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Golden oldies look set for Irish Derby decider


Greyhounds stock

Greyhounds stock

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Greyhounds stock

It's a night that will create dreams for a select number of owners and trainers at Shelbourne, with the semi-finals of the Boylesports.com Irish Derby meaning that the six qualifiers are now within touching distance of the Derby title and accompanying €125,000 prize.

In many ways this evening's action is about those two fantastic old men of the track, Ballymac Vic and Tyrur Sugar Ray. For three seasons now they have been carving out their own special places in the history of the sport, and their illustrious racing careers will finish once their involvement in this Derby ends.

PJ Fahy's Tyrur Sugar Ray (9.10) goes in the first semi and he is within touching distance of reaching his third Irish Derby final, a feat only once previously achieved by Spanish Battleship.

Sugar Ray bombed out of traps last week when a runaway winner of his heat in 29.44. That wasn't his normal style of operation but, when drawn in one, Sugar Ray invariably finishes in the first three. Only once ever did he wear the red jacket and fail to make the frame - behind Ballymac Vic at Wimbledon .

I am going to side with Laughil Blake to win this heat. Michael O'Donovan's dog has been a revelation in the Derby and his early pace suggests that he will be clear into the back. Tyrur Sugar Ray can chase him home, while it would be no surprise if Barefoot Agent managed to qualify for the final.

Liam Dowling's Ballymac Vic (9.26) can make full use of the inside box to win the other heat. He is brilliant to the bend and it will be a major surprise if he doesn't lead into the back. His kennel companion Vulturi can produce another one of his runs from the rear to qualify while Borneo can also reach the final.

Skywalker Farloe's form has given rise to serious doubts.

The bets of the night can be Laughil Bolt (9.41) and Paradise Silva (9.56) in the heats of the Plate. The latter is likely to be very short following the withdrawal of Fiery Splendour.

New Jackpots

The new Jackpots will be introduced at Shelbourne Park this evening.

The new Jackpot and Placepot bets will operate on Races 3-8 and will be guaranteed to €10,000 and €5,000 respectively. There will also be a Pick 4 Pool on Races 9-12 and there will be a €1,000 guarantee.

Free Bus

Don't forget the complimentary Dublin Coach shuttle bus which will leave D'Olier Street for Shelbourne at 7.0.

Another bus will leave Arthur's Quay in Limerick at 7.0 for Limerick Stadium.

Irish Independent