Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

We now know the six finalists in this year’s BoyleSports Derby, and what a line up we have to look forward to.

There was no hard luck stories in the semi-finals so every dog deserves his place in the final. I know first-hand how connections are feeling this week, it will be a long week for them but it won’t be as bad as last week. When you reach the final there is a sense of relief, you have reached the final stage and there is no more you can do. You can really enjoy the week, there is the Derby lunch, TV interviews and paper interviews to do and you are like a mini celebrity for a week!

I actually attended the Derby lunch myself this week for the first time and really enjoyed the experience. The atmosphere was relaxed, all the connections got to mix together and you could sense they all were extremely happy with their charges. Here are my thoughts on how the final might be run…

Farloe Blitz
Contesting his second Derby final of the year, went off jolly for the English equivalent back in June only to fall at the final obstacle. Blitz has ran eight times from trap one and has won seven times, he is three from three in Shelbourne from the red jacket.

Finals haven’t been his strong point, can it be fourth time lucky? Is there a better early paced runner in training than Blitz? Trainer Owen McKenna is going for his second Derby, while Paul Ellis is trying for his first. Paul was a great friend of the late and great Dessie Loughery, so hopes Blitz can become the first Farloe to win the Irish Derby. This is the first final Blitz has reached and tasted defeat in the run up to it. Did he get the loss out of the way in the quarter final? Connections hope so!

Cable Bay
This is a first Derby finalist from the famed Townview Kennels of Brendan Matthews. To date Cable has won €84,200 for his connections which makes him the top earner of the year so far!

Cable was a runaway winner of the Con and Annie Kirby Puppy Stake in Limerick in the fastest time of the year, 28.11. This fellow really seems to run his best races when the big prizes are in front of him, he might be short a yard to the corner but really flies down the back straight as he showed in round two. If he is within striking distance down the back he can be a big player! This fellow is born, reared and trained in Newry. Brendan has won plenty of Derby’s up the coursing field, but would really love to add this feather to his cap.

Ballymac Matt
Matt’s first taste of defeat around Shelbourne came in last week’s semi-final at the hands of Farloe Blitz. Since the start of the Derby, Matt has shown us a different style of running, he seems to have found an extra gear to the corner! He doesn’t seem to be coming home as strong though.

This fellow went unbeaten through the Gain 600 back in June and I think that stake did his confidence a world of good. In his early days he seemed to be hit and miss out of the boxes and it took a while for the penny to drop but when it did drop, he became a different dog.

Trainer Liam Dowling is seeking his first Derby, but these Ballymac runners seem to be a regular occurrence in Derby finals. Matt does boast a 29.36 run over course and distance and recorded the fastest time in the opening two rounds of the Derby. He has been ante post favourite from the outset. Ignore at your peril!

Peregrine Falcon
Without doubt the most improved runner in the Derby. Was beaten in his first seven career starts, but he did start off in a red hot unraced stake around Shelbourne nearly twelve months ago. When he did get his head in front at the eighth attempt, he couldn’t stop winning, taking seven on the bounce for his first time owner Patrick O’Brien.

He ran a great race in the semi-final from the worst possible draw in six. He might want to get close to the fence on the run to the corner so a fast start is vital. Falcon has proved that he can come from off the pace but this is by far his toughest test to date. Two 29.50 runs in the 3rd round and quarter final puts him bang in contention. Owner Patrick O’Brien is living the dream at the moment with his first ever greyhound. It’s safe to say we can expect a few runners in his name next year!

Gaytime Hawk
The last survivor from the Holland yard, Graham went very close with Cabra Buck back in 2013 so will be hoping to go one step better this coming Saturday night. Hawk has really come alive during the Derby posting the fastest time, 29.34, from trap five in the quarter final.

His only defeat came in round one where he finished third. Since then he has gotten stronger and stronger and is doing it in both the early and late stages of the race. Already a finalist in this year’s Easter Cup, Hawk has been running with the hottest of company over the last twelve months. The draw won’t trouble connections too much, but he will really have to dig deep on the run to the corner with so much early pace inside him. Dog in the form of his life at the moment.

Farloe Rumble
Youngest in the line-up and a second finalist for the McKenna/Ellis team, has the worst of the draw on the outside but I’m sure connections will grab the chance with both hands. Younger half-brother to the jolly Farloe Blitz, he will be having his 13th race on Saturday night. He started off his career in Tralee with two wins and was then taken to the UK for the Derby with no luck.

Rumble bounced back to form with two confidence boosting wins in the Derby trial stake in Tralee and has since crept under the radar reaching the final of the Derby without a win. If you look at his finishing times, he is improving rapidly with every run and can only improve further. He hasn’t managed to master the art of trapping yet but I’m hoping he breaks better on the outside. He is a real live outsider in this final and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him cause a shock! Whatever the result here, this fellow has a bright future.

I’m going to go for a major shock in the final.

As I have said, Farloe Rumble is a massive improver and with six inside seeds in the final, something has to give.

Hopefully Rumble keeps out on the run to the bend and lets the others scrap it out! The last time Owen won the Derby he had two in the final and won it with the outsider!

Apart from the Derby itself we have a terrific undercard headed by the Derby Plate, I’m a huge fan of Laughil Duke and he is sure to go off favourite. He worked hard to win a four dog race last time but is better drawn in the final. Allen Wizard is the surprise package here and can give the Duke most to think about. We hope to have all 12 races on final night priced up on Saturday morning and look forward to going into battle.

Check out the up to date prices on throughout the week and we look forward to seeing many of you on the stands in Shelbourne Park on Saturday night for the Crown Jewel of the Irish greyhound calendar. #BetOnBoyle