We’re down to the last six dogs in the Irish Greyhound Derby final that takes place at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night. Approximately 144 dogs started down this road a month ago but who will lift the big prize? Here’s our trap-by-trap guide to the finalists.
Trap 1: Razldazl George
The current champion has overcome all adversaries to make his second Derby Final in a row. He was a shadow of himself all year until the Derby came around and he has burst back into life at the right time which is a credit to his connections. Trainer Dolores Ruth has the Midas touch. Although the stats are against him, we haven’t had a back- to-back winner of the Derby since the legendary Spanish Battleship in the 1950s – he has his favoured rails draw.
Razldazl George needs to come away with the field and maintain his rails position on the crucial run up to the opening bend. If securing an uninterrupted path he will try to make his move down the back straight utilising his middle pace into the third bend to challenge up on the rails. He will be eating up the ground in the home straight.
Trap 2: Skywalker Puma
Trained by the maestro Matt O’Donnell, this dog has not been out of the first two places throughout the competition. He blitzed the field in the semi final when he turned close off the second bend and moved through the gears along the back straight to slam a high-class line up by six and a half lengths.
Skywalker Puma’s draw in trap two is very workable, he needs to beat Razldazl George on his inside to the bend and manoeuvre around to kick down the far side. No dog will be finishing quicker but he cannot give the early pacers too much of a lead or he will struggle to pick them up if caught in a bit of trouble. Paddy Power make him a slight favourite to lift the crown and he deserves his place at the top of the market.
Money-back special: If Skywalker Puma wins the Derby, Paddy Power will refund losing single bets on the dog that comes second.(T&C’s apply).
Trap 3: Cuil Cougar
A second finalist for the Dazzling Syndicate, this electric early pacer has added more consistency to his armour throughout this competition. In an ideal world he would flash from the traps and try to put the pace to the race if he is to win.
Cuil Cougar’s early pace is a potent weapon so if he can lead the field a merry dance. This hound certainly has the gears to worry the other contenders especially as he could miss any potential trouble at the opening bend and scoot clear down the back straight – therein lies his chance
Trap 4: Tyrur Sugar Ray
The youngest runner in the line up and probably the most talked about dog after his scintillating quarter final run getting close to the track record. His draw is a big negative though as he wants to be bang on the rails and will manoeuvre towards the fence at the earliest opportunity.
Tyrur Sugar Ray has shown that he can smash out of the traps, but he will surely meet resistance with the runners drawn inside of him all keeping a straight line to the opening bend. He needs to miss the trouble spots and be able to secure a clear passage as he definitely has the pace to lift the crown.
Trap 5: Coolykeren Imp
Although discounted as the outsider in the field, this early pace hound has a great draw to work from and has to lead if he is to lift the title. He is a possible leader and needs luck in running. But in a final anything can happen.
The Greyhound Derby is the toughest test of any dog so Coolykeren Imp could have been feeling the effects of a couple of hard races back to back. Hopefully we’ll see a rejuvenated performance this week on the biggest stage of all.
Trap 6: Camas
The sole wide seed has a brilliant draw to work from coupled with the trapping ability and early pace to match any of the runners in the race. The trap stats are against him as we haven’t had a winner from the stripes since 1997 but he is sure to get a ‘solo’ as the other runners all want to be near the fence.
Camas will be able to slipstream the likely leaders to throw down his challenge down the far side and at a big price of 10/1 in Paddy Power’s online betting he will surely interest the value punters as he is by far the best drawn dog in the final.