GREYHOUNDS: We’re down to the business end at Shelbourne Park with just twelve remaining.
Coolavanny Hoffa was back to his very best at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night when he simply blew his rivals away to halfway and yet again posted the fastest time of the round when stopping the clock in 29:24. Trained by dual derby winning trainer Michael O Donovan, the brilliant son of Droopys Sydney (Who was the sire of all four quarter final winners) was paw perfect at boxes and came home clear of Cryptopunk and Vincenzo.
Ballymac Finn was an all the way winner of the first heat beating Skywalker Barry and Gortkelly Nestor in 29:59. We lost English Derby champion Romeo Magico and Race of Champions Winner Bockos Budsit in this heat. Maries Wedding (29:44) got up late to deny the early paced Born Warrior who again looked set for victory but struggles to see out the trip.
Droopys Nice One ran on well just behind in third. The final heat was won buy the impressive youngster Callaway Pro Am (29:41) for last years winning trainer Owen Mckenna. Callaway Pro Am has now won nine of his twelve starts and remains the only unbeaten greyhound in the competition. Flying finisher Crafty Kokoro was a head back in second with 2021 Greyhound of the Year and last years beaten finalist Explosive Boy taking the final qualifying position.
The semi final draw was made shortly after the heats had concluded and its safe to say Heat One looks significantly stronger than the second semi-final.
We tipped up Coolavanny Hoffa as our only Ante-Post selection at 33/1 (34.0) in this piece on July 8th, he is now no bigger than 2/1 (3.0) for outright glory.
Let’s look at the upcoming semis due to be run this Saturday night at Shelbourne Park.
Semi Final 1
1️⃣ Crafty Kokoro
2️⃣ Explosive Boy
4️⃣ Callaway Pro Am
5️⃣ Born Warrior
6️⃣ Coolavanny Hoffa
Verdict: A heat worthy of a Derby Final. On first view Coolavanny Hoffa may look to have the ideal draw out in six, but if there is one dog you do not want on your immediate inside its Born Warrior.
Although Warrior fails to see out the trip at the highest level, he is the only dog left in the competition capable of leading Coolavanny Hoffa to the corner and its worth remembering that Born Warrior will steer a wide course throughout. Hoffa will need to come away in his best fashion to force Born Warrior to run a middle line to the corner.
Callaway Pro Am got the better of Hoffa when they met two weeks ago but drawn on the outside of Cryptopunk is not ideal, Cryptopunk has some smart early pace and tends to move middle on the run up. Flying finisher Crafty Kokoro is likely to be at the rear around the opening bends, but none will finish faster, and if she gets room to operate around the bottom bends, she can run them down.
That leaves us with Explosive Boy, last years finalist has a decent draw in two with Cryptopunk likely to move off slightly from three and Crafty Kokoro not expected to trouble him early, he could get a dream run to the corner. It is a fascinating heat with so many outcomes. We have been with Hoffa since July, and we are not going to desert him now.
Semi Final 2
1️⃣ Ballymac Finn
2️⃣ Skywalker Barry
3️⃣ Maries Wedding
5️⃣ Gortkelly Nestor
6️⃣ Droopys Nice One
Verdict: Ballymac Finn has again landed a plum draw in box one. Like the first heat it looks as if one is a perfect draw for Finn, however Skywalker Barry is hugely experienced and will seek a rails pitch on the run up whereas Finn has been moving middle on the run to the corner.
Maries Wedding is one of only three bitches left in the competition and is running remarkably well of late. She came home well to take Born Warrior last week and starts and stays. Shelbourne Champion 550 winner Vincenzo did well to take third last weekend. He got the verdict in a photo finish by the shortest of short heads and remains capable of much better.
Andrew Murray has a small kennel of greyhounds and Gortkelly Nestor has now made it back-to-back Derby semi-finals. He missed out on a place in the final by less than a length last year and we wish Andrew the absolute best this weekend. Droopys Nice One has most certainly gone under the radar in the competition. She is only a September 2020 whelp and has posted 29:37 in the past for the trip. Perfectly housed this weekend It would be no surprise to see her make the final.
Passing Of the Queen Halts UK Action
Greyhound racing in The UK ceased at around about 18:00 GMT on Thursday last, when the news of The Queen’s passing became known. The Birmingham Cup and St Leger have been put back a week and the first round of both events will now be run this Thursday evening (Sept 15th).
ARC Champion Hurdle at Central Park
The ARC Champion Hurdle continues this Sunday evening over the jumps at Central Park. Both semi-finals are due off just after 20:00 GMT and will be streamed live on Sportystuff.tv and on Racing Post Greyhound TV. Ritzy Spirit and Lenson Doolin are the standout performers left in the event and they face off in the first semi-final. Ritzy Spirit was very impressive last weekend and should qualify with ease, expect Lenson Doolin to follow him home. The second semi final is wide open with slight preference for Borna Rhythm to land the spoils over Bobbing Gnavatar.
Swindon Produce Stakes
The Produce Stakes at Swindon has really caught fire after litter brothers Signet Denver and Signet Otis both broke the track record last Sunday night, the pair recorded identical times when successful in their respective heats. Signet Denver set a new record when stopping the clock in 27:95 only for the new record to be equalled some eighteen minutes later.
There are three semi-finals this Sunday night. In the first semi Signet Otis will be expected to make all with his main danger being his litter sister Westwell Emer. However, Otis should be difficult to beat.
In the second semi Signet Denver has a perfect draw in red and will be looking to make all but incredibly his main danger will be his brother Signet Goofy, yet another star from the Magical Bale-Forest Natalee litter. The same litter will be represented by Sleek By Design in the final heat, her main danger looks to be No Rush in six.
It would not be a surprise if members of the same litter won all three semi-finals.
Weekends Best Bets
Shelbourne Saturday: Coolavanny Hoffa one unit win