Massive Irish Interest In Saturday's English Derby Final

Massive Irish Interest In Saturday's English Derby Final
Ian Fortune
By Ian Fortune
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The Star Sports/ TRC English Derby commenced at Towcester just over six weeks ago with an initial entry of one hundred and ninety-two. Tomorrow night, the final six competitors will battle it out for an incredible £175,000 and the odds would suggest the cheque as well as a wonderful trophy will be crossing the Irish Sea with Ireland responsible for four of the six finalists. 

It’s an incredible achievement, yet the same thing happened last year before the English finished first and second. A similar result this year would come as a major shock as the Irish dominate the betting with the top four in the market trained on these shores. 

After winning their respective semi-finals in superb fashion, Kildare and Romeo Magico are disputing favouritism. Kildare is trained by Peter Cronin, who has gone close to landing the blue riband in the past, reaching the final on three previous occasions with Crokers Champ, Tinwald Bish and Whoops Jack. 

Crokers Champ was third back in 2014, while Tynwald Bish went even closer, finishing runner-up in 2015. Few would begrudge Cronin a first Derby success and he certainly has a lively chance with Kildare amongst the most exciting young trackers in training.

Romeo Magico represents Ireland’s most prolific trainer for the past decade, Graham Holland. He has won the Irish Derby on three separate occasions but is still seeking a first English success. Romeo Magico is his sixth finalist and is another capable of making a bold bid, hence his lofty position in the betting.

One man that has already tasted English Derby success is Paul Hennessy. The Gowran based handler won the classic for the first time with Jaytee Jet in 2016 and three years later with Priceless Blake. He is actually doubly represented in the final with both Hello Hammond and Priceless Jet likely to attract plenty of support. 

The former is a noted big finisher and has been in exceptional form, while Priceless Jet actually smashed the track record in the quarter finals. 


Savana Beau, who began his racing career with Graham Holland, and Mickys Barrett, who was bred by leading Irish handler Jennifer O’Donnell, complete the line-up and represent the UK. Both are available at big prices but any traffic would aid the cause of Savana beau, in particular. 

It should be a tremendous night at Towcester and hopefully a famous one for Irish greyhound racing. Irish trained greyhounds have won the classic fifteen times in the past and it would be wonderful to make it number sixteen. If doing so, it would be the first time they have done so at Towcester. 

Kildare and Romeo Magico head the betting for a reason. The duo have more early speed than their rivals and, on the strength of an inside draw, Kildare is chosen to set the pace into the back straight. If doing so, he will take some catching.


Romeo Magico is a very obvious danger, especially if making one of his better starts from trap four, while Hello Hammond also seems set to have a big say if gaining a clear passage. Priceless Jet needs to really hammer the lids from the outside box. The best of luck to all involved. 

On this side of the Irish Sea, the feature of the racing action comes at Shelbourne Park where the opening round of the premier staying event on the calendar, the Corn Cuchulainn, and the second round of the Shelbourne Champion 550 dominate the action.   

The best stayers in training will take their chance in the Corn Cuchulainn but it’s a six-bend debutant that will attract most attention. Crafty Kokoro has long looked a potential superstar and she could be very hard to stop in the classic is she does indeed see out the trip. 


Meanwhile, many of those in action in the Shelbourne Champion 550 seem destined to play a big part in the upcoming Boylesports Irish Derby. There were so many superb opening round displays but honour of going fastest went to Hoodoo Brown. 

He has immense pace and is likely to go on to big things in the future although he may need slightly further to really fulfil his promise. The selections for the four heats are Twoinarow, the Other Kobe, Ballymac Leon and Deadly Showtime.  


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