Born Warrior takes out Irish Greyhound Derby | Better Call Caul
Born Warrior emerged a determined winner of the 2022 Irish Greyhound Derby in front of a full house at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night. The Dublin venue hosted a remarkable evening, and the atmosphere was as good any ever seen in recent years. Doors opened at 4pm with the first race due off at 19:15. There were numerous live musicians dotted around the stadium before racing with a live DJ left to entertain the hundreds who remained after racing. Extra pop-up bars and tote windows were opened on the night and so much credit must go to all the management and staff at Shelbourne Park for hosting a stunning finale.
The real star of the show was Born Warrior, a Derby champion on his eighteenth career start and remarkably has yet to finish out of the first three. Fast away from five Born Warrior led up early from siblings Ballymac Finn and Maries Wedding with the well supported favorite Callaway Pro Am joining Maries Wedding and Ballymac Finn for a share of second as they approached the opening turn, Droopys Nice One fluffed her lines at the start and Big Finisher Crafty Kokoro was towards the back as expected.
The race was won at the first bend when Callaway Pro Am moved off and hampered both Maries Wedding and Ballymac Finn and doing himself no favors in the process. This allowed Born Warrior to slip some four lengths clear of Ballymac Finn who now slipped into second with Callaway Pro Am a further two lengths adrift in third.
As they flashed past halfway Ballymac Finn began to cut the deficit back and had Born Warrior firmly in his sights with Crafty Kokoro closing on Callaway Pro Am for third. At the third bend Crafty Kokoro was forced to check when attempting to get up the inside of Callaway Pro Am and the Derby was now a two-dog race.
Around the final bends Finn had the lead down to two lengths with Born Warrior about to steer his usual wide course off the last, as he did so Ballymac Finn was almost level with Born Warrior and the race looked to be heading Finn's way, but champions are champions for a reason and when Born Warrior straightened up for the final 50m he dug deep to hold off Ballymac Finn by half a length in a thrilling finish. Crafty Kokoro produced her usual huge finish to get within three lengths of Finn at the line in 29:53.
Sincere congratulations go to trainer Jennifer O'Donnell and the Whatever-You-Like Syndicate. We are sure the partying will continue for many days to come.
Pablo Escobark stars on Shelbourne undercard
As you would expect with an Irish Derby final, the supporting card was brimming with superstars. Swords Rex was back to his absolute best when taking an open 480m on the card in a stunning 27:79. Only two dogs have covered the distance quicker at Shelbourne Park, record holder Paradise Madison (27:67) and Ballymac Arminta (27:70).
The wonderfully named Pablo Escobark made a very impressive six-bend debut when beating the likes of Hello Hammond and Magical Poppy. He had always looked a potential star and has really improved for the step up in trip.
Earlier on the card, classy sprinter Flashing Willow made no mistake when taking the sprint contest. The Michael Fortune Memorial Plate was won in fine style by Kildare, who made all in 29:35, and the consolation derby went the way of Cryptopunk for trainer Graham Holland. Coolavanny Hoffa was a non-runner in this contest.
Again, all credit to the management and staff at Shelbourne Park for an absolutely wonderful night with an atmosphere to match. Roll on next year!
More big races on the horizon
The Derby may be over but last Friday night at Shelbourne Park the first round of the Juvenile Derby got underway. It's an event that always produces future stars and this year's event looks as strong as ever. It will be live on Racing Post Greyhound TV, and we will preview the event as it progresses.
Curaheen Park will host the first round of the Irish Laurels next weekend, won last year by One Time Only, once again it is expected to attract a host of big-name entries. The draw for the Laurels will take place at Curraheen Park on Monday, October 3, at 7pm and will be live on the Curraheen Park Facebook page. You would expect many this year's Irish Derby contenders to line up at the County Cork venue.
Borna Rhythm jumps to glory in Champion Hurdle
Borna Rhythm got the better of red-hot favorite Lenson Doolin when winning the Champion Hurdle at Central Park on Sunday night. Breaking fast from six Rhythm led up from Lenson Doolin who was a little short of room on the run up and found himself immediately on the back foot. Tullig Bee led into the back straight closely followed by Borna Rhythm with Lenson Doolin now in third place and showing big pace down the far side, as they jumped the last down the back straight it was almost a line of three with Doolin now up the inside of Tullig Bee with Borna Rhythm out wide. Lenson Dooling held a definite advantage turning for home but had done a lot of running to get there. Borna Rhythm is a strong stayer over the 480m trip, and he proved too good for Lenson Doolin close home with Tullig Bee running a fine race back in third.
Perry Barr hosts Birmingham Cup and St Leger finals
On Thursday Perry Barr will hold a brace of big race finals in the shape of the Birmingham Cup and St Leger. First up let us look at the final of the Birmingham Cup. Innfield Trojan and Ivanexile top the market for the final and only a length separated them in last week's semifinal. As the sole wide seed Ivanexile has a perfect draw in six with Innfield Trojan drawn in two. Trojan took an absolute flier form boxes last week and will need to do so again from box two, he should have no issues leading up Drive On Lad in one and his main dangers for the early lead are market rival Ivanexile and Burnchurch Mick in three. We went with Innfield Trojan last week and see no reason to desert him in the decider.
In the St Leger final over six bends Havana Lover has a decent draw in box five outside the slow starting Droopys Jungle, Cochise in two and Savana Ruinart in three can go up strongly but if Havana Lover were to lead that pair early, they could hold up the big finishers late on and allow her skip clear at halfway. Droopys Jungle will be finishing fastest of all but will need the gaps to appear. Savana Volcano will also be coming from way off the pace but like Droopys Jungle will need some luck in running. We will side with Havana Lover to make all.
Weekend's best bet
Perry Barr, Thursday – 21:11 (GMT)