Ahead of the upcoming Boylepsorts Irish Derby drraw, Graham spoke to the Greyhound Star to give an overview to each of the Derby Team.
Ballyhale Blaze ran very well to win at the weekend over the 525 though he is really a 600 yard dog. He is still returning to form after a TFL muscle injury and I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet.
Beaming Paradise wasn’t an expensive dog and won’t be one of the more high profile runners. He is a little bit hit and miss at the break and gets himself so excited he sometimes sits down in the traps. He needs the rails and is very draw dependent but he doesn’t need to lead to give you a run. Whenever he runs, he gives every ounce of effort.
Blueberry Diva reached the third round of the Oaks but has been hampered by false seasons and then came into milk. She has lots of early pace and plenty of ability. She isn’t as far forward as I would like ideally, but the longer she can stay in the competition, the better she will get.
Blue East reached the Kirby Memorial Final at Tralee but for a dog who really wants the inside, he was always going to find trouble from five. At that stage I didn’t think he would get the 550 but he ran on well when second in the Derby trial stake at Clonmel after missing his break. He has great early pace but I have taken a pound off him and hope it helps his stamina. I think he will make a fair Derby dog.
Clona Blaze also came through the puppy stake at Tralee but hasn’t been at his best. But in the last few weeks he is coming into himself. He is a wide runner with plenty of early. So far the 550 has been at the end of his range, though he is getting stronger.
Clonbrien Hero showed no early pace in the Champion Stakes Final and we then found a strained hip which has been treated with ultrasound. He has since galloped well at home. He won on the Night of Stars but Shelbourne isn’t really his favourite track. I have put the middle seed back on him which should help.
Clonbrien Prince is a very fast and very inexperienced dog. He made the Champion Stakes final though his chance was ruined by Clonbrien Hero. He reminds me a bit of Sonic in his first year. I am hoping that the regular runs will calm his down and bring out the best in him.
Drive On Tipp is having a second attempt at the Derby. He completely lost his form earlier in the summer but we then detected a virus. He is starting to look back to his best and won in 29.53 (550) at Cork last week. He has 29.35 over the course and distance and is proven Derby class.
Lenson Blinder is a dog who has it all. He has good early, top class middle, and stays every inch of the 550 yards. He is comparatively lightly raced but even I was surprised with his 29.24 run over the Derby course last week. He prefers middle to rails and I will be massively disappointed if he doesn’t go a very long way in the competition.
Macroon Cruz reached the semi finals of the Produce Stakes but has since had a tendon problem. He really wants 600 yards, but is a real battler and a great character who won’t come in from the paddock until he has had his belly rubbed.
Macaroon Towser is Cruz’s brother and has been running A1/A2 stakes. He always struck me a summer dog and sure enough his recent 29.85 suggested he is coming to his best. He is experienced and battle hardened and I would like to see him go a few rounds.
Nice Charmer ran well to finish second in the Produce Stakes though he has since had some sesamoid problems. He ran very well in his race last Saturday and looks to be returning to form.
Nitro Notorius broke a shoulder blade in last year’s Derby and I thought it could be the end of his career. But he has returned to form and recently contested an A1 stake at Cork. A great character and real tough competitor, he would probably struggle to find a race while the Derby is on.
Rural Brae looked a decent prospect when reaching the unraced final at Clonmel but then levelled out a bit. He has been running in A1 stakes recently. May eventually want a bit further.
Slippy Cian made his name in the Juvenile Classic at Tralee and I thought he was very unlucky to be beaten a short head in the final. He developed the cough for the English Derby and has won three of his next four races over the Derby trip. Unlike litter brother Blinder, he wants a middle to outside draw. I don’t think there is much between the two brothers though Cian was marginally slower when they both won on the same night and he clocked 29.46 compared to Blinder’s 29.24.
Totos Park is not the fastest dog in the kennel but quite possibly the most genuine. He is no mug though and won in 28.54 for the 525 a couple of weeks ago. I think he will get the 550. Follow him you are sure to get a battling performance. My nickname for him is ‘John Wayne’.