Thrills & Spills As BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Gets Off To A Thrilling Start

And just like that, the opening round of the 2021 BoyeSports Irish Greyhound Derby is over.

What a weekend of action. The racing was so good I totally forgot about Dublin playing Mayo. We all love an underdog story and just like Mayo, there are numerous underdogs in this year’s Derby that have already shaken up the betting.

Dead Heat Start
Things got off to a flying start with a dead heat no less. Craggan Mor took a flier from trap three only to be chased down by the consistent Scooby Princess in 29.79. Thankfully Singalong Sally got through as a fastest fourth qualifier and she will come on for the run as it was badly needed. We said goodbye to Front Amani who failed to fire on all cylinders, so we wish her well as she didn’t seem herself.

Scooby Princess remains 25/1 for Jennifer O’Donnell while Craggan Mor was eased out to 100/1 from 66/1 and remains friendless in the betting for trainer Francis Murray.

Boy Explodes Onto Derby Scene
Patrick Guilfoyle is just a lovely man to talk to. Softly spoken and very modest about his achievements. A cool customer who is an exceptional man with a dog. Explosive Boy is a son of Good News, who of course won the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby for Guilfoyle in 2017, so it would be a tremendous story if he could do it again.

Explosive Boy won his heat in 29.47 with his odds cut into 11/2 from 6/1, but he was as big as 12/1 prior to the start of the Derby. So, without even running a race in ages, his odds were hammered into the shortest priced antepost favourite we have seen in years. Stefans Rocket ran a stormer in second for Shea Campbell and is 50/1 from 100/1.

Ultra-Consistent Ballymac Wild & Gutsy BoyleSports King
I know it’s easy to get carried away after the opening round, we all do it. You see your favourite greyhound win their heat and think that’s it, sure he can’t be beaten now. I’m guilty of that anyway, but one dog that even the coldest of hearts couldn’t help but love is Ballymac Wild.

Liam Dowling oozes class and so do his greyhounds. They do him proud all the time. Ballymac Wild has been in so many finals, danced every dance and showed his rivals how to get things done in 29.66. Powerhouse.

What about BoyleSports King though? It has to be the nicest heart-warming story of the Derby this year. He was narrowly denied in 2019 and after nearly two years on the sidelines with an injury, our couch potato is back. Well done Dolores Ruth. We are all rooting for BoyleSports King and if you win the 2021 title, McDonalds should give you free McFlurrys for life.

Ballymac Wild is now 16/1 from 25/1, while BoyleSports King is 50/1 from 66/1.

Neilus O’Connell Is Flying
Again, I know it’s very early in the Derby, but Neilus and his kennel are flying. Razldazl Peaky has been enjoying a purple patch of late with three wins last month and then won his opening heat in 29.90. Razldazl Monarch and Razldazl Annie are through too with Peaky 66/1 from 100/1, Monarch 100/1 and Annie 200/1. Keep her lit Neilus.

The talented Skywalker Barry was third and remains 33/1.

Ariel Has All The Right Signals
That man Liam Dowling Again. Ballymac Ariel is just magical to watch. One thing to note is her seeding has been changed to a middle from a wide. She beat the 2020 English Greyhound Derby winner Deerjet Sydney by 4½ lengths in 29.50 with her chances into 12/1 from 16/1.

It’s 10/3 from 4/1 for a bitch to win the Derby. Can it be done? We have Susie Sapphire, Ballymac Beanie, Ballymac Art, Pennylane Sheba, Scooby Princess and more.

Great To See Broadstrand Ryan Win In Style
John A. Linehan is another lovely man to talk to and he got Broadstrand Ryan through to the second round along with Galvarino and Droopys Yes. Ryan came to Shelbourne Park back in April and won in 28.24. He was added to the antepost betting immediately after and is one to keep an eye on for sure.

Ryan clocked 29.66 and is 20/1 from 33/1 while Droopys Yes is 66/1 and Galvarino a 150/1 chance.

BoyleSports Champion Stakes winner De Machine was second and remains 25/1 with Skywalker Cilla third. Another bitch to add to the list of ladies who was backed into 33/1 from 100/1 prior to the Derby kicking off. Interesting.

Jack’s Chances Not Little
Jackslittlething is half a point away in the betting from being the new favourite and it’s not hard to see why.

This son of Droopys Sydney – Limini was paw-perfect wearing the black jacket on Saturday night as he skipped round HQ in the fastest time of this year’s renewal so far in 29.10. It’s easy to see why his odds have tumbled into 6/1 from 20/1 meaning he is second favourite just in behind Explosive Boy. We get great craic out of his name though.

The Pillar syndicate might regret calling him that now, poor Jack!

Other Heat Winners
Ballymac Fairone was extremely impressive in heat 7 when winning in 29.67, beating Corn Cuchulainn winner Priceless Jet by ¾ of a length. His odds have shortened into 25/1 from 33/1.
Pennylane Sheba landed the finale on Friday night in 29.53 which resulted in her odds getting clipped into 50/1 from 100/1.

As well as Jackslittlething on Saturday night, the 2020 Sporting Press Oaks winner Ballymac Beanie was sublime from trap two with her chances cut into 33/1 from 50/1.

BoyleSports Champion Plate finalist Amidus Luke dug deep to win heat 17 in 29.63 and he is now 40/1 from 100/1. Other heat winners that have seen their chances clipped include Jacob Tashadelek (20/1 from 50/1), Macho Pride (33/1 from 100/1) and Mallogs Marley (50/1 from 66/1).

My antepost pick Romeo Magico is still 33/1 after he won the final heat on Saturday night in 29.62. Thanks to team Holland for letting us get up close to their stars. Not sure Badger (that’s Romeo’s nickname) enjoyed our selfie though!

A quick note to say THANK YOU to those of you who are kind enough to stop and let me interview you. Social media has become a huge part of our industry and while it’s great to see 200 fans on the stand and 100 in the restaurant, we must look after the greyhound folk at home and at other tracks. You can catch pictures of all the heat winners on my social media channels; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Our sport deserves the coverage and along with Talking Dogs TV and RPGTV, you won’t miss a thing. Thank you and don’t be afraid to stop for a chat anytime.

Get Well Soon Champ
Finally, I want to wish Dromana Bucko a speedy recovery. I hope Mark O’Donovan and all his family along with the owners and connections are feeling OK. It’s the worst feeling in the world. The whole greyhound world is thinking of you and Bucko. We hope to see you back on the track someday. The same goes for anyone who suffered an injury with their beloved greyhound, Knocknaboul Syd in particular.

See you Friday.

Sarah x

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