The semi final draw for the Irish Greyhound Derby has thrown up two evenly-matched heats after Saturday night’s quarter-final drama.
Trap draw is the most important factor now as qualification for the fianl is all that matters.
1st Semi Final
Skywalker Puma in Trap 3 looks set to start favourite for this heat and lost nothing in defeat last week when going down by 4 ½ lengths to an amazing run from Tyrur Sugar Ray.
His draw on the outside of Trap 2 Coolykereen Imp could have been better as this lad moves middle straight from the trap rise. If he does slightly miss the kick, he could follow the early paced runners around the opening bends and kick on down the far side. His turbo charged finish can see him qualify the final.
Razldazl Bugatti is the best drawn dog in the race in Trap 1 and should have a clear run to the first bend.
His electric early pace coupled with him staying on better than he was at the start of the competition, should see him make his second Irish Derby Final, possibly as the semi-final winner.
Trap 5 Laughil Billy has arrived in the semi finals under the radar of some greyhound fans but this early pace dog definitely has the ability to make the final. A few of the Shelbourne regulars flagged this dog up as a potential champion at big odds, discount him at your peril.
Camas has a great draw in Trap 6 and is the only remaining wide runner left in the competition. He will keep a straight from trap rise and if the inside runners were to tangle on the crucial run up to the opening bends, he will miss the trouble spots and kick on down the far side.
Trap 2 Coolykereen Imp needs to lead this field and hope for some trouble behind him, therein lies his chance. Airforce Diva is the forgotten runner in this field, she is without doubt one of the best bitches in the country on her day and her draw in Trap 4 is not a negative.
She will need a bit of luck in running but she has a potent finishing kick which could see her arrive on the scene at the finishing line.
2nd Semi Final
Tyrur Sugar Ray will be a warm favourite for this heat after a sensational quarter final victory. His connections will be ecstatic with his Trap 1 draw, but he still needs to be foot perfect from the trap rise or he could have his ground taken on the run up to the bend.
He has the gears to get out of any trouble but a week is a long time in greyhound racing, and we’ll see if he can match his quarter final exploits. Champion Stakes winner Droopys Jet got back to winning ways and has an ok draw in Trap 3.
He would prefer to be closer to the rails but his burst of early and middle pace can see him in a challenging position down the back straight.
The reigning champion Razldazl George is coming to the boil at the crucial part of the competition but needs to come away from the lids in his best fashion as both of the runners draw outside of him will move inwards as they reach the bend, if avoiding trouble spots he can make the final as he flies home from halfway.
Trap 2 Cuil Cougar is the most interesting runner for me, he is a completely different dog when he leads and has clocked some impressive times in the competition.
If he gets another flier, he can wrestle the rails slot from Tyrur Sugar Ray and try to burst clear into the opening bend, it will take a good one to peg him back.
The two outsiders in the field, Trap 5 Killbarry Rover and Trap 6 Newlawn Tock have been mistakenly disregarded by the bookmakers but you don’t make a derby semi final if you are not a top class dog.
These runners would have preferred to be drawn near the fence and will need to lead this field to qualify for the final, which is definitely not out of the question.