WE'RE delighted to welcome esteemed greyhounds expert Ian Brindle (@RacingBrindle) to WLB for a debut piece looking at Friday's fascinating Irish Greyhound Derby from at Shelbourne Park.
Irish Greyhound Derby | Friday 14th August 2020
The Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby commences on Friday with LENSON BOCKO bidding to become the first dog to win back-to-back renewals of the prize since the mighty Spanish Battleship in 1954.
The son of Droopys Jet has a preference for the rails, so the allocation of trap three in the fourth heat of the opening round isn’t ideal, though connections have always earmarked the defence of his title as being the priority. While held in the final of last month’s Champion Stakes, its certainly worth noting that he had accounted for a useful yardstick in BALLYMAC ANTON on his first run following absence.
That final was to go the way of PESTANA and Owen McKenna’s dog saw his price predictably crash in the market as a consequence. Noted for his strong early pace, he wowed the clockwatchers in a recent trial over 525 yards and his match-fitness will ensure that he makes an early impact in this year’s Derby.
Almost unheralded in that affair was the run of BALLYMAC WILD. Liam Dowling’s charge outperformed market expectations and certainly didn't give up the chase when put under pressure. Having only just passed his second birthday, he will still be filling out that 36kg frame and he represents a trainer that has consistently been able to get the best out of his dogs when it matters most.
NEWINN SESSION went into winter as one of the ante-post favourites from the Graham Holland team but his currency dipped following a shock elimination in the semi-finals of the Produce Stakes at Clonmel. In an era where social media has become king, there’s been no better exponent of it than kennelmate, NEWINN TAYLOR and the son of Droopys Buick has assembled a cult following on Twitter.
Coming into the competition with a flawless record of twelve victories on the spin, the latest saw him dutifully land the odds in the final of the aforementioned Produce Stakes.
That said, there’s very little fat left in his ante-post price at present so it is somewhat surprising that JACKS SOLUTION, who finished a creditable second in that final, is trading at odds as big as 66/1 and I simply cannot let that pass.
Peter Cronin has a knack of reaching Classic finals with seemingly unfancied types, and the son of Ballymac Vic is certainly no slouch. He will face a stern early test from Champion Stakes third, BALLYMAC COOPER in the opening round, but as he's out of a bitch that stayed further, the step up to the Derby distance really shouldn't be an issue.
There's no shortage of unexposed types lurking in the field and Mark O’ Donovan will be hoping that DEADLY MISSILE hasn’t peaked too early. The dog got within 0.03 seconds of a long-standing track record at Shelbourne last Saturday and the bookmakers predictably ran for cover. The draw will see him facing off against SKYWALKER LOGAN, the dog that smashed Nottingham’s track record during the first round of last year’s English Derby.
O'Donovan has his kennel in flying form and DA BOLD EAGLE has potentially flown under the radar. He may not have beaten much when pulverising his rivals in a stakes competition at Clonmel last year, but he’s paid his way for connections and one defeat at Shelbourne is the only blemish on his card.
It’s hard to believe that Pat Buckley’s last Irish Derby winner came in 2009 but RUN HAPPY almost had last year’s final in his paws before being overhauled close home. The ante-post market has been notably frosty regarding his English Derby hero, PRICELESS BLAKE and it is GLENGAR BALE that has captured the imagination of the punters.
While there's no such thing as an easy heat in the Derby, the July 18 whelp will have an early chance to lay down a marker.
Unceremoniously bundled over in the Juvenile Classic at Tralee, he exhibited solid trackcraft over course-and-distance last month from a draw that wouldn’t have suited and he certainly was not stopping come the finish.
The competition will be broadcast/streamed live by SIS into betting offices and websites from 13 August and is to be carried from the third round by Racing Post Greyhound TV. Finals night taking place on 19 September.
Irish Greyhound Derby – Ballymac Wild (33/1 each-way Bet365)
Irish Greyhound Derby – Jacks Solution (66/1 each-way William Hill)