IRISH GREYHOUND DERBY FINAL PREVIEW: In this week’s preview Barry looks forward to the final of the Irish Greyhound Derby from Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.

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Cracking Nights Action in Store at Shelbourne to wrap up the Derby …..

After six weeks and one hundred and fifty eliminations the final six do battle at Shelbourne Park this Saturday night to see who will be crowned 2023 Irish Greyhound Champion. Of the six trainers represented in this year’s final four have previously won the Derby.

Jennifer O Donnell is responsible for the favouite The Other Kobe. Amazingly Jennifer won the Derby last year with Born Warrior a full brother of Kobe and she looks to complete a historic double. The O Donnell family is steeped in Derby glory. Jennifer’s father Matt won the Derby on three separate occasions (1990,91 and 95), her mother Francis won it back in 2012 with Skywalker Puma, while her aunt Dolores also won the event on two occasions in 2006 and 2011.

Jon Jones has Well Met in trap one. You could say it’s the family’s second Derby finalist but the first time they will in fact take up their place in the line-up. Well Met’s half-brother Our Surprise made the final of the 2019 Derby but unfortunately picked up an injury on the week of the final and was withdrawn as a result.

Pat Buckley won the race with the excellent Collage Causeway back in 2009 and Bens Teddy has a similar running style to the famous Collage Causeway.

Pat Guilfoyle has also won it on one occasion with Good News back in 2017 and Music Glideaway will be bidding to add a second Derby for Guilfoyle.

Bockos Crystal is one of two bitches in the final, her trainer Graham Holland has won the Derby on three occasions, 2016, 2019 and 2020.

That leaves us with Threesixfive who is trained by young Scott Phelan. This is not only Scott’s first year with a licence, it’s also his first ever Derby entry and he has worked wonders to get this lady to the final. She will be the outsider, but none will be finishing faster.

Verdict: An over used phrase is “You can give all six finalists a chance” On this occasion however its very apt. Yes, Threesixfive will need luck, but her potent finishing kick allows her to punish any mistakes by the leaders. Well Met has the ace draw in red. He can go up strongly and is very game and honest when he leads. The Other Kobe was sensational in the quarter when he posted a joint competition best of 29:15. He beat a stellar field last weekend and is a deserving favourite. Bens Teddy is another massive finisher. He will look to tuck in behind the inside duo early on and pick his way through the field in the second half of the race.

Despite the trap five draw I give Bockos Crystal a chance. She should have too much early for Bens Teddy and Threesixfive.  Eimear (as she is known at home) is likely to race prominent down the center on the run to the corner and this classy lady has winning form over 600 yards.

That leaves us with Music Glideaway out in six. The fastest of the semi-final winners and the sole wide seed. Like Kobe, a repeat of last week’s run will see him very hard to beat. It’s all on the break and if I’m honest I can see little value in the final apart from Bockos Crystal. A small chance is taken that Eimear can produce one of her better breaks and get to the front. If doing so then Bens Teddy and Threesixfive would be the only two that could pick her up. It promises to be an excellent final. Good luck to all connections.

Supporting Card: As you would expect the supporting card is star studded with the likes of Ballinabola Ed, Clona Duke, Scaglietti Gaytime Nemo and Coolavanny Hoffa just a few to mention.

Best bet on the card for me will be Beepers Lariat to win the final of the Michael Fortune Memorial Plate. Lariat was excellent last week when flying to the corner after missing the break before running on strongly to score comfortably. If he can trap on terms, he should turn handy behind the early paced Ballymac Pete and prove too strong down the far side.

I still think Coolavanny Hoffa can prove his doubters wrong and get back to winning ways in the consolation final. Luck hasn’t been his ally in recent weeks, but Hoffa can come roaring back to form this weekend.

The action gets under way from Shelbourne Park at 19:20. RPGTV will have all the action from 7:00 while the three main races will be live on Virgin Media from 9pm

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