Saturday 18 January 2020

Favourites' struggles leave Irish Derby wide open

Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Michael Fortune

The sponsors are offering odds on all sorts of markets on the Irish Derby but they could introduce a new bet - name the dog that will start favourite for the final on Saturday, September 13.

We are approaching the third round and the bookmakers are finding it difficult to settle on a favourite. It is the most open Derby we have witnessed in years: five greyhounds can be backed at odds between 10/1 and 14/1 - and it is possible that none of those will even reach the final!

All five favourites failed to win their second-round heats on Saturday. The top five at the best prices available are 10/1 Mind the Net, 12/1 Droopys Nidge, Holdem Spy and Skywalker Farloe and then 14/1 Vulturi.

For those looking for a bit of value with just 48 dogs remaining, there are loads of possibilities. For instance, grouped between 16/1 and 40/1 are the likes of Laughil Blake, Ballymac Vic, Vanfrankie, Emers Superstar, European Queen, Deanridge Pennys, General Wolf, Paradise Maverik, Tyrur Supermac, Green Prince, Borneo and Indigojack.

Others worth considering at generous odds include Kippers Usain, Ballyana Foxtrot, Tyrur Sugar Ray, Metro Jack, Jaytee Osprey and Kisses For Cloda. The latter is at a remarkably generous 66/1 in one place, and 50/1 generally, despite being one of the more impressive second-round winners.

He was the favourite for last year's English Derby until injury intervened and it appeared as though his career was over. However, Ollie Bray has nursed him back and he was most impressive at the weekend, very close to his best. But he has Tyrur Sugar Ray to avoid when leading traps!

Gordi to score

Next Saturday, Ballymac Vic will attempt to move his Derby bid a stage further but tonight at the Shelbourne his son Ballymac Gordi (8.30) will bid to enhance his record when he contests the final of the Gain A3.

From a trap three draw he faces quite a task with the opposition including Mulla Magic and Razldazl Rambo, but Pat Buckley's Gordi has shown enough in his two Shelbourne runs to suggest he can continue on his winning ways.

Another final on the card is the Dandelion Bar & Nightclub A3 and here John Dooley's Ardilaun Emma was the quickest semi-final winner. But she is drawn very far out in five this time for an inside seed and Gerry Merriman's Highview Record (8.45) may well turn the tables. Last week Ardilaun held Highview by half a length but Highview clearly has the better draw this time.

Hero at stud

Boylesports Hero continues to recuperate from the broken hock sustained in the first round of the Derby and he had his cast replaced at the weekend.

He will be advertised for stud duties this week and it has been decided that he will stand with his trainer Brendan Matthews in Newry.

Winner of the Kirby Memorial and the Red Mills Produce Stakes this year, he will be standing for a fee of €550 and early indications are that he will be very much in demand.

Irish Independent

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