The Best BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Ever!

Can we do it all again? What a journey. What a Derby. What a bitch.

I can’t believe its all over. Never have those six weeks gone by so fast. Susie Sapphire was crowned the 2021 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby champion and broke several records on her way to victory. Owen McKenna’s superstar went unbeaten in the competition, something that hadn’t been done since 2009.

Susie became the first bitch to win the Derby crown since 1999 and also became the fastest ever Derby winner when clocking a blistering 29.18. Susie also became the first bitch to win the Sporting Press Irish Oaks and the Derby. Add all of those facts up and you have the greatest ever winner of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby.

Derby Roar
None of us greyhound enthusiasts will take that Derby roar for granted ever again. Never have fans meant so much to a sport. Never has a winner got such a tremendous reaction and never has a reserved man like Owen McKenna danced his way up the front of a heaving stand at Shelbourne Park.

It was a beautiful night. No one can deny the McKenna’s and the Comerford’s this victory. It was destiny and we all believed she could do it. As soon as I pulled her name from the draw after the semi-finals, I knew she would be crowned the Derby champion. Never have I had so much confidence in my selection in all my life.

After what happened with Pestana twelve months ago, the industry needed this result. We have been through so much turmoil both pre and post covid. We are a resilient bunch and thanks to our canine friends because we wouldn’t be here without them.

Greyhound Racing is ‘Sexy’ Again
Susie Sapphire lit up HQ like a Christmas tree. She is the Honeysuckle of the horse racing world, the Kellie Harrington of the boxing world and the Leona Maguire of the golf world.

It really has been a year for the ladies and about time too. Susie Sapphire has made greyhound racing sexy again and I couldn’t be prouder of our industry.

Raw Emotion
I don’t think there was a dry eye in HQ on Saturday night. Even people who didn’t back Susie were cheering for her because real greyhound fans knew she was the classiest one in the race.

The most consistent, the youngest and the most talented. This Derby final will live long in all of our memories. We will be telling our grandchildren about the night Susie Sapphire brought the greyhound world to a standstill.

We will all remember where we were the night Owen McKenna’s little Susie became the 2021 champion. Long live greyhound racing.

Well done to all the finalists. It was huge achievement to get that far and at least you can all go to bed knowing you were beaten by the best greyhound in the race.

What a run from Singalong Sally; my ante post pick at 66/1. She did me proud. Well done to Pat Buckley for getting her into tip top condition at the right time. We can’t wait to see what our finalists do next.

There is no time to rest though. We have the Puppy Derby and the Laurels to devour next. We are spoilt for choice. Don’t just support the Derby, support the industry as much as you can. Visit your local track for a night out, for great good, for a pint, for a chat with friends.

Go racing to see if you can learn more about the sport. Go racing to see if you can spot the next Derby winner as they make their debut. I’m sad that its over. I really am.

The Show Must Go On
I woke up on Sunday morning with a horrible empty feeling in my stomach. It sounds dramatic but the amount of work that goes into an event like the Derby is enormous. It’s a job that I love and I’m incredibly lucky to be in the position I’m in so a massive thank you to John Boyle, BoyleSports and my boss Leon Blanche for trusting me with such a big event.

I expressed all my thanks to everyone in last week’s blog so I won’t bore you all again! For me it was the most enjoyable Derby I have ever experienced. I said it from the very start this was the year for the ladies. I was one of few who witnessed the bleakness of the 2020 Derby and I hope we never have to endure that ever again. Our industry is full of love and care for our greyhounds.

That was pretty evident this year due to the power of social media. The sooner we get back onto mainstream television the better. We deserve the coverage. We deserve to show the world our brilliant sport.

Keep up the good work everyone. We are absolutely flying it.

Thank you all so much from myself and BoyleSports for all the lovely messages and comments. The engagement on social media has been HUGE. From Brian Arnold to our zooms with Ian Fortune, Barry Drake, Kevin Hennessy and Damien Lonergan. We have a fantastic group of knowledgeable people and that must be highlighted.

I would say see you all next year but I’ll see you all at the track. I’m looking forward to the Puppy Derby and I aim to go to the Laurels this year as I have never been before.

Over and out.

All my love, Sarah. X