Shelbourne Park Set To Come Alive With Brilliant February Racing

Shelbourne Park Set To Come Alive With Brilliant February Racing
Ian Fortune
By Ian Fortune
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In terms of greyhound racing venues across the globe, there is none more famous than Shelbourne Park and those that are lucky enough to frequent the Ringsend circuit can count themselves truly blessed as week in, week out, it offers up the best racing imaginable. 

January may have been a relatively quiet month but Shelbourne will really come alive this weekend with the start of the Paddy Kehoe Suspended Ceilings Gold Cup. The traditional early season showpiece, it actually begins a little later this year in comparison to recent renewals but it is worth waiting for. 

The standout name amongst the top-class entry is that of Born Warrior. He claimed his place in history in late September by emerging a tremendous winner of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby. He becomes just the second reigning Derby champion, after Tyrur Rhino in 2008, to challenge for Gold Cup honours.  

Tyrur Rhino was ultimately unsuccessful, crashing out in the second round, but Born Warrior is fancied to make a bold bid in the €16,000 Grade One. Blessed with stunning early speed, the Jennifer O’Donnell trained star begins his bid in the last of the six heats. 

The likes of Tullig Raven, Galloping Sydney and Bogger Hunter can’t be taken too lightly but Born Warrior should have too much for the trio if returning to anything close to his brilliant best. It’s worth pointing out he didn’t set the track alight in his latest trial a fortnight ago but is likely to be ready to do himself justice and can come home clear.   

Boylesports, who sponsored the Derby, see Born Warrior as the one to beat with the son of Ballymac Best a 4-1 chance for outright glory ahead of his kennel companion The Other Kobe on 8-1 and the exciting Another Holiday at the same price. 


The Other Kobe faces a very tricky opening round draw in Heat 3. Racing from five, he will cut for the inside rail in the early yards and will need a fast start to get across. If doing so, he is very likely to see off a stellar line-up. 


In contrast to The Other Kobe, Another Holiday has a perfect draw on the fence in the opening heat of the round. The 2022 Champion Unraced winner at Kilkenny has stunning trapping ability and huge early speed and that should see him dictate into the bend. 

Obviously, in what is his first run of the year, he will need to be at his best to account for the likes of Rathdown Molly and Stream Of Sydney, but he is up to the task. Four will qualify from each of the four rounds with the final scheduled for Saturday, February 25th

Attention will then switch to Monday night’s action at Clonmel as the youngsters bid to land the €6,200 on offer in the final of the Rural Kennels Open Unraced Stake. It’s the showpiece of a three-day festival of racing which runs concurrently with the National Coursing Festival.


There seems no doubt a number of those in the line-up will go onto challenge for classic honours in the future. Some are closer to the finished article than others but it remains a race of many possible outcomes.

Droopys Racer may have suffered his first defeat in the semis but arguably ran his best race yet, showing real determination and pace to overcome bad traffic at the turn. Should he start on terms from trap two, he could find himself in pole position by the corner. 

Each of his five rivals are capable of a big run but I’d suggest Hukum will emerge as the best of the remainder. He has yet to do things right but has shown exceptional pace and could have a very bright future. 

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