August heralds the start of the eagerly anticipated Irish Greyhound Derby with the final taking place at Shelbourne Park on September 22. There’s lots to get through before crowning this year’s champion, with the competition split up into four individual heats, two semi-finals and a final.
Good News went all the way to the title last year for trainer Patrick Guilfoyle, his first success at this level. A winning time of 29.37 was just enough to hold Graham Holland’s duo Black Farren and Sonic at bay. Bookmakers are offering ante-post betting odds on who will land the 140,000 euros prize money this summer and there’s no lack of value around.
The latest Irish Greyhound Derby odds have Droopys Verve as favourite, with William Hill offering a chunky 12/1. There’s indecision in the market at present, however, and that will attract the attention of value hunters looking to sniff out a good deal. Is there profit in the shortest price or should players cast their eyes further down the list in search of a better deal?
Here’s the lowdown on the two main players heading into race month.
The Angela Harrison-trained Droopys Verve arrives in Ireland in a rich vein of form but with a point to prove after letting followers down in the English Greyhound Derby at Towcester on June 2.
Despite going into the final as a convincing favourite – 7/4 jolly when the traps opened – the talented two-year-old had to settle for the silver medal behind champion Dorotas Wildcat, who earned his trainer a useful £175,000.
An impressive run to the final six Droopys Verve won his heat before moving on to clinch a semi-final ahead of Bombers Bullet with a bit to spare. Beaten by the early electric pace of Dorotas Wildcat when it mattered most the team will look to learn the lessons of that night and use it to go one better at Shelbourne. A worthy favourite? There’s no doubting his talent but it may be easier to take a shot at an outsider.
Borna Gin was also a major player in the English version earlier this summer and was an eye-catching winner of his first heat when slapping down race favourite Crossfield Will, who managed no better than fourth.
There was no such luck in the first of two semi-finals, however, suffering a nightmare run before ending fourth behind Droopys Verve. A clearer path could’ve seen him go closer, but connections will never know.
Pat Buckley’s hope will have the backing of the crowd in August and there’s sure to be interest in his 16/1 price. Each-way backers playing the outright market will get 1/4 the odds a place 1-2-3-4-5-6 meaning you’ll land a return if Borna Gin improves on the English Derby and reaches the final.
It then doesn’t matter how he performs when in the final six, backers will be able to sit back and enjoy the decider knowing they’ve bagged a return.