HAWAII ENDS DERBY HOODOO FOR HOLLAND: What a conclusion to this year’s Irish Derby! It was great to see Graham Holland finally winning the Irish Derby with Rural Hawaii for owners Helen and Mike O’Dwyer. Connections collect €125,000 for winning, so the journey home from Hawaii was well worth it for Mike O’Dwyer, maybe he won’t want to go back now! It was a brilliant night at HQ on Saturday, the crowds were huge and they were all treated to a fantastic card.

Rural Hawaii made all the running to win the Irish Derby and was simply too good on the night. He broke fast and had a few lengths in hand racing into the second bend with the two dames Holycross Leah and Sidarian Pearl fighting for second. Down the back straight Rural Hawaii turned up the heat but Holycross Leah was not giving up and started to close the gap.

After totally missing the break, hot favourite Sonic began to make up ground and momentarily looked like he couldpull off the impossible. Off the last bend, Rural Hawaii ran wide as expected and it looked like he had opened the door for Holycross Leah. She railed hard but it was not to be as Rural Hawaii powered home to win by a length. Holycross Leah who was a brilliant second and Sonic was another length back in third. The race was won in 29.65.

The atmosphere was second to none in the home straight. I was cheering on Holycross Leah for Jerry and Mary Melia and she didn’t let them down with a superb run. The race gave us everything we wanted, full of excitement and thrilling action.

When you look back it was a lot to ask of a young dog such as Sonic. Rural Hawaii was the most experienced of Holland’s runners so it was no surprise he handled the occasion as well as he did. I know a few people who backed Sonic at 100/1 on the exchange so I’m sure there were a lot of sad faces but as Holland has said, Sonic is a dog for next year and he could yet be crowned as an Irish Derby winner.

Peter Cronin failed to reach the Derby final but he had two impressive dogs in the consolation final and he ended up winning it with Ela Alecko at 6/1. He clocked 29.76 and won by two lengths from Cahir Castle with College Paradise in third. Another impressive winner for me on the night was Lenson Rocky who was a ridiculous price of 3/1! I thought that was far too generous as he a super dog and one of my favourites.

The crowds weren’t quick to leave after racing and the bar was packed. I headed upstairs to have a few drinks and really enjoyed some quiet celebrations after a great night. We sat and reflected on the night’s racing, we spoke about past winners and reminisced on our first Derby memories. This is why I love the sport. The Derby means something different to everyone and I don’t know what I am going to do with myself now it’s all over. 2017 is another year, another new Derby winner, a new journey.

Thank you to all my fan-view readers, it’s a pleasure writing about something you love.

See you all for the Night of Stars.