Sarah, a Shelbourne Park regular, keeps us up-to-date with her take on this year's Derby action.
And just like that it's all over. The winner of this years Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby was Good News and what a wonderful winner he was. Once Good News broke from traps it was all over. He was foot perfect and done everything right. He was so consistent the whole way through the competition and the best dog won on the night so congratulations to Patrick Guilfoyle and all connections, these memories will stay with you for life. Black Farren put in a huge effort in second along with Sonic in third, which is two years in a row now he has finished third in the Irish Derby final. I always feel sad when the derby is over, like something is missing. It has been a mental six weeks for me but I loved every minute of it and sure we are straight into the Puppy Derby and Oaks so I wont be feeling sorry for myself for long.
The track looked magnificent so well done to all the staff and groundsmen, all the people who go unnoticed. You all done a fantastic job. My Mam and Dad were lucky enough to dine upstairs and they really enjoyed their evening. They said the food was fabulous and they had a great view from the Oaks suite. The place was jammed. I was in the betting ring all night and struggled to get from one end to the next with the amount of people betting. There were queues and I think the punters had a good night judging from the roars from the stand when Good News went clear and crossed the finish line in first place. It is a great sight to see the stand fully packed, you couldn't of fitted a small animal up there it was so full. How good was Maireads Spring and Forest Natalee, they ran incredible, the latter winning eight lengths in 28.18 was magical, she is a very good bitch and she definitely spices up the Oaks competition now.
I would also like to thank all the people who approached me Saturday night to wish me well with my weekly column in the Star newspaper and commenting on my IGB Derby blog, your kind words are appreciated so thank you. It's easy to write about something you are passionate about. Greyhound racing means everything to me, I have grown up with greyhounds, I have been parading winners (and losers) since I was small girl and the love I had for the sport back then is just as strong as the love I have for it now. I often have people say to me that they find it odd that a young woman like myself is so deeply involved in greyhound racing but there are loads of women in our sport and as Patrick Guilfoyle said on RTE the other night, our industry doesn't get the publicity it deserves. I will shout from the rooftops to anyone who will listen how wonderful our industry is and how much joy these animals bring to us. I had tears in my eyes for the Guilfoyle family, it was a super night and the standard of racing was incredible. I would also like to wish Margaret Bolton all the success with her new public trainers license and she nearly won best dressed too on Saturday night so well done Margaret.
So there you have it, the derby is over for another year but we have the Night of Stars to look forward to and I believe Patrick Guifoyle has mentioned that the next aim for Good News will be Night of Stars so we have plenty to look forward to. See you all Saturday night for the Oaks and thanks for reading my blog and sharing on social media each week, I appreciate the support.
Over and out.
The only thing I can say about the semi finals on Saturday night is, WOW. What a shock to see Tyrur Harold and Native Chimes get knocked out but they gave us great entertainment over the last few weeks and now we can focus all of our attention on the main event itself, the 2017 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby final. I can't wait, I'm counting down the days until Saturday and I will be one of the first in Shelbourne Park as soon as them gates open so I can soak up all the excitement that the Derby final has to offer with my friends and family.
Black Farren proved me wrong on Saturday in the first semi final, he was awesome. He kept gaining on the very fast away Buckos Dream but I thought Buckos was going to hold on as he had opened up a nice gap when leading. Hey Bound came home really well too, they both clearly have big engines and could surprise us all in the final. Sonic had work to do as I predicted from the draw he had in trap 3 but he still ran a great race. He was never going to catch Good News however and he is now the 13/8 favourite to win the Derby win Sonic priced up at 15/8. The highlight for me was seeing Jaytee Jet qualify for yet another derby final and the passion and love Susan Hennessy and her family has for this dog is something very special, she adores the dog and 'Ted' as they call him back home has as much chance in this Derby as the rest of them. This is now his 6th Derby he has contested in and in his fifth year of his life he has proven that he is as fresh as ever and has the heart of a lion. The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune!
I attended the Derby lunch yesterday like I have done for the last few years and I always enjoy meeting the connections of the finalists and enjoy hearing their stories, and there are some really heart warming stories so let me fill you in.
Good News, owned by the lovely Sandra Guilfoyle and Mary Kennedy and trained by Patrick Guilfoyle. They turned down big money for Good News and now they are in the Derby final!! The sire of Good News, Definite Opinion was of course trained by Patrick himself and won the Cesarewitch the year we were in it with Accordello! Sandra has been recovering from an illness the past year or more and she said that Good News really helped her through it and he is the king of the kennel. It would be a lovely ending for Sandra and connections if they took home the winning trophy after such a tough time. Good News has done everything right so he has a big big chance and if he hits the front, its all over.
Buckos Dream trained by one of the best in the Country Micheal J O'Donovan, was previously owned by Dave Buckley who represented connections at the lunch, top man is Dave and he had Buckos for the Red Mills stake in Kilkenny. Dave sold the dog and donated the money (€15,000) from the sale to a charity for a family whose children were sick and they needed €260,000 for treatment. It's been like winning the Derby for Dave, seeing Buckos reach the final. What a lovely thing to do. Buckos Dream is sure to lead again in the final, and on Derby final night he might not be caught coming home this time and is worth a bet at his price of 5/1.
Father and son, Larry and Jack O'Shea attended the lunch on behalf of owner Richard Brown who couldn't make it. What a great team they make. Jack is so excited to be associated with Hey Bound trained by Peter Cronin and it would be a wonderful win for them. Larry is a marvelous ambassador for our sport and has had plenty of success down through the years.
Black Farren has thirteen members in the Lion-heart syndicate and they are starting the party early this year on the Friday with about twenty or more connections coming over from the UK to support Graham Holland, Mark Wallis being one of them. Nick Cheeseman spoke to Micheal Fortune and is really looking forward to the final and thinks there is a big break in Black Farren. Graham has two dogs in the final which is a brilliant achievement, he had three in the final last year and won it with Rural Hawaii. His other dog is of course Sonic who in my opinion is the one to beat in the final. Sonic's owners are delighted to be in the final again with him and he has his trap this Saturday. It's twelve months on from the final last year when he finished third but he is now wiser and the spud farmer Pat Moloney is delighted with Sonic and hopes he can turn second off the first bend and power home. Could Graham Holland win the Derby for the second year in a row?
Jaytee Jet is in another final as I have mentioned. He won the English Derby, the Dundalk International, the Easter Cup and has an unbelievable CV. Susan said the dogs owes them nothing and he might be retired after the final on Saturday. Another lovely story is Jaytee Jet's full litter brother runs in the derby plate final Jaytee Dutch (nicknamed Baz) and how Paul came across the brothers always makes me smile. John Turner who owns all the Jaytee dogs called Paul in 2013 and wanted Paul to look after any dogs John wanted to send over for Irish competitions. Then Paul started to buy dogs for John and when he was in Kilkenny one evening he spotted the two brothers. They told Paul the smaller dog (Dutch) was better but Paul liked the look of the bigger dog (Jet) and so told John this but John said sure buy the two of them!!! So look lads, Jaytee Jet could win the derby final and his litter brother could win the derby plate!! That would be something special to witness.
So there you have it, everyone has their story. Everyone has their chance and everyone wishes each other luck. May the best dog win.
See you all Saturday night and come and bet with your number one bookmaker Yvonne Barry and if you fancy a bet without, Ray Mulvaney is your man and don't forget to buy a copy of the Star newspaper as I will tipping up my fancies for Derby night.
Show your support for your favourite Derby Finalist this weekend in aid of the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust. Rosettes supporting each of the finalists will be on sale in Shelbourne Park on Saturday night at the Final of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby. Priced at only €5 all money raised from the sale of the rosettes will go directly to the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, with the rosettes themselves paid for by the IGB Marketing department.
Sarah's Quarter Final review
When the news reached me yesterday of Clares Rocket withdrawal I was really disappointed. I wish him a speedy recovery and no doubt he will have a fantastic career at stud. It's such a pity he wont be running this Saturday in the semi-finals, he deserved his chance in the final and his connections will be devastated. That's greyhound racing , it has ups and it has downs but that is what makes it the best sport in the world as the good times make up for the bad.
My bitch Brewers Sarah won again Tuesday night in Shelbourne, I cheered her home from the restaurant in Portugal and we raised a glass of prosecco to Brewers Sarah to celebrate, good ole Lar, he has the dogs flying!
The quarter finals were brilliant and who would of thought Black Farren was going to win, I definitely didn't!! I thought Sonic was superb as usual but what about Native Chimes. I suppose I have overlooked Native Chimes, St Leger finalist, Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Stake finalist and Shelbourne Park Champion 550 winner, not a bad CV he has, but could this son of Premier Fantasy win the Derby? I cannot see why not. His early pace is as good as any and he has showed us he can win from any trap. He is one I would of liked to have been on ante post going into the semi finals, he looks a good bet now. Good News was impressive but probably only won due to Clares Rocket sustaining his wrist injury and Buckos Dream fought so hard but he just doesn't stay. Good News is sure to qualify this Saturday though after drawing trap one.
Tyrur Harold came out so well and cut across the field to the middle, he really needs trap 3 to be at his best but did ok to qualify and never gave up after giving up his lead. Jaytee Jet battled on hard and powered home again to get up for third. I can see Jaytee Jet in the final, he is another dog with a very impressive card. Fair play to Mr Quinn also, Drumsna Star is still there as he ran on well to get third spot in the race won by Native Chimes with Kilgraney Ace finishing second after a moderate start. Jaytee Barracuda is another who did excellent to qualify after being impeded at the first bend in the race won by Sonic, he finished well for second place with Hey Bound in third at 20/1! Was sad to see Pension Plan, Droopys Cabaye, Drive On Tipp and Hovex Mick all getting knocked out. This years derby has just been brilliant, such a high standard of racing never failing to entertain us.
So if you were to ask me who was going to win the derby now I would have to say it's wide open. It's probably between Sonic, Tyrur Harold, Native Chimes and Good News. Cometwopass has a great chance in the Derby Plate with his exceptional early pace and there was no catching him Saturday as he drew clear and won by three lengths. Kilgraney Denver and Fast Fit Alex were class in their heats too so that's a cracking competition.
I had a busy day Saturday as I went to Leopardstown with my Dad as the Champions weekend was on and then we headed to Shelbourne Park. As the weeks have gone by, the crowd has gotten bigger and there was plenty of greyhound enthusiasts there on Saturday to soak up for Derby buzz. The stand was packed and the noise from the roars and cheers was deafening. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Get yourself down to Shelbourne Park this Saturday and don't forget to buy the Star newspaper to see what I'm tipping. I had three winners last week so not doing too bad!
See you then.
Sarah's 3rd Round review
As you are reading this I'm sipping on a glass of sangria by the pool in Villamoura, Portugal, basking (well let's be honest I'm burning) in 29 degrees with my two best friends Jessica and Grace. Our hotel is so fancy that we get Cava for breakfast, I sure am lucky. Don't panic though I'll be back on Friday so I won't miss the quarter finals, as if I'd do that!!
Speaking of the quarter finals I'm delighted to see my antepost selections still there and of course Hovex Mick got trap 1, he has a huge chance of qualifying. Pension plan is still there too, he had no chance of winning against the Rocket but he ran super. There is so much to talk about from Saturday night, we were treated to some cracking races and this is why this is the best greyhound race in the world!
No exceptional clocks were done so the 6/4 for the track record to go Saturday was a tad short! Sonic was just brilliant, Kilgraney Ace, Tyrur Harold and Clares Rocket, Droopys Cabaye, Sonic, Sidarian Fern, Jaytee Jet and Native Chimes all ran incredible. If this was GAA the most improved player award would go to Droopys Cabaye, I love him and he has really just blossomed in this competition. I tipped four winners from eight on Saturday, also had Jaytee Barracuda betting without and a few seconds but the only race I'm kicking myself about is Jaytee Jet, English Greyhound Derby winner and he is showing all these youngsters how it's done. I should have tipped him to win but we will try again this Saturday.
I'm running out of superlatives for Clares Rocket and Sonic, what more can I say about them, simply awesome. Hey Graham, have you ever given Sonic and Clares Rocket a trial together? Who won? Go on Graham you know you want to tell us!!!! If you have not been to any derby heats make sure you head to Shelbourne to see these wonderful greyhound run. It's been a few years since I've seen really exceptional dogs around Shelbourne Park, sure there has been some mighty fast greyhounds but some of my favourites were Tyrur Ted and College Causeway and of course our very own Accordello, our little superstar, but I can now add Sonic and Clares Rocket to that list too.
A small trainer like my Dad could go months without a winner, we don't have many dogs but when Accordello came into our kennels our lives changed. He is the reason we never give up, he is the reason we head to the dogs on a Tuesday evening with an old A5 grader in the back of the van. It's all about hope, it's about dreaming that you might get another dog like Accordello. Greyhound racing brings so much joy to us all.
So I cannot sign off without mentioning my little super flying (old A5 grader ha) bitch Brewers Sarah. She won the final on Tuesday night and I told you all she had a chance so I hope you backed her. My Dad, Mam and I got some kick out of that win, that's our second winner this year so you can imagine how happy we were. She runs again this Tuesday so I'll be roaring for her from sunny Portugal.
Grab a copy of the Star newspaper Saturday to read about my tips.
See you then.
Sarah's 2nd Round review
It's a question I have been asking myself since Clares Rocket ran so well in the English Derby. He has matured like a fine wine and has never been better, he has won over €50,000 in prize money, he is trained by the leading trainer in the Country Graham Holland and has already made the history books after his kidnapping. Can the Rocket be beaten in this years Boylesports Greyhound Derby?! I hope we get to see Sonic and Clares Rocket race against each other in this derby, it will be as popular as the Mayweather v McGregor fight except I don't think it will be as one sided! On Saturday night Clares Rocket managed to go one spot better than his previous clock the week before so he has now done 29.16 & 29.15, there is no stopping this ante post derby favourite and every week I go to the dogs he is the talk of the park, he is a brilliant addition to this derby and he adds that bit of sparkle we all look for every year when this wonderful competition takes place.
A bigger crowd filled the stadium Saturday night and the betting ring was busy and the punters were happy. I am delighted I had another four winners from six in my weekly column in the Star newspaper and thanks for all the lovely messages some of you have sent me, it's really appreciated. I'm not infallible however and got it wrong with Whoops Jack and fancied the winner Sarahjo but we will give it another lash this Saturday. I hope you listened to my Mayo tip as well, to lead at half time and win the match, HOORAY. Dublin v Mayo in the final now, should be epic.
There were a few stand out performances for me on Saturday, obviously Clares Rocket was brilliant but I really thought Tyrur Harold done so well to win. He was really moving and made it look so easy, he will be money on again to win this Saturday when he runs from trap four. His trainer P.J.Fahy is no stranger to success having won the derby with Tyrur Rhino and Tyrur McGuigan but of course he was just the owner, he didn't train them. He now attempts to train the winner of a derby and he has the right dog to go all the way. We all seen how much love P.J has for his dogs when he was interviewed in Towcester during the derby when Tyrur Shay was running so brilliant, his passion is lovely to see.
Hovex Mick and Pension plan as my outsiders from the start are still there and Hovex Mick came home very strong on Saturday, I would like to see him draw trap one or two if he gets through this week. Pension plan should have won, he was cruising and ran off the last bend, letting the Marie Gilbert trained Milldean Skip win the race. Skippy has Swords Pepe through to round three too so best of luck Mr & Mrs Skippy! Heat eight this Saturday looks really juicy, Drive On Tipp, Clonbrien Hero, Lolos Framptons, Kilgraney Ace, Typical Ash and Droopys Tee. Four of these won last week so this will be a cracker of a race. Sonic against Buckos Dream and Droopys Harbour is another great race to look forward to.
Don't forget to buy a copy of the Irish Daily Star this Saturday for my tips. The derby is really starting to heat up now so make sure you get yourself down to the dogs, you can't miss it.
See you Saturday,
PS A big Happy Birthday to my Mam, Ann. The best in the world.
We had Sonic and Clares Rocket nearly break the track record last Thursday and last night we had a 33/1 winner Lolos Framptons. I wonder what tomorrow night will throw at us, I can't wait.
There was a decent crowd in HQ last night for the first batch of eight heats in round 2 of the Derby. The restaurant was packed with bus loads of people, it was great to see a few of them venture down to the bookies to have a flutter, that's what it's all about, attracting a new audience. I had a day off yesterday so I had time to study the form and not in a month of Sundays would I have picked Lolos Framptons. He came out of the traps like a scalded cat and made all in 29.70 at a huge price of 33/1 but was available at 50/1 at one stage. You learn something new everyday but in hindsight he couldn't really be written off and Ronnie Craven does have some really good dogs. I wish him all the best in the Derby, if he keeps running like that you never know how far he will get.
The highlight of the night for me though was the super fast, consistent and ever so easy on the eye, SONIC. He was sublime last night. He missed the kick and was only fourth going into the first bend and was brought out wide after a bit of argy-bargy. Down the back straight it was obvious he had a bit of work to do but would definitely qualify. All was not lost though, he came around the last bend and was a dog on a mission, he went wide and got up on the line to win by a head in 29.62. He was savage and I think he will make it to the final. I think one dog to watch out for is Gerry Holian's Typical Ash, ran really well last night, that's two heats he has won now and Gerry is a brilliant man with a dog. Burnt Beans also impressed me last night after winning in 29.56 and Ian Reilly's dogs are running out of their skin at the moment, more luck to you Ian, be nice to see Meath actually win something this year!!
Yvonne Barry is a woman who knows her dogs, she is a brilliant judge and one of the leading bookies in the ring. Yvonne thinks Good News will make it to the final.
Tomorrow night we can look forward to Clares Rocket, Clonbrien Hero, Tyrur Harold, Jaytee Jet, Whoops Jack and Jaytee Yankee to mention a few. Check out the Irish Daily Star newspaper tomorrow for my tips and I hope to make some more money for my followers. I also think Mayo will beat Kerry this weekend. Mayo to be leading at half time and win the match is a decent price and worth a flutter.
I must not forget to mention my little superstar Brewers Sarah, she is running in a final on Tuesday night, she got trap 3 and has a chance if she comes away. This little bitch has brought us so much joy at home. I bought her off Gerry Merriman and my Mam and Dad do a brilliant job with the dogs at home, she might not be the fastest bitch and she will never win a Derby but she is the best in my eyes.
See you all tomorrow night.
Derby Fever 21st August 2017
The Derby fever was in the air and things got off to a great start for me on the tipping front last night in Shelbourne Park as the second batch of heats took place. I was buzzing for the evening ahead and anticipated a great night as I made my way over from the office. I arrived early and got myself a lovely chicken curry and joined Michelle from SIS for the chats and giggles. As the first heat approached I went to my usual spot on the stand to watch Jaytee Yankee win easy so my first nap won, brilliant! I had nine winners from twelve races on Thursday so the pressure was on to exceed myself but I was quickly brought back down to earth as my second tip College Paradise finished last after looking like he was about to hit the front and win. Race five was up next and I took a gamble on Barefoot Painter, all inside seeds ran here but I thought he would have the pace to just get to the front from trap 6 and he almost did but then got balked, however Concrete Jungle was a good winner as he flew around in 29.65.
Sarah then redeemed herself with Drive On Tipp, I thought he was a certainty (even though they say there is no such thing as a certainty) but he was really was! He was super and he won at a price of evens and clocked 29.35, not to be sniffed at. I was on fire as I tipped a quick fire double then with Jaytee Jet landing the spoils in heat 15 but he gave me heart failure as he looked beaten off the last bend but he done that thing he always does and turned on the TURBO POWER and flew by Milldean Skip and Cometwopass as if they didn't exist and won by one length in 29.68 and I backed him at 5/4. My final tip was Dream Dude to win and Droopys Wilbury betting without so double whammy as Dream Dude went on to beat Wilbury by three and half lengths in 29.60. A good night was had.
It was lovely to see Jerry Melia there last night, looking well and enjoying the derby heats. Mary Melia also reported that Holycross Leah is injured but the plan is to run her in the Oaks, all things going well. I was chatting to Willie Rigney the Gain Feeds man I call him and he was delighted with how his dog Milltown Magic ran. He qualified in third place in the race won by Swithins Brae and Willie is looking forward to the future with his dog, he is inexperienced and might just keep getting through each week. Frank from Boylesports shared his ante post fancies with me and he likes Native Chimes, Droopys Wilbury and Buckos Dream.
Ray Mulvaney, the well known bookmaker from Dun Laoghaire arrived in his tin of fruit last night coming straight from the Curragh, Ray is attending Shelbourne Park a long time now, over 30 years and was one of the many people who missed it when it was closed since the start of the year, "Business was quiet tonight but I expect it to pick up as the Derby continues. I'm happy Shelbourne is back open and we are delighted to be here".
The draw was made after racing last night and it has thrown out some tricky heats. I will discuss them in my column this Saturday in the Irish Daily Star so make sure you buy a copy.
See you all Saturday
90 And Still Going Strong
Shelbourne Park was looking tremendous last night, there was bunting and balloons galore as we all celebrated 90 years and raised a toast to the wonderful home of the greatest greyhound race in the world. My granny was two years of age when the first race was run in 1927 and she is still going strong too! It was a fantastic night and we marked the occasion in style. I have so many wonderful memories of Shelbourne Park and everyone was sharing them last night. I'm lucky enough to say one of my earliest memories is of Bypass Bypass winning the Derby for Ollie Bray in 2002, I remember standing on the packed stand with my Father as he cheered Micheal Kearney's superstar home. My Dad Lar, well his memories go way back to Lispopple Story winning the Guinness 600. Dad reminisces of that night, " On our way home we stopped in the local, the Rolestown Inn and we brought the dog into the pub. My Father 'The Busman' put some Guinness into an ashtray and gave it to Lispopple Story along with a packet of cheese and onion tayto and we celebrated all night ". I hope the dog knew his own way home that night Lar!
So the Derby kicked off last night and it was incredible. The track record was nearly broken not once but twice and we were treated to some juicy results, oh and some lovely birthday cupcakes and champagne too! The highlight of the night was by far the superb dog that is Sonic. The son of Knockglass Billy flew from traps and left his rivals battling out for places as he clocked 29.12. He was a joy to watch and I'm delighted the 2016 long standing Derby favourite was back to himself. I'm so excited to see him run next week already.
The other highlight was Clares Rocket. The wonder dog I like to call him, stolen from his kennels and is now favourite to win the Derby, I love this dog. As soon as he broke from trap 6 it was all over. He kept pulling further and further away from his competition and it looked like he was going to clock faster than Sonic but he crossed the finish line in 29.16, amazing. My other stand out performance goes to the mighty Tyrur Harold, trained by Galway's finest P.J. Fahy. He flew around in 29.46. He is lightly raced and is a big contender is this years Derby. The second batch of heats take place tomorrow night and there are plenty of great heats to look forward to.
I was talking to plenty of well known faces last night, Bernard Dunne the boxer, Mairead Lavery from farmers journal, Adrian Kennedy from 98fm, John Duggan from Today FM, Jimmy Magee from RTE and the mighty Micheal O Muircheartaigh. A huge turn out to celebrate Shelbourne Parks 90th birthday and we shared it with some great characters. Marie and Skippy Gilbert, Tommy Bolton, May Kearns and Mickey O'Reilly, Mary Melia, just to mention a few, were all there too and everyone enjoyed their night. A well known face was missing however, Jerry Melia and I wish him a speedy recovery, I have been told he will be racing tomorrow night!
So I will see you all tomorrow night, if you have any memories from Shelbourne Park you would like to share with me please do or if you have any old photos I would be happy to share them. Here are a few photos from last night below.
Check out my weekly column in tomorrow's Irish daily Star newspaper for my tips.