Susie Sapphire Remains The Jewel Of Irish Greyhound Racing

Susie Sapphire Remains The Jewel Of Irish Greyhound Racing
By Ian Fortune
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Susie Sapphire is the undisputed darling of Irish greyhound racing. Her performances through last year’s Derby, at a time when those involved in the sport needed a lift, were nothing short of miraculous. When she raced to Derby glory, the mood of exaltation and genuine appreciation from the packed Shelbourne Park stands was palpable. 

Those lucky enough to be on track on that famous night last September will remember that feeling for many years to come. It was for all these reasons that her participation in the Bresbet Easter Cup was a very big deal. 

To see her back on the track after a near five-month-layoff was wonderful but to see her return to winning ways last weekend was even better. After two defeats in her first two starts of the year, a select few questioned whether she would ever be as good as she was in September 2021. 

Thankfully, she cast aside such doubts with a devastating display of early speed in the second round of the famous competition. Despite a tough draw in five, the daughter of Droopy Jet produced the most perfect start to dominate from the outset. 

Romeo Magico did run a remarkable race to finish a close second but Susie Sapphire was close to her imperious best as she crossed the line with almost a length to spare in 29.45. 

She has gone quicker in the past, most notably when becoming the fastest Derby winner of all time, but her third bend clock and the manner in which she won suggested there is even better to come. In her three major victories, in the Puppy Oaks, Irish Oaks and Derby, she improved steadily through the prelims to produce her best on the night that mattered and that could again be the case in the Easter Cup. 

It's no surprise to see her at the head of the sponsor’s betting at 7-4 and she can justify that billing on Saturday night in the opening semi-final. Drawn in four, she again seems a certain pace-setter and will be a very short price to make every inch. 


One Time Only is perhaps her greatest threat in the early yards although he put in a flat display last week and needs to find top form. Instead, Scarty Yank, who is drawn in trap five, is nominated as the main danger to Susie Sapphire. 

The battle for the third qualifying spot could go right down to the wire with big finishers Darbys Delight and Beach Avenue likely to be coming fast at Fast Fit Paddy and One Time Only. 


The second heat features three fancied runners from the powerful kennel of Graham Holland. Romeo Magico is the likely favourite for Holland, while his kennelmates Knight Tornado and Bockos Vieira are likely to be his nearest challengers in the market.   


So much will depend on the start but Romeo Magico has developed into a real star and looks certain to take some stopping if he comes away on terms. Knight Tornado and Bockos Vieira will certainly need to be doing everything right to lower his colours. 

The remaining trio of Barefoot Supremo, Sentimental Lad and Priceless Jet are all very strong and fast enough to figure but they may need others to make mistakes. 

This evening’s action is headlined by the semi finals of the Greyhound & Petworld Juvenile Classic at Tralee. Since the inaugural running in 2007, so many future superstars including a few Derby champions have started their career in the competition. 


This year’s stake looks as strong as any in history and both of tonight’s heats are packed with potential classic winners. So many of those in action in the opening heat could be anything in the future. Droopys Edison, Glengar Scholar and Mustang Jet have all looked top class but the one that has really caught the eye is Hoodoo Brown. 

The son of Vulturi has yet to win a race but has shown exceptional pace and power. He may need the gaps to open at the right time but, have no doubt, he is destined for great things and is chosen to get off the mark tonight. 

The second heat is no less competitive. Da Bold Freddie, Coolavanny Hoffa and Mullingarshuffle were all hugely impressive in the second round and the winner is likely to come from this trio. If Da Bold Freddie can handle the inside draw, he may get first run on his rivals.  


There will also be plenty of interest in the opening round of the Brownstown Tango & NTSC Open Bitch Unraced stake at Newbridge. The aforementioned Susie Sapphire actually debuted in the stake twelve months ago and it has been a great starting point for many future stars. 

This year’s stake gets underway this evening and so many of the entry catch the eye on pedigree but, in terms of qualifying form, Burgess Rapid is going to attract most attention after recording a stunning 17.38 around Youghal in qualifying.  


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