Sunday 11 December 2016

Holland turns out both Derby semi-final winners

Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30

Last year’s winner Ballymac Matt also survived the semi-final and is now one big run away from becoming only the third greyhound ever to win the Derby on two occasions. Stock photo: Sportsfile
Last year’s winner Ballymac Matt also survived the semi-final and is now one big run away from becoming only the third greyhound ever to win the Derby on two occasions. Stock photo: Sportsfile

Graham Holland's domination of the BoyleSports Irish Derby was maintained in Saturday's semi-finals at Shelbourne, when the New Inn-based handler turned out both heat winners and also got a third finalist.

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Adding to the glamour of this great race, last year's winner Ballymac Matt also survived the semi-final and is now one big run away from becoming only the third greyhound ever to win the Derby on two occasions.

Sponsors BoyleSports reacted by making Sonic their 11/8 favourite, while they have his kennel companions Sidarian Pearl and Rural Hawaii as their 7/2 joint second favourites.

They then go 6/1 Holycross Leah, 9/1 Ballymac Matt and 10/1 Escapism.

Owned by Marian Moloney, Sonic flew out of the traps and was always in command. Owen McKenna's Escapism went second between the last two bends and ran on strongly without ever troubling Sonic, which ran out a three-length winner in 29.40, with Ballymac Matt running on very strongly to qualify another two lengths back.

Rural Hawaii made his fastest start in the second heat and led from Holycross Leah, while Sidarian Pearl went third. Rural Hawaii, after drifting very wide turning for home, ran on strongly to win by two-and-a-half lengths in 29.58. Sidarian Pearl was four lengths back in third.

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