Almost a century old, the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby remains one of Ireland’s great sporting occasions. Saturday’s decider could see a small piece of history made if the big race favourite, The Other Kobe, can continue his impressive winning streak over the 550 yards course at Dublin’s Shelbourne Park Stadium.
His litter brother, Born Warrior, was victorious in last year’s final, and success for The Other Kobe would be a unique achievement. They would become the first siblings to have won The Derby in its 95-year history.
Their trainer, Jennifer O’Donnell, would also join an elite band of handlers to have sent out back-to-back winners in the event. Hopes will be high that another fast getaway will set The Other Kobe up for an all-the-way success. It is a tactic he successfully employed in the quarter and semi-finals.
Tough Kobe Needs to Trap Well
On paper, The Other Kobe is the fastest greyhound in the race. He recorded an outstanding 29.15 second time in the quarterfinals and posted an exceptional split time to the third bend during the race.
His final draw – in trap two – should hold no fears, but any lapse of concentration at the start would spell danger to his chances of success. The fast-starting Well Met is drawn to his inner in trap 1.
Recorded times and video reviews suggest there will be little between the pair in the early exchanges, but The Other Kobe is expected to get the upper hand going into the first bend. His fans will know he is a tough greyhound to pass once he hits the front.
Teddy Could Get Tucked In
Another leading contender is Music Glideaway, a greyhound that has improved steadily as the event has progressed. This lightly-raced wide-runner produced a career-best effort when winning his semi-final. On that occasion, he flew from the starting boxes and had the race settled a long way from home.
His trainer, Patrick Guilfoyle, is no stranger to the big occasion. He tasted Derby success in 2017 with Good News, and Music Glideaway gives him another realistic chance to take the big prize.
The strong-running Bens Teddy is the one greyhound that could spoil the party for the early-paced types – who dominate markets offered by online betting sites. This greyhound does not have the early speed to compete in the early stages. However, he will likely enjoy a clear passage tucked in behind the speed merchants, playing to his strengths.
Irish Greyhound Derby Facts and Stats
There are four trainers with runners in the 2023 Irish Greyhound Derby final who have previously won the race. They are Graham Holland (successful in 2016, 2019 and 2020), who relies on Bockos Crystal.
Bens Teddy represents Pat Buckley, who claimed the race in 2009. Patrick Guilfoyle hopes Music Glideaway can return the trophy he collected in 2017 to his kennels. And Jennifer O’Donnell, who trained last year’s winner, will be optimistic that The Other Kobe can see her keep it.
Only one greyhound has won the Irish Greyhound Derby more than once. That was Spanish Battleship, who landed the race three times between 1953 and 1955. The 1997 scorer, Toms The Best, is the only greyhound to have won both the English and Irish Greyhound Derby.
Ireland’s network television channel, Virgin Media Three will broadcast the 2023 final live as part of a one-hour show. Additionally, SportyStuff TV (Sky channel 427) will relay the action. Live streaming online betting sites will also show racing from Shelbourne Park on Derby final night.
Online sportsbook and casino BoyleSports have sponsored the Irish Greyhound Derby for a decade. The firm has agreed to continue backing the event until the end of 2026. In the past, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes sportsbook have supported the annual competition.
Hoffa Expected to Be In Full Flow
The 2023 Derby supporting card is overflowing with top-class races. Ballinabola Una and Coolavanny Hoffa appear to be the best bets after The Other Kobe. Ballinabola Una can make the most of her draw in trap one in the final of The Derby Plate at 9.48 pm.
And the long-time Derby favourite, Coolavanny Hoffa, should be capable of landing the Derby Consolation race. He was unlucky not to qualify for the decider last weekend, and this contest represents an easier task.
The Best Bets for Derby Final Night
Coolavanny Hoffa 9.08 pm Shelbourne
The Other Kobe 9.24 pm Shelbourne
Ballinabola Una 9.48 pm Shelbourne
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