59 and the 2/1 favourite so he was great value. We still have not seen the best of Skywalker Barry but he is qualifying each week so that goes to show how classy he really is.

The aforementioned Gortkelly Nestor grabbed third after flying home.


Hoffa in cruise control

I take back any doubts I ever had. Coolavanny Hoffa was sublime on Saturday night and he is now just 7/4 favourite with those odds cut from 5/1.

Michael J O’Donovan is one of the best trainers to ever put a lead on a greyhound and Hoffa’s 29.24 victory was a joy to watch. It was effortless.

He beat Graham Holland’s Cryptopunk by four lengths with Vincenzo another length back in third for trainer Patrick Guilfoyle. Hoffa ended up Evens on the night with the bookies but was as short as 8/11 earlier that day.

Many will say the derby is still wide open but judging by the way Hoffa ran on Saturday, some might even say it’s his to lose now. Many terrific derby stars have been in his kennel before him including Laughil Blake and Judicial Pride.

Born Warrior needs more petrol

I love Born Warrior. He has beautiful early pace, but he just gets the trip. I watch him coming off the last bend with my hand over my eyes hoping he will get there. He has qualified and that’s the main thing and I think he will make the final too.

How good is Maries Wedding though? Keeley McGee is getting some tune out of her. She clocked a fast 29.44 to win by half a length.

Droopys Nice One was third meaning we could have three ladies in the final with Crafty Kokoro making a show of the boys so far. All the single ladies, put your hands up!

Key Terms for Free Bet if your dog finishes 2nd

18+. UK/IRE customers only in shop and online. Applies to all Shelbourne Races on Saturday 17th & Saturday 24th September 2022. Max refund £/€20 as a free bet per customer per race. Win or win part of e/w Singles only. 5 or more runners. 1st bet on each race. Free bet expires after 7 days. Free/void/antepost bets don’t qualify. T&Cs apply.

How to get your free bet

1. Place a bet on any of the Shelbourne Races on Saturday 17th or Saturday 24th September.
2. If your dog finishes 2nd, we will refund your stake as a free bet up to £/€20.

Callaway Pro Am – puppy power!

Owen McKenna is brilliant. I mentioned before that this dog came in under the radar but he as marked his territory at HQ by dominating his rivals for the last four weeks and remains the only contender left UNBEATEN in this competition.

29.41 he clocked and he was awesome. Paw-perfect. He will turn two-years of age on the 25th September, a day after the Derby final and wouldn’t it be some birthday present if he was to win the title?

He won by a head to the fast finishing and uber consistent Crafty Kokoro. The six-bend queen. Explosive Boy grabbed third for Guilfoyle giving the schoolteacher two semi-finalists.

Come on Bertie, make the final for the second year in a row. Sad to see Bulletfromagun not make it through. He gave his owners some spin. Michael, Daniel and Brendan.

All brothers and all enjoying their first-ever greyhound. Making the quarterfinals has certainly got them hooked now so we will be seeing a lot more of them in the future.

Ante post picks & charity bets

By the way, my two antepost picks are still there, Born Warrior and Vincenzo. Known at home as Nelson and Ollie. They are super good. Fingers crossed.


Gaelic Football legend star and our ambassador Diarmuid Connolly is still there with his charity bet as Explosive Boy qualified so if he manages to win the derby then all the proceeds will go to the Dublin Simon Community.

Virgin Media 2 & RPGTV

It’s wonderful that the semi-finals and final will be shown live on Virgin Media 2. Make sure you tune in if you can’t make the track.

RPGTV have been doing fantastic coverage so they will continue to show all races too (sky channel 437) with Rob Catterson doing an amazing job interviewing everyone with a runner in the derby.

Greyhound racing is finally getting the coverage it deserves so long may it continue.

Droopys Sydney

Quick shoutout to stud sensation Droopys Sydney who sired three out of the four heat winners. He is worth his weight in gold now and the ladies continue to queue up to get to meet him despite a large fee!

The Galileo of greyhound racing. Hopefully he throws plenty of more stars in the future or maybe Pestana will take over, who knows!


It’s the semi-final stage already! Where has the time gone? I better get baking because Michael Dempsey has been very disappointed that I didn’t bake him any buns in the last few weeks!

The semi-final heat betting can be found below with Coolavanny Hoffa and Ballymac Finn the favourites in their respective heats.

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