Razldazl George bidding to emulate Derby legend Spanish Battleship

There is something very magical about the Derby double. On Saturday night at Shelbourne Park the 81st Irish Derby final will be run and in that time only one greyhound has managed to win it more than once.

But, then, Chubb O’Connor’s Killorglin flying machine Spanish Battleship was no ordinary dog. He actually went one better for Dublin-based Kerryman Tom Lynch who trained him to win the Derby in 1953, ’54 and ’55.

In the interim Ger McKenna’s Own Pride narrowly missed out on the double when the 1969 champion was beaten into second place in the 1970 final by Monalee Pride, trained by his cousin Gay. Two years earlier the Tom Lynch trained Russian Gun won the ’67 classic and ran up to Yellow Printer 12 months later.

Manorville Magic ran up the 1988 Derby to Make History and then went one better in the ’89 final.

Next Saturday Razldazl George will attempt to be become the latest to attempt the feat. Last year he won a thriller from Dream Walker and he has got a a major boost for this year’s Ladbrokes sponsored classic final by drawing the red jacket in the final.

Speaking at yesterday’s Derby Lunch at Shelbourne, George’s trainer Dolores Ruth gave a very upbeat report of her champion: “I couldn’t be happier with him. He has really come into top form and the draw has worked out perfectly. Now we need to avoid bad luck on Saturday.”

For the second year on the trot, Dolores will have two finalists. Her other runner is Cuil Cougar who is challenging Skywalker Puma for favouritism and the trainer said: “I couldn’t be happier with him. He has settled in very well and has been breaking very well, recently. Hopefully that will continue to Saturday night.”

Five of the six finalists are handled by previous Derby winners. The odd one out is Coolykereen Imp who is owned and trained by Lurgan’s John Byrne and was bred by Tony Winters in Kanturk. What a double this would be for the Rebel Fitz team!

Two of the finalists are trained in Munster, the favourite Skywalker Puma and the ideally housed Camas. Puma will be bidding for a fourth Irish Derby success for Matt and Frances O’Donnell and he was reported by Brendan O'Neill, the man who sourced the dog, as being in tip-top fettle. He is a best priced 2-1 favourite with most firms.

Owen McKenna was represented by wife Sian while West Cork born owner Larry O’Rourke also made it to the function. The owner is hoping for a change of luck after recently losing his English Derby finalist Westmead Adonis while Sian said that they couldn't be more satisfied with Camas.

The youngest dog in the final is Tyrur Sugar Ray and he also happens to be trained by the youngest trainer Conor Fahy.

But the 23 year old from Glenamaddy, who turned out a 1-2 two years back was showing no signs of any pre-race nerves as he said: “We are just hoping for the best.

“We know he has the pace but we would prefer an inside draw. But then, trap four is better than trap six.”

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