The wait is nearly over; It’s time to dust off the glad rags and prepare yourself for the best six weeks in greyhound racing as the 2019 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby commences this Friday and it promises to be a night full of action, magic and tremendous winners.
BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2019
This is my first year to work for BoyleSports during the Irish Greyhound Derby and it’s a privilege to be involved with a company who is steeped in greyhound history. Owner John Boyle is a huge fan and contributor to our wonderful sport; sponsoring races, competitions and coursing events all over Ireland.
This year the derby will be extra special for me in my new role and I’m really looking forward to the future and of course, this year’s new (or reccurring) champion!
156 greyhounds will take part in this year’s Derby with 26 heats to be run at Shelbourne Park. This is an increase of 13% on entries from last year’s event which is a phenomenal result and goes to show the level of top-class greyhounds in the country this year. The winner takes home a whopping €140,000 with the runner up receiving €27,000.
Ballyanne Sim won the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby last year for Mark Robinson and Eugene Cleary at 20/1 and it may surprise you to learn that we actually lost money on the race! We took some hefty bets on the champion and were forced to slash his price into 10/1 on the day of the race.
It was great to hear the news recently that the 2018 ‘Supreme Greyhound of the Year’ winner Ballyanne Sim was going to have a crack at defending his title as his injury he sustained in the Dundalk International was not as bad as initially thought.
He is 40/1 with us to win back-to-back Derby titles, something that hasn’t been done since 1955 when Spanish Battlefield won not only his 2nd title but his 3rd Derby trophy.
First Round Heats
Let’s have a look at the first-round heats that start this Friday with attention drawn immediately to our offer on the track record being smashed during the derby this year. It’s Even money that the record will be broken as the track is running exceptionally fast and especially with the wonderful Ballymac Arminta nearly breaking the 525 and 550 clocks already this year. It’s only a matter of time before we see a new track record holder so Even money looks a decent bet.
Heat 1: All the money is coming for Paul Hennessy’s Jaytee Tornado who is 11/4 from 7/2, regardless of the hot favourite Clona Blaze in trap five who was 3rd in the Derby last year. Jaytee Tornado has had his seeding changed back to a wide seed now and recorded 29.32 around HQ last month so he must be feared.
Heat 2: We have seen money for Ripley Lad who is now 7/4 from 2/1. Owned and trained by Austin Kelly, this young dog has won 5 races from 12 starts and finishes very strong, with his best time for the 550 distance being 29.56. Catunda Logan in trap four has to be given a chance at 4/1 with the favourite in trap one at 11/8, Sophies Man for Peter Cronin.
Heat 4: We have trimmed the price on Lenson Austin into 7/2 from 4/1 and he looks a likely improver for Graham Holland, however he is still a maiden after four starts. His kennel companion Murts Boher looks to have a chance from trap four at 11/4.
There is a track record holder in trap two, Redzer Ardfert, who recorded 41.06 for the 750 yards trip. While he might not lead, he will be coming home with a rattle. Droopys Davy in trap six can never be ignored; 10 times a scorer for Pat Buckley with almost €90,000 in prize money having won the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial.
He is lightly raced for a three-year-old with 28 races, but when he gets it right at the traps, he is hard to pass. He is not my tip but at 7/2 we are keeping him on side. Jumeriah Buddy in trap one doesn’t stay the best but is still learning as he has only raced 9 times. He is 3/1 and will probably set the pace.
It’s a tricky heat but Murts Boher (11/4) gets my vote based on his last race where he finished second to the very fast Burgess Bucks.
There is only one UK entry this year which is disappointing but maybe they are still sore over the Irish claiming this year’s English Greyhound Derby with Priceless Blake, who misses this Derby sadly with a strained metatarsal bone. He will be fine in a few weeks thank God, but just not in time for the English/Irish Derby Double that was completed by Toms The Best back in 1997/98.
Heat 5: Trickys Dumbo is the UK entry and he runs from trap four in Heat 5 and is 4/1 from 9/2. The favourite is Ballymac Cooper at 4/7. Cooper is a machine and will go very far in this year’s competition with 14/1 available on him in the outright market.
Heat 6: Onto the next biggest mover in the heats for Friday night and it’s Deadly Dynamite, who is now 7/4 from 5/2 in Heat 6. He is an exciting young dog who turns two next month for trainer Karol Ramsbottom. He has 3 wins from 7 starts with the future looking bright. Cushie Jet is reverting to a shorter trip as he was running the 750 yards Corn Cuchulainn competition and is 5/2.
Heat 9: It’s all about Toolmaker Me Dad for previous Derby winning trainer Robert Gleeson. Robert is great young man who has done well for himself on the greyhound scene. Toolmaker has had a small break, but his trials suggest he is fit and ready and we have cut his price into 9/4 from 11/4. The great Burgess Bucks is the 4/5 favourite and the one to beat though in trap four.
Heat 11: We have seen early money for Run Happy who is Even money from 5/4 and it’s no surprise to see some support for him after his epic effort in the BoyleSports Champion Stakes last month where he led and was caught in the final stages by Ballymac Arminta. He has beautiful early pace and is 25/1 from 33/1 in the outright.
Heat 13: Graham Holland has an army of Derby entries including four runners in Heat 13; Clonbrien Price, Ballyhimikinbolt, Totos Park and Slippy Cian! Most of you will remember Slippy Cian in last year’s Derby final and Clonbrien Prince won on final night too. These four dogs are all extremely talented but if I had to pick one it would be Slippy Cian in trap six. He is a recent winner of the race of Champions final at Tralee in June and a dog who possesses a serious amount of speed. He is 11/8 in heat 13 and 20/1 in the outright.
I will keep you all updated throughout the week with any more movers and shakers on Twitter and will be back on with a look at the heats on Saturday night too. The best of luck to all taking part. Let the Derby fever begin!
*Prices correct at time of publication
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