IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY PREVIEW: In this week’s preview Barry looks forward to the semi-finals of the Irish Greyhound Derby from Shelbourne Park on Saturday night. Once again covered live on Virgin Media Three from 9pm.

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De Lahdedah Assumes Favoritism, but Hoffa’s Still Lurking

For the first time in this years event we have a new name at the top of the ante-post betting in the shape of De Lahdedah after his fine all the way win at Shelbourne Park last Saturday. Breaking quickly from trap three Liam Dowling’s youngster ran out a comprehensive winner with plenty in hand over Seven Beach and Raha Mofo in 29:31. The Other Kobe was quickest on the night winning his quarter final in 29:15 and equaling the fastest run in the competition thus far. Coolavanny Hoffa was beaten for the second week in succession but still ran well to qualify and he can’t be dismissed. The draw for the two semi-finals is certainly lobsided with the second of the semis by far the strongest. Let’s have a look at both semi-finals.

1️⃣ Well Met
2️⃣ Threesixfive
3️⃣ Seven Beach
4️⃣ Trinity Junior
5️⃣ Clonroosk Sydney
6️⃣ Music Glideaway

Barry’s Verdict: Trinity Junior and Well Met look likely to dominate the early part of the contest but a case can be made for Seven Beach and Music Glideaway to go up strongly. On all probability it looks as though it will be Trinity Junior and Well Met who will take them along early. I have been impressed by the attitude and determination of Well Met in recent weeks. He is a tough dog to pass and always seems to give 100%. He was brave at the first bend last weekend when forcing his way up the inside of the reopposing Music Glideaway before just succumbing to the fast-finishing Clonroosk Sydney late on. Well Met’s brother, Our Surprise made the final of the Derby back in 2019 only to be withdrawn on the week of the showpiece. Champion Stakes winner Trinity Junior is a dog with stunning early pace and has been running extremely well at Shelbourne Park since his Champion Stakes win. If he can lead Well Met on the run to the corner, then he will be the one to beat. Junior has seen plenty of support in the last few days and is now around a 11/10 shot to win this semi-final. Clonroosk Sydney got the better of Well Met and Music Glideaway last weekend but faces tricky draw in trap five and may need a little luck around the opening bends. Music Glideaway was inconvenienced by the presence of Well Met up his inside last weekend at the opening corner and could have a say if breaking in similar fashion. Glideaway should have room to operate on the run to the corner with most of the field preferring an inside line. Seven Beach is an improving youngster but is another with a tough draw. For win purposes he needs to lead. That leaves us with Threesixfive, don’t expect to see her in the early part of the race but none will be finishing faster. I’ll just side with Well Met in this tricky opener, if he can get to the front on the run to the corner it will take a good one to reel him in.

1️⃣ De Lahdedah
2️⃣ The Other Kobe
3️⃣ Bockos Crystal
4️⃣ Bens Teddy
5️⃣ Raha Mofo
6️⃣ Coolavanny Hoffa

Barry’s Verdict: By far the stronger of the two semi-finals, Bens Teddy, De Lahdedah and The Other Kobe were all excellent winner’s last weekend. Throw is ace bitches Bockos Crystal, Raha Mofo and the supremely talented Coolavanny Hoffa and this heat is worthy of a Derby final itself. Bens Teddy has been handed a nightmare draw on the outside of some real speedsters and he may be better slightly missing the kick and getting a run behind them on the rails. He is sure to finish at speed and will be running on when others have cried enough. In my opinion its all on the break between The Other Kobe and De Lahdedah. I personally can’t see one coming from behind the other. Bockos Crystal is also capable of flying to the corner and she can’t be dismissed. Raha Mofo is trapping as well as ever in recent weeks but just seems to be minding herself ever so slightly around the opening corners. Many people have given up on Coolavanny Hoffa, but I still think he is the one to beat. He should enjoy a clear run to the corner on the outside and there is a big chance of crowing amongst the inside runners on the run to the bend. Available at 11/4 to win this heat and 5/1 to win the event outright he represents real value to me, yes, his last two runs have been below par, but he is a completely different dog when able to dictate and I’m hoping he can do so this weekend.

The action will continue this weekend live on Virgin Media Three from 9pm. To everyone involved with a runner, may I wish you all the very best of luck.

The semi-finals of The Michael Fortune Memorial Plate will also be run on Saturday night, Ballinabola Una can go well in the first heat. This young lady posses a potent finishing kick and should get a nice run early with Ballymac Pete expected to tow them along early. Una’s kennel mate Pape Di Oro can also go well. In the second semi-final Beepers Lariat and Optic Chico will dominate the market. I’ll side with Beepers Lariat in this. He has fine early pace and can steal a march on Optic Chico in the early part of the race and that can prove decisive.

THE ULTRA Thurs: Europa League Preview
DAQMAN Weds: Hereford NAP
DAQSTATS Weds: Hereford NAP
THE ULTRA Weds: Champions League Preview
PAT HEALY: Fastorslow fantastic at Punchestown
WEEK AHEAD: Champions League resumes
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