Dead heat shows pedigree of Derby
Dead heats are rare in greyhound racing but for one to occur in the semi-finals of the Boylesports Derby is unheard of. But that's exactly what happened at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night as the 12 remaining runners in the classic were reduced to the final six.
It was also quite a coincidence that both semi-finals were won in an identical 29.32. There were no shocks in the opening heat with Lenson Bocko justifying his position as favourite for outright honours.
A 4/7 chance for the heat, the brilliant tracker displayed his now trademark early speed to dominate throughout. Deadly Dynamite was his nearest challenger in the early yards, but this was another annihilation from Lenson Bocko.
Run Happy moved second at the third turn to finish three-and-a-half lengths behind the favourite, while the sponsor John Boyle's Boylesports King came from out of the clouds to qualify in third.
The second heat was a far more dramatic affair. There were a number of storylines in this contest.
Mucky Brae shot from traps to dictate but he was joined late by Our Surprise and the judge couldn't separate them on the photo.
There was a titanic tussle for the third qualifying spot with the brilliant Oaks champion Killmacdonagh reeling in Ballydoyle Valor in the final strides.
This heat also saw the elimination of Magical Bale after he found early traffic.
The stage is now set for a fitting decider.
The draw for Saturday's final: 1 Killmacdonagh, 2 Run Happy, 3 Mucky Brae, 4 Our Surprise (m), 5 Lenson Bocko (w), 6 Boylesports King (w).