The dust is only beginning to settle at Shelbourne Park after last weekend’s festival of racing. Over Friday and Saturday, the greyhound enthusiasts were gripped by proceedings at the most famous venue in the sport.
The pups whet the appetite on Friday in the opening round of the Juvenile Derby before The Other Kobe became the newest superstar of the greyhound racing world, capturing the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby the following evening.
As always, Derby final night didn’t disappoint with exceptional racing from start to finish but the undoubted highlight was the electrifying display of The Other Kobe as he followed in the footsteps of his litter brother, 2022 Derby champion Born Warrior.
Litter brothers winning a Derby is unprecedented and may never be repeated which makes the achievement that more remarkable. For their breeder and trainer, Jennifer O’Donnell it continued a long rich family history in the blue riband.
Her father, the late great Matt O’Donnell won the Derby three times, while her mother Francs had tasted victory in the classic in 2012. Now Jennifer has two Derby victories and she is far from finished. Who knows what the future holds but she is clearly exceptionally talented in her chosen field.
As for The Other Kobe; the son of Ballymac Best is having a well-earned rest although connections have suggested he will race again in the future which comes as tremendous news.
This weekend, the future Derby challengers will again be in action as the second round of the Time Greyhound Nutrition Juvenile Derby takes centre stage at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.
There were many sensational opening round performances to speak of including that of De Lahdedah, who is now clear favourite for outright honours. He produced the most incredible display to come from a mile back to deny Ballinakil Alf. Sadly, fastest opening round winner Daleroad Duke will be an absentee on Saturday after picking up a minor injury. He is most certainly one for the future.
Others that were hugely impressive last week included the razor-sharp Grouchos Duke, Droopys Flytline, Jetara, Stonepark Syd and Short Grip, while many more caught the eye in victory and defeat.
There is no doubt, this is a very strong renewal of the Juvenile Derby and a number of potential superstars are likely to come to the fore in the coming weeks ahead of the September 30th decider.
Elsewhere, the final of the Kasco A1 Derby is the highlight at Curraheen Park, Cork on Saturday night and the rapidly progressive Jacktavern Bolt is the one to beat. A mighty impressive winner of each of his three previous outings in the prelims, he need only start on terms before asserting into the bend. He seems destined to go on to the Laurels if coming through unscathed.
At Waterford, the final of the Dave Collins Memorial Munster Oaks is the feature. A wide open contest with a number of the field holding strong claims, so much will come down to the opening exchanges.
Role Model is perhaps the most likely pace- setter, but Glengar Martha, Easy Razzle, Chelms Ramona and Montana Fantasy could all have a part to play if avoiding traffic.
There is also plenty of Irish interest across the water with Graham Holland and Liam Dowling both targeting the Birmingham Cup and the St Leger at Perry Barr.
The most intriguing runner in the Birmingham Cup is the Irish Derby runner-up Bockos Crystal. She ran her heart out in the Derby decider and is sure to give a tremendous account of herself. If taking to the Perry Barr circuit, she could yet emerge as the one to beat.
She is joined by her Graham Holland trained kennel companion Unreal Bruiser, while Liam Dowling is represented by the very talented Ballymac Run.
The Irish challenge for the St Leger is a very strong one. Ballymac Katie was a sensational winner over 750yds on Derby final night at Shelbourne Park and is more than capable of going close for Liam Dowling. Graham Holland also has a strong hand with both Jacktavern Bella and Garfiney Blaze amongst the best stayers in training.