Irish Greyhound Derby tips: Best bets for Saturday’s semi-finals at Shelbourne Park

Sky Sports' Darrell Williams tees up his fancies for Saturday night's big races in the Irish Derby & Memorial Plate.


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

It’s the Irish Derby semi finals on Saturday night and the first of the two heats is worthy of a Final alone.

Irish Derby, Semi Final 20:26

It looks an incredible semi-final and there are so many ways to look at this contest. Coolavanny Hoffa (nap) has been the ante-post favourite for this contest for a while now and has blistering pace down the back straight.  The draw in box six should help him make ground again on the outside before they start the turn into the straight.

Born Warrior showed exceptional early speed last week in the quarter finals while Callaway Pro Am (who beat Coolavanny Hoffa in an earlier round) puts his unbeaten record on the line from a tricky draw in stall four with Crypto Punk just on the inside of him.

With so much early pace on there’s always a chance they’ll burn each other off and set it up for a closer, namely Crafty Kokoro. She appeals as the solid each-way play for the forecast.

Selection: Coolavanny Hoffa (nap).     Next best: Crafty Kokoro


Irish Derby, Semi Final 20:46

There’s no margin for error either in the second semi-final either.

The likely favourite, Ballymac Finn has been a revelation in these Derby heats and the trap one draw should help him again. He tends to break quickly, edge out slightly at the first bend and then come back to the rail again after that. He held Skywalker Barry last week on the run to the first bend and I think he will again. That could be the key to winning this race. When he gets loose, he can be very hard to stop and Saturday’s heat will be no different.

However, Maries Wedding was incredible at the weekend and ran her best run of the heats so far. I’d probably be trying to save on her for the forecast.

Selection: Ballymac Finn.    Next best: Maries Wedding

Memorial Plate, Semi Final 19.47

So many top-class greyhounds went out in the early stages of the competition and Graham Holland’s Garryvoe Joe was eliminated from the main event last week, but can gain compensation in the Plate.

He’s only had five starts and is two wins from three over the course and distance at Shelbourne Park. He’s learning on the job at a very high level but looks to be taking it in his stride. He might be able to lead them in this heat and stay in front to the line.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Well Met who had a winning chance coming into the final bend but didn’t take it. An inside draw may help but Garryvoe Joe is my pick to get through to the Plate final.

Selection: Garryvoe Joe.   Next best: Well Met.

Memorial Plate, Semi Final 20:06

The second semi-final sees the English Derby runner-up Kildare head the market and I’m with him all the way. He dropped a hint in the last round that he’s coming back to that type of form and with Ballymore Border in trap five likely to edge in a little bit, this should allow him room to make his bid for glory.

Bobsleigh Dream has gone close in the last two runs without getting the clearest of passages and her late finish makes her one for the forecast.

Selection: Kildare.    Next best: Bobsleigh Dream.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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