GREYHOUNDS: A look back on Saturday’s Greyhound Derby finale and the first round heats of the Corn Cuchulainn at Shelbourne.
Magic Romeo Strikes Gold in English Derby.
Romeo Magico ran out a deserved winner of the 2022 English Greyhound Derby at Towecster on Saturday night to hand champion Irish trainer Graham Holland his first English derby success. Owned by David Firmager, ‘Badger’ as he is known at home went to boxes as second favorite behind Kildare who went off at 3.25. It was Mickys Barrett who was first to show from Kildare on the inside as they raced into the opening turn. Kildare just held the lead around the first bend with Mickys Barrett on his shoulder and an improving Romeo Magico now a definite third. As they raced into the back straight, Kildare had taken over at the head of affairs from a rapidly improving Romeo Magico, who made the most of the space Kildare had left up the inside. Magico drew level with Kildare mid-way down the back straight and had a one length lead at the third bend, with Mickys Barrett now under pressure from an improving Priceless Jet back in third. At this stage it was clear the winner would come from the front two and as they turned for home Magico kept up a strong gallop to see off a gallant Kildare, by a length and three quarters. Mickys Barrett held off Priceless Jet to take third. Hello Hammond and Savana Beau never landed a blow.
All six finalists emerged with real credit. Savana Beau was bought after winning an A2 event at Clonmel and an A3 grade event at Shelbourne Park, so to make the final for trainer Diane Henry and owner Kevin Boothby must have been a real thrill. Runner up Kildare was having only his 11th start of his career. He has now made the final of the Kirby memorial and Final of the English Derby, still only a July 20 whelp, his future remains bright. Hello Hammond failed to get involved in Saturdays final but gave owners Gerry and Miriam Meaney a real thrill by making the final. He will have plenty of opportunities back on home soil in the coming months. Mickys Barrett was undoubtedly the story of the derby by far. Named after their late friend he gave his sixty-seven owners some memories that will last a lifetime. The evergreen Priceless Jet broke the track record last year and reclaimed the track record again in this year’s competition. Its highly likely he will be back at Shelbourne Park for all the major competitions in the coming months. So, what now for Romeo Magico? Well one presumes a well-earned break will be on the cards before a tilt at the Irish Derby and possibly the champion stakes before that, wherever he goes he is sure to be the star attraction and we cannot wait to see ‘Badger’ back in action in the late summer at Shelbourne Park. Congratulations to all at Riverside kennels and to owner David Firmager.
There were some fine displays on the undercard at Towcester on Saturday night. Bombardier was an emphatic winner of the 712m event for trainer Mark Wallis. That was the second leg of an opening race double for Mark after his Ivy Hill Skyhigh took the opener. Trainer John Mullins also had a fantastic night landing a treble. First up for the Mullins team was Knocknaseed Gem who held on in a thrilling finish in the sprint contest to share the spoils with Havana Class in a dead heat. Callmesteve was the second leg when he went in for favorite backers in the stayer’s event and the treble was complete when Chelms Switch took the Derby Plate final. Peter Cronin, trainer of Kildare gained some compensation on the night when Cape Cloud made all to beat Bockos Budsit
⭐ Romeo Magico made it 4 winners in last 5 bets for the column!
Ballymac Belvult impresses in Corn Cuchulainn opener
The 2022 Corn Cuchulainn got underway at Shelbourne Park on Saturday evening with five first round heats. The classic was won last year by Priceless Jet who was otherwise engaged this time around, contesting an English Derby final across the water. Ballymac Belvult was the fastest of the opening round heat winners stopping the clock in 41:50 for the 686m trip. The exciting Crafty Kokoro made her six-bend debut and put in an outstanding performance winning in 41:61. Other heats winners were Toolmaker Beach 41:77, Generous Angel 41:64 and Dark Ava 41:80. Droopys Soldier, Roxholme Kristoff and Magical Poppy all ran well in defeat.
The Shelbourne Champion 550 second round also featured on the Shelbourne Card on Saturday night and plenty of Derby clues were on offer. Droopys Nice One was visually very impressive when beating Twoinarow. Vincenzo was a good winner for Australian based owner Peter Sutcliffe, getting the better of the speedy The Other Kobe close home. Liam Dowling had a treble on the night and two winners in this event courtesy of Ballymac Ben and the very impressive Ballymac Leon.