Romeo Magico missed a deserving winner of the 2022 English Greyhound Derby in Towcester on Saturday night to hand Irish champion trainer Graham Holland his first English Derby success.
Owned by David Firmager, ‘Badger’ – as it is known at home – went to the cards as second favorite behind Kildare, which started at $3.25. It was Mickys Barrett who was the first to show from Kildare on the inside as they rushed into the first corner. Kildare just held the lead into the first corner with Mickys Barrett on his shoulder and an improving Romeo Magico now definitely third.
As they raced down the backstretch, Kildare had taken the lead from a rapidly improving Romeo Magico, who was making the most of the space Kildare had left inside. Magico equalized Kildare midway down the backstretch and had a length lead at turn three with Mickys Barrett now under pressure from an improving Priceless Jet in third.
At this point, it was clear that the winner would come from the top two. As they rode home, Magico maintained a strong canter only to spot a gallant Kildare one and three-quarters length. Mickys Barrett held off Priceless Jet to take third place. Hello Hammond and Savana Beau have never landed a hit.
The six finalists walked out with real credit. Savana Beau was bought after winning an A2 event at Clonmel and an A3 level event at Shelbourne Park, so making the final for trainer Diane Henry and owner Kevin Boothby must have been a real thrill.
Runner-up Kildare had just his 11th career start. He has now made the Kirby Memorial final and the English Derby final; still only a small of July 20, its future remains promising.
Hello Hammond failed to get involved in Saturday’s final but gave owners Gerry and Miriam Meaney a real thrill by making the final. He will have plenty of home opportunities in the coming months.
Mickys Barrett was undoubtedly Derby history. Named after their late friend, it has given its 67 owners memories that will last a lifetime.
The evergreen Priceless Jet broke the track record last year and reclaimed the track record again in this year’s competition. It is highly likely that he will be back at Shelbourne Park for all major competitions in the coming months.
So, what now for Romeo Magico? It is assumed that a well-deserved break will be on the cards ahead of a tilt at the Irish Derby and possibly the Champion Stakes before that. Wherever he goes, he’s sure to be the star attraction, and we can’t wait to see ‘Badger’ back in action come late summer at Shelbourne Park.
Bombardier plays the big night in Towcester
There were some fine displays on the undercard in Towcester on Saturday night.
Bombardier was an outright winner of the 712m event for coach Mark Wallis. It was the second leg of an opening double for Mark after his Ivy Hill Skyhigh won the opener.
Coach John Mullins also had a fantastic night landing a triple. First up for Mullins’ team was Knocknaseed Gem, who held their ground in a thrilling sprint contest finale to split the spoils with Havana Class at a stalemate. Callmesteve was the second leg when they picked favorite backers in the stayers event and the treble was complete when Chelms Switch won the Derby Plate final.
Kildare coach Peter Cronin won compensation on the night Cape Cloud went all out to beat Bockos Budsit.
Corn Cuchulainn on the march in Shelbourne
The 2022 Corn Cuchulainn kicked off at Shelbourne Park last Saturday night with five first-round rounds. The classic was won last year by Priceless Jet, which was entered differently this time, contesting an English Derby final on the water.
Ballymac Belvult was the fastest of the opening round winners, stopping the clock in 41:50 for the 686m course. The thrilling Crafty Kokoro made her six-corner debut and put in a stellar performance by winning in 41:61. Other round winners were Toolmaker Beach 41:77, Generous Angel 41:64 and Dark Ava 41:80. Droopys Soldier, Roxholme Kristoff and Magical Poppy all ran well in the loss.
The second round of the Shelbourne Champion 550 was also on the Shelbourne card on Saturday night and plenty of Derby cues were on offer. Droopys Nice One was visually very impressive beating Twoinarow. Vincenzo was a good winner for Australian owner Peter Sutcliffe, getting the better of the fast The Other Kobe near his home. Liam Dowling scored a hat-trick in the evening and two winners in this event thanks to Ballymac Ben and the very impressive Ballymac Leon.
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