Callaway Pro Am can land Irish Greyhound Derby spoils

The 2022 renewal of the Shelbourne Park spectacular takes place at approximately 9.44pm on Saturday night
Callaway Pro Am can land Irish Greyhound Derby spoils

Callaway Pro Am possesses a fine blend of early pace and stamina. 

Trap 1: Callaway Pro Am 

(Skywalker Farloe – Bottle Of Banter) 

Trainer: Owen McKenna 

Owner: Denis Murphy 

Odds: 9-4 

An unknown quantity prior to the Derby, he is trained by Owen McKenna, who is bidding for back-to-back wins in the Derby. Like last year’s winner, Susie Sapphire, this fellow is also unbeaten in the stake at this stage and looks ideally housed next to the fence. He possesses a fine blend of early pace and stamina and if he produces one of his better breaks, he will be in prime position to play a leading role at the close of play.

Trap 2: Crafty Kokoro 

(Droopys Sydney - Cockyorconfident) 

Trainer: Peter Divilly 

Owner: Peter Divilly 

Odds: 5-1 

Winner of the Corn Cuchulainn over 750 yards, this powerful lady has been one of the most exciting performers to watch through the Derby. Inevitably, she gives her rivals first run but her finishing speed is exceptional and has carried her to two heat victories. While a slow starter will always need a little luck, she has a favourable draw and if she can avoid early trouble, her finishing kick will give her every chance of landing the big prize.

Trap 3: Maries Wedding 

(Droopys Sydney - Ballymac Petsy) 

Trainer: Keeley McGee 

Owner: Tamara Butler 

Odds: 8-1 

A November pup, this bitch showed immense ability when dipping under 28 seconds for 525 yards in the first round of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks. She has improved through each round of the Derby and earned her place in the final with a big effort in defeat last weekend. She may edge a little to her right in the early stages but if she can hold her position against the early challenge of Ballymac Finn, she will give herself every chance of glory.

Trap 4:  Ballymac Finn 

(Droopys Sydney - Ballymac Petsy) 

Trainer: Liam Dowling 

Owner: Liam Dowling 

Odds: 3-1 

A litter brother to Maries Wedding, he produced his best effort on the clock when runner-up to Good Cody in round one and duly went one place better in round two. Since that effort he has built towards something special, and everything is in place for him to produce a career-best effort. Capable of turning close but also a strong stayer, the key to his chance is leading his sibling early. If he can do that, he will put himself in a position to make his stamina count.

Trap 5: Born Warrior 

(Ballymac Best – Mountaylor Queen) 

Trainer: Jennifer O’Donnell 

Owner: Whatever You Like Syndicate (Killenaule) 

Odds: 3-1 

A wide runner with exceptional early pace, he hasn’t won a heat since round two but that is of little consequence now. The stage is set for him to lead down the outside of the track and if he can slip around in front, he will be a long way towards Derby glory. His tendency to race wide off the final bend will open the door for the latecomers but the prolific scorer could just be far enough in front to keep them all at bay.

Trap 6: Droopys Nice One 

(Droopys Sydney - Droopys Dance) 

Trainer: Murt Leahy 

Owner: John Coleman 

Odds: 33-1 

The third bitch in the final, she tends to do her best work in the closing stages and given the draw and make-up of this race, that will be the case once more. She needs Born Warrior to produce one of his better breaks to allow her a trouble-free passage through the early stages. While she hasn’t managed to repeat the 29.32 clock she posted in July, she remains at the top of her game and is respected despite being the outsider of the field.

Verdict

The draw for the final of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park could hardly have worked out much better for all the runners but Callaway Pro Am has the early dash to make full use of the inside line. There is every chance Born Warrior will set the tempo but if the selection can keep the other four at bay around the first couple of bends, he will get first crack at the leader when that one swings wide off the last bend. Given he has found a way to win in each of the five previous rounds, there is every reason to be optimistic he can do it one more time.

Crafty Kokoro, who breaks well, lacks early pace but this draw is favourable. With Callaway Pro Am likely to go clear of her, and Maries Wedding, in three, likely to edge to her right on the run-up, she should enjoy a good run early. She didn’t have that last week and yet ran a superb race to finish a close second to Callaway Pro Am. She doesn’t have much to find on the clock and if the gaps appear late on, she will go very close.

As the likely leader, Born Warrior cannot be dismissed. His consistency at the break allied to a favourable draw should ensure he sets the tempo once more. He tends to quicken out of the second bend and from that point on his supporters will be looking behind to see how close the chasers are.

Ballymac Finn has the all-round speed to win but must be sharp to lead the inside runners on the run-up. That is not an easy task but if he can do it, he will likely come home in front. Maries Wedding is on an upward curve in this stake but must hold Ballymac Finn early and also clear Callaway Pro Am to give her best chance. Droopys Nice One’s recent form suggests she will be playing catch-up from an early stage, and that will not be an easy task.

Verdict: 1 – 2 – 5

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