The future stars of Irish greyhound racing will take centre stage at Shelbourne Park this evening as the 2021 SIS Juvenile Derby draws to what should be a fitting conclusion. The famous competition has been won by so many of Ireland’s very best greyhounds over the years including subsequent Irish Derby champions Make History and Cool Performance.
Whether there is a future Derby champion in tonight’s line-up has yet to be seen but there seems no doubt that they are a very talented bunch with a massive future. The big three in the betting are impressive semi final winner Droopys Gloss and litter brothers Serene Ace and Crokers Spirit.
Droopys Gloss is the sole bitch in the line-up and has been in tremendous form, posting a fastest of the competition 28.06 in the opening round and a standard setting 28.13 in the semis. If she is to follow up tonight, the Murt Leahy trained star will need to be at her very sharpest in the early exchanges to contain the likes of Serene Ace and Off The Pitch who can really fly into the bend.
Crokers Spirit is drawn in trap two and is another with big claims as he is likely to clear the rails runner Barefoot Supremo in the opening yards. He chased home Droopys Gloss in the semi-finals but displayed massive pace in defeat.
The second semi final winner last week was Deadly Diego. He is certainly a greyhound that could go on to big things in the coming year but seems likely to appreciate a step up to 550yds. The draw hasn’t been particularly kind to the Karol Ramsbottom trained star and he needs a flying exit from trap five to make a real splash.
Instead, it might be worth focusing your attention on the aforementioned duo of Droopys Gloss and Serene Ace. The latter is the most likely pace-setter but, unlike his rival, 525yds is as far as he wants to go. In fact, the final twenty-five yards are a bit of a struggle.
That could make all the difference as Droopys Gloss is very strong. A fast starter with enough pace to stay in touch with Serene Ace to the third turn, Droopys Gloss will really wind it up from that point. Should proceedings go to script, Droopys Gloss can assert under the shadow of the post to claim a famous success.
A little later on the Shelbourne card, the final of the RCETS Open 600 should also provide a thrilling spectacle. Allforthebest and Beach Avenue currently head the betting but Glendalough could be the value option from a favourable draw on the fence. He has been in tremendous form and is a potential pace-setter.
Meanwhile at Curraheen Park in Cork, there is no room for error in the semi finals of the Irish Laurels. Both heats are packed with quality, although the opening heat is particularly hot with so many of the field proven classic performers.
In fact, there are two classic winners in the line-up. To highlight the strength of this contest, one of the aforementioned classic winners, Epic Hero is likely to start as one of the outsiders. The Leger champion is drawn in trap six, which is less than ideal given the fact that he is an inside seed.
The second classic winner is Ballymac Wild. He will be fancied to go close from a far more favourable draw in three although he needs to return to his fast-starting ways with the likes of Romeo Magico and Ballymac Fairone drawn on his inner. Both Romeo Magico and Ballymac Fairone have claims but a resurgent Knight Tornado might emerge as the biggest threat.
The second heat is a more straightforward affair with Skywalker Barry a short price to return to winning ways. The favourite for outright success, Skywalker Barry has superb early dash and seems right at home around Curraheen Park.
He is drawn on the right side of the early paced Droopys Good and can assert before the turn to claim his place in the decider on the back of an impressive success. If there is to be a surprise, Droopys Good is perhaps best equipped to provide it, although local runner Lynchy Boy and the talented Drahan Jet are also entitled to respect.