Mikey Cronin with 2021 Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby semi-finalist All About Ted.

TRAPRISE - All About qualification for Boy and Ted

The Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby has delivered a host of stunning performances in each round which, in isolation, would stand as highlights of any season but following another enthralling session for last Saturday’s quarter finals, the collective cast of 2021 at Shelbourne Park are ensuring one of the most memorable renewals of the classic, ever!

With unashamed bias, the opening quarter final drew the bulk of local attention with both All About Ted and Explosive Boy drawn together in a treacherous heat where the latter Pat Guilfoyle Derby favourite would renew rivalry with his latest conqueror, Liam Dowling’s freakishly talented Ballymac Ariel.

Not quite on a revenge mission, with qualification a more primary target, Explosive Boy (Good News-Delightful Girl) was ideally housed in trap 2 and repeating his now trademark fast start, the Guilfoyle star held every chance to reverse form when repelling Ballymac Ariel by half a length to the opening bend.

Wider out from trap 6, William Rigney & Richard Brown’s All About Ted (Kinloch Brae-Enable) had reached the bend on the tail of Ballymac Ariel but ushered wide upon turning, he would do battle for the final qualifying place with 2020 English Derby winner Deerjet Sydney. Out front, Explosive Boy edged to a one and a half length advantage at halfway but unable to fully shake off the attentions of Ballymac Ariel, the Dowling darling ranged up on the outside approaching the third bend and she would strike the front as Explosive Boy shortened his stride while tackling the turn. Extending to over a length entering the home stretch, a rallying Explosive Boy closed once again on the run to the line but retaining a half length winning margin, Ballymac Ariel prevailed in a blistering buckle between the top two in the Derby market while posting a very fast 29.37.

In behind, the prospects of progression for All About Ted were intensely polarised with just one place available from the very early exchanges but in a show of true professionalism, the Rathcabbin star outran Deerjet Sydney from halfway when only going down by a total of two and a half lengths in third and he remains a major player in the Derby.

With Sean Kenny’s Gunboat Showman suffering bumping after a slow start in the concluding heat, the Borrisoleigh charge would see his Derby journey end with too much ground to recover from the opening bends behind the Graham Holland trained Jackslittlething. The latter was the fastest winner in the opening round of the Derby and again fastest on the clock this week, he registered a brilliant 29.23 in a six-length defeat of Carrigeen North.

There would never be a straightforward task with just twelve runners remaining in a classic but Explosive Boy has been set exacting tasks in recent weeks and wouldn’t you know it, the mischievous draw-drum has again pitched the Guilfoyle hopeful side-by-side with Ballymac Ariel in the second semi-final this Saturday.

Despite his latest brace of defeats, Explosive Boy is still Derby favourite with the sponsors at 5-2 but he will again require his fast break from trap 3 this week as he faces all three remaining unbeaten runners.

From the inside, Owen McKenna’s Oaks winner Susie Sapphire has been flawless, and her trap 1 berth will make her extremely difficult to prevent from leading. A second heat runner for Liam Dowling, English Derby finalist Ballymac Fairone has a horrid draw in trap 2 as Explosive Boy, Ballymac Ariel and Jackslittlething line up in order to this right-hand side and with the perfectly housed Priceless Jet in trap 6, none are assured qualification.

A heat worthy of any classic final, a watching brief is advised in betting terms but sure to be a compelling spectacle, here’s hoping for another clear passage to safely guide our Moneygall star to the final.

In the opening semi-final, all bar one runner harbour Tipperary connections and having survived his latest treacherous assignment, All About Ted can claim a precious final berth from his ideal trap 6 berth.

Becoming increasingly reliable at trap rise, the Peter Cronin trained star can dictate the pace on the outside of Gortkelly Nestor for popular Upperchurch handler Andrew Murray. The battle for early supremacy closer to the rails looks a tight call and with Singalong Sally sure to seek the rails across Scooby Princess and Monraud Thunder, All About Ted can ensure a Rathcabbin presence in the final with realistic claims for semi-final victory.

Ranger returns to winning ways

There has been a plethora of winners from local kennels outside of the Derby action with much to catch up on and as pleasing as any of late, last Thursday’s meeting at Limerick delivered a trio of smart performances to commence the weekend action with the Mary Ellens Gang Syndicate’s Dolla Ranger (Candlelight King-Cnoc Rosie) leading the way.

Last successful in A3 back in July, a recent ease in grade coupled with an ideal draw in trap 1 saw the Pat Steed charge lead throughout his A2 525. Breaking well on the fence, the January 2019 whelp ably defended the rails before asserting to a two-length lead around the opening turns. Maintaining a strong gallop throughout, Dolla Ranger claimed his fourth career win in a smart 29.04.

Commencing the local trio, Craig Morgan’s Sopwell Thady (Droopys Jet-Liosgarbh Bops) doubled his win tally while getting to grips with his recent rise to A3, bravely striking the front at the opening bend before dominating with three and a half lengths to spare in 29.14, while James Treacy’s Montore Joe (Laughil Blake-You See Bolt) returned to winning ways in comfortable fashion with five lengths to spare in his A4 525 event, posting 29.54 in a seventh career success.