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I fancy Graham Holland’s RURAL STAR, in what promises to be a competitive race. However, I liked what I saw last week from this greyhound at Shelbourne Park. He dropped back in trip in that race and it proved to be a really good run out. He wasn’t the quickest away, but he showed wonderful pace up to the bend to clock a time of 28.25. That seemed to give the impression that Rural Star was back to form.
Don’t forget, this dog was a Derby quarter-finalist and could have a class edge over the rest of the field and I don’t think getting a lead early is vital. It’s a race where you could fancy two or three of the runners, but I’m sweet on the chances of Holland’s charge.
I’m with SCOOBY PRINCESS to take this. She was desperately unlucky in the Irish Derby semi-final and we’ve got two that got to the semis in here – along with four quarter-finalists. Scooby Princess got into all sorts of trouble at the start of the semi-final race, and that probably was her chance gone. But, she showed some good battling qualities to get back into it. She has some good back-straight pace and made rapid, late headway.
She has been so consistent in her runs and she rarely misses the top two positions. When you look at her CV, that fifth-placed finish in the semi really doesn’t reflect how consistent this greyhound actually is. I reckon she has a good shout of picking up in this consolation race, and the bitches could dominate proceedings because Skywalker Cilla could be the one to follow Scooby Princess home. Hopefully, the Trap 4 box will make all the difference for Skywalker Cilla and we might just see a one-two from the ladies.
I tried to be too clever last week by taking on SKYWALKER BARRY and it didn’t work out, as he won again at the venue. That was very stupid of me, and I won’t be making that mistake again. This race has to be his to lose really. I suppose if you were trying to look for ways he might get beat, then there is that possibility that the ground at Trap 1 could just edge off.
However, he has been dominant in all three rounds so far, he’s also got the times on the clock and he just keeps performing. He should control the pace and if he does, he’ll be on song again. He’s my next best choice on the night after my NAP (see below), and he will be one to put in an accumulator too.
This Irish Greyhound Derby Final promises to be an utterly incredible race. I can see an angle for Susie Sapphire to win. She is the only unbeaten finalist in the line-up and how amazing would it be if she could go all the way in this? She came out last week, she held Explosive Boy initially and then he couldn’t get around Susie Sapphire. She got to the bend and the rest is history, as she produced another big performance. I’m just slightly worried that she could be vulnerable in this set-up though.
I came very close to tipping Explosive Boy because of where he is drawn. He could well clear the two on his inside after the start and show off his sheer pace on Saturday night. But, bear in mind he hasn’t won since the second round. There is a chance he could get loose of the rest, but when push came to shove, I landed on ALL ABOUT TED on the outside in Trap 6.
He’s got the make up on the outside to take over the race. Yes, he was in the weaker semi-final, but he ran his best race so far in it. If you are looking for a dog who he has strength in the finish, All About Ted could just be the one to pick up Susie Sapphire or Explosive Boy if it came down to it.
We’ve got to wait for a bit later in the night for my best bet, but BILLYS DIVA is it. She may have been knocked out of the Derby in the first round but she dropped a little clue in a trial last weekend that she was back on-song, and she won at Cork before that. However, the key that makes her my NAP selection here is the fact that she’s drawn Trap 1. She has a brilliant record from that trap having only lost once in eight starts from it.
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