Born Warrior was crowned the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby champion last weekend in front of the packed Shelbourne Park stands. It was a wonderful night for those involved in the brilliant tracker but also for those who love greyhound racing.
The Derby final itself will live long in the memory with Born Warrior rallying on the run in to get the better of Ballymac Finn. For the champion, it is perhaps his last start for some time with the son of Ballymac Best set to be given a break. It’s been mooted that his next target could be the Winter Racing Festival at the end of the year.
There is so much top-class action to look forward to ahead of the festival, however. The Laurels will kick off at Curraheen Park, Cork next Saturday, while the Leger at Limerick come soon after the conclusion of the Cork showpiece.
Of course, there is also so much going on at present. Last Friday saw the start of the RPGTV sponsored Juvenile Derby and the stars of the future certainly shone bright. The second round of the classic will dominate Saturday’s action at Shelbourne Park. The stars of last week’s action were Trinity Junior, Velasco, Crafty Jayko, Brinkleys Magic, Storys Cashout and Radical Hero.
All five have claims in their respective second round heats but it’s likely more names will come to the fore. The aforementioned Velasco will be seen by many as the banker of the second round in Heat 4. Blessed with tremendous early speed and an ideal draw on the rail, the Owen McKenna trained star looks the likely pace-setter.
Romeo Hanzo and Bogger Hunter can offer most resistance in the early yards but its hard to see either leading Velasco and he can fully justify his position at the head of the outright betting.
Not every heat looks as straightforward. The opening heat is a perfect example. Only Brinkleys Magic won his opening round assignment but he faces a tough draw and may need to come away racing to follow up on last week’s tremendous success when holding a tight line on the rail.
Instead, the Champion Unraced winner Another Holiday is nominated as the one to beat. He suffered a first career defeat last weekend but had shown exceptional early dash in his six previous wins. With the inside of the track likely to get tight, Another Holiday can shoot from the front from trap five before going on to score. Paradise Nikibel is seen as a threat in the stripes of six.
Heat 2 features three opening round heat winners Petersburg, Trinity Junior and Crafty Jayko. Of the three, Trinity Junior appeals most after setting the standard last weekend with a superb 28.11 return. He faces two very notable rivals, however.
Both Tullig Raven and Droopys Got It were out of luck last time but have shown a huge level of form in the past. If either were to produce their best, they would certainly have a big say in the finish.
The three remaining heats look pretty open. Clona Duke is selected to come home in Heat 3. He overcame early traffic to emerge a good winner last weekend and should he put his best foot forward, he might have too much in his locker for Ballymac Drama and Three Canons.
Bens Teddy and Ballymac Run can battle out the finish in Heat 5, while a number of talented performers including the Oaks winner Raha Mofo line out in the final heat. The latter was second to Trinity Junior last week but will have plenty of support. She needs to be at her sharpest, however, as Storys Cashout, Radical Hero and Romeo Command are all very capable of going fast.
For those wishing to keep up to date with all the action, the first nine races from Shelbourne Park on Saturday night will be shown live by the competition sponsors, RPGTV.