IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY Sat: We preview each race of the Irish Greyhound Derby on Saturday with the competition reaching the third round stage.

No Hassle for Hoffa

Coolavanny Hoffa set the standard in round two of the Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park on Friday night. The brilliant son of Droopys Sydney and Coolavanny Ella set a scorching third bend split and posted the fastest time of the year, stopping the clock in 29:13 for the 503m trip. On Saturday evening, Ballinabola Ed was quickest when he made all to see of Gortkelly Nestor in 29:27. Others to impress over the weekend were Ballymac Finn (29:36), Callaway Pro Am (29:33), and Born Warrior (29:46). Round three will take place on Saturday night live on Racing Post Greyhound TV. Forty-eight remain. Let’s look at the upcoming round three heats were heat six is worthy of a derby final itself.

Round Three Heat 1

1️⃣ Tullig Raven

2️⃣ Explosive Boy
3️⃣ Droopys Nextone
4️⃣ Bockos Crystal
5️⃣ Droopys Nice One
6️⃣ Kilgraney Clang

Verdict: 2021 Greyhound of the year Explosive Boy will go off favourite for the opening heat, currently around an even money chance. Last year’s beaten finalist has won the opening two rounds impressively. The battle for early supremacy between Explosive Boy and Tullig Raven will be key on the run to the corner. You fancy whatever leads between the inside pair will take plenty of stopping. The Droopys pair of Nextone and Nice One are both running well and stay on strongly. Thomas Buggy had a finalist last year courtesy of Carrigeen North and his Kilgraney Clang is improving with each run. Bockos Crystal is a lightly raced young bitch that could go to the corner with the inside duo if starting in her best fashion. Preference is for Explosive Boy, a top-class greyhound when on song and he can make his experience count for the excellent Patrick Guilfoyle.

Selection: Explosive Boy

Heat 2

1️⃣ Romeo Magico
2️⃣ Ballymac Finn
3️⃣ Stefans Rock
4️⃣ Killeacle Phelps
5️⃣ Magical Kuba
6️⃣ Mustang Jet

Verdict: English Derby Champion Romeo Magico impressed plenty of people last weekend when running out an impressive winner of his second-round heat despite missing the break for the second week running. He can ill afford to miss the kick again as the competition gets stronger. Any mistakes from Magico this weekend could prove costly, Ballymac Finn and Stefans Rock have powered to the corner in both their recent outings and could leave Magico short of room on the run to the bend. Mustang Jet is unbeaten and is perfectly drawn out in six, he must come into the picture. Magical Kuba can do it both ways and is a real handful when getting his starting right, while none will be finishing faster than Killeacle Phelps. I will side with Ballymac Finn to make all in heat two.

Selection: Ballymac Finn

Heat 3

1️⃣ Hannover Phantom
2️⃣ Macho Pride
3️⃣ Barefoot Supremo
4️⃣ Patient Crusader
5️⃣ Savana Hero
6️⃣ Bulletfromagun

Verdict: Macho Pride was a good winner last weekend when making all for Kieran Lynch and he is drawn to try similar tactics in heat three. It’s a heat certainly lacking in early pace. Macho Pride and Bulletfromagun look likely to be to the fore early on. Savana Hero is still relatively lightly raced and can go up well on occasions. Big finisher Barefoot Supremo went up strongly last weekend but lost his position around the opening turns before storming home late on. Galway track record holder Hannover Phantom is the one for me here, he ran much better than the placings suggest last week and should get a nice run into the race at halfway. I know the trainer thinks highly of this dog and he should go well at a decent price.

Selection: Hannover Phantom

Heat 4

1️⃣ Hoodoo Brown
2️⃣ Scooby Duchess
3️⃣ Callaway Masters
4️⃣ Clona Blu
5️⃣ Cushie Concorde
6️⃣ Priceless Jet

Verdict: Heat four is wide open according to the betting with various firms installing different favourites. Hoodoo Brown is immensely fast but leaves himself an awful lot to do at the halfway stage. Priceless Jet is an incredible greyhound, already a six-bend classic winner he reached the final of this years English Derby and holds the tracked at Towcester for the Derby trip. He starts and stays and despite getting no younger he will be hard to keep out of the frame. Clona Blu is another hugely fast greyhound but needs to rediscover his trapping boots. Callaway Masters has won four of his last five, but I feel he may be better suited by a draw nearer to the rails. Cushie Concorde will need a career best. That leaves us with Oak’s runner up Scooby Duchess, I watched the racing from the infield last weekend and Duchess was a little unlucky off the second bend, she was just starting to hit top stride when she was forced to hesitate at a vital stage, this manoeuvre is hard to see in the replays, but she certainly has more to offer. I expect her to comfortably lead Hoodoo Brown and Callaway Masters and cause a mild surprise in heat four.

Selection: Scooby Duchess

Heat 5

1️⃣ Crafty Kokoro
2️⃣ Cryptopunk
3️⃣ Storys Peewee
4️⃣ Iso Fantastic
5️⃣ Born Warrior
6️⃣ Beach Avenue

Verdict: Born Warrior will go off odds on for heat five. He should comfortably lead up with only Cryptopunk in two capable of going to the corner with him. The other four all have form over six bends and ideally need further that this trip. Recent six bend classic winner Crafty Kokoro is in stunning form and will be looking to get first run at the pace setters. Mr Shelbourne Park Beach Avenue loves it here and will be storming home as too will Storys Peewee and Iso Fantastic. Born Warrior could be gone beyond recall, although I would not be too keen on having a bet in this heat.

Selection: Born Warrior

Heat 6

1️⃣ Maries Wedding
2️⃣ Callaway Pro Am
3️⃣ Droopys Rocker
4️⃣ Ballinabola Ed
5️⃣ Coolavanny Hoffa
6️⃣ All About Ted

Verdict: Without doubt the race of the night, in fact the race of the Derby thus far. The top two in the ante post market clash in Coolavanny Hoffa and Ballinabola Ed. Star puppy Callaway Pro Am goes in two with last year’s finalist All About Ted running from six. Maries Wedding is perfectly drawn in one and Droopys Rocker is another improving young dog. Our ante post selection Coolavanny Hoffa was sensational last weekend when posting the fastest time of the year, he has stunning early pace, and you would be surprised if he did not lead granted a level start. All About Ted can be an electric starter and is really hitting top form again. Ballinabola Ed was the second fastest of last weekends heat winners and trapped much better, he will need to do the same again this weekend. Callaway Pro Am was another to really catch the eye when winning his heat and he should lead up the inside runners. It’s a fascinating heat but we have been with Hoffa for months now and hope he can come through this with flying colours.

Selection: Coolavanny Hoffa

Heat 7

1️⃣ Oakfront Cadet
2️⃣ Skywalker Barry
3️⃣ Ballymac Run
4️⃣ Annagh Bailey
5️⃣ Athlacca Zette (NR)
6️⃣ Bockos Budsit

Verdict: Unfortunately, the news came through early in the week that Athlacca Zette had to withdrawn from the competition. It is a huge blow for his owner/trainer Noel Neenan who has a small kennel of dogs, hopefully Zette will be back on track soon. Bockos Budsit has been installed as favourite and has plenty of room to operate from in six. A recent Champion Stakes finalist he is best when able to dictate off the front. Early opposition in this is most likely to come from Annagh Bailey and Skywalker Barry. Skywalker can be hit and miss at boxes but if he times it right, he could make them all go. Annagh Bailey is an improving young runner and is another who will be suited by the vacant trap in five. Ballymac Run ran well behind Collavanny Hoffa last week and can’t be ruled out. None will finish faster than Oakfront Cadet and he could well sneak a place at huge odds.

Selection: Bockos Budsit

Heat 8

1️⃣ Ringabella Boy
2️⃣ Droopys Gravy
3️⃣ Storys Cashout
4️⃣ Vincenzo
5️⃣ Fernandes
6️⃣ Gortkelly Nestor

Verdict: Vincenzo got a favourable draw last weekend when installed as a long odds-on favourite and he has another favourable draw tonight avoiding some of the competition’s big hitters. He will once again go off long odds on to win the final heat of the night. Fernandes and the evergreen Gortkelly Nestor are his nearest market rivals but should pose no threat to Vincenzo if he can start in his best fashion. Storys Cashout is very lightly raced and open to improvement and the same can be said for Droopys Gravy. Ringabella Boy has an idea draw to work with but need a career best effort to turn around last week’s form with Vincenzo.

Selection: Vincenzo

Saturdays Best Bets
Scooby Duchess: Three units win (20.06 Shelbourne Park)