Explosive Boy was the undoubted star in the opening round of the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial and is now clear favourite with the firms for outright glory. It really was the display of a greyhound that has everything needed to go right to the very top.
Rocketing from traps, displaying stunning early speed and huge pace to the third turn, he posted an incredible 15.87 to the third turn. To put that into context, in the remaining twelve heats, Adamant Best was fastest as he stopped the clock in 16.15, some .28sec slower than Explosive Boy.
That equates to a four lengths which is a significant amount of daylight to have on your next nearest rival. Of course, Explosive Boy continued to stride out with real purpose before crossing the line a mile clear in 28.08.
As a reward for his opening round efforts, the Pat Guilfoyle trained Explosive Boy has again been handed a favourable draw on the rail in Heat 4. While he may well take some stopping, his task is somewhat tougher than last week with Ballymac Cashout, De Machine and Deadly Destroyer to contend with.
Ballymac Cashout, in particular, is capable of really putting it up to Explosive Boy. He has been a little frustrating to follow but there is no doubting his raw pace and ability. Were he to hit the ground racing from trap four, he and Explosive Boy could potentially serve up an early contender for race of the year.
As we’ve suggested many times in this column over the past couple of months, the current crop of females is as good as any in memory. That theme also applies to the Kirby Memorial with Singalong Sally and Fabulous Azurra amongst the most impressive opening round winners.
As with Explosive Boy, both have been handed a favourable draw in the red of one and are likely to take some stopping in their respective heats. Singalong Sally posted a rapid 28.32 last week, only second to Explosive Boy, and if she hits the lids again, she can come home in front in the final heat at the expense of Rural Star, Jackslittlething and All About Ted.
Fabulous Azurra also impressed, winning in 28.50, but she will have her hands full in Heat 6 where another of Ireland’s fastest bitches, Ballymac Ariel, is seen as the one to beat. The latter is blessed with as much pace as any greyhound in training but needs to sharpen up in the early yards.
Have no doubt, should Ballymac Ariel start on terms, she is very likely to firmly establish herself as a leading fancy for outright honours. It is far from a two-dog affair, however. Bockos Belly, Vipers Buzz and opening round scorers Vigorous Buck and Valegro all possess huge pace and wouldn’t need much luck to get involved.
The remaining heats are also packed with quality and the likes of Zafiro, Clona Bolt and Ballymac Merlin appeal in their respective heats.
Another top competition gets underway in Dublin as the Shelbourne 600 gets underway. The 600yd trip at Shelbourne Park is the greatest test of a racing greyhound on the planet and it just so happens that many of the world’s fastest greyhound will be taking their chance in the famous competition.
Billys Diva was desperately unlucky not to win her opening round assignment in the Kirby Memorial, suffering bad crowding on the turn, but the Kirby’s loss is very much Shelbourne’s gain. She is amongst the very best and looks a big player in the competition as she seeks to become the first female winner since 1990.
She lines out in Heat 3 and will be joined by one of the stars of 2020 in Ballymac Wild, the hugely talented Auxerre and the hugely promising Badminton Rossa. Whatever the outcome, it should throw up a special performance.
The final heat is particularly hot also. Kennel companions Great Name That and Ballymac Kingdom are both made for the 600yd distance with the latter the reigning champion. They will be joined by Easter Cup runner-up Beach Avenue, the hugely strong No Stranger and the Mullingar 550yd record holder Clonfert Lorenzo.