The Irish Derby champion will be crowned at Shelbourne Park in Dublin on Saturday evening - live on Racing Post Greyhound TV - but in a competitive final who will emerge victorious? Darrell Williams assesses the six greyhounds set to do battle.
"In terms of consistency its hard not to envisage Slippy Cian as the one they have to beat and at around [3.9] with Sportsbook he is a spot or two bigger than he should be and clearly warrants being the main selection"
T1 Ballyanne Sim - James Robinson
Set to be the rank outsider but don't be too quick to rule him out especially if he can poach an early lead from his ideal box. Swung out at the first bend in the semis and similar tactics might allow him to shoot clear. Dug deep before being mugged on the line last week and certainly no forlorn hope.
T2 Magical Bale - Pat Guilfoyle
2017 English Puppy Derby winner bids to give his trainer back to back Derby victories after Good News' success last year. Peaking at just the right time helped by a switch to this draw (two from three) when clocking the fastest time in the semi-finals after gaining a good early position despite being squeezed out at the corner. Chance will be massively enhanced if able to clear trap one early on.
T3 Slippy Cian - Graham Holland
Juvenile Classic and Kirby Memorial finalist earlier in the year but has made rapid improvement since and arguably should be the clear favourite after a progressive Derby campaign that has seen him beaten only once capped by a fastest time of the event in the quarter-final. Edged out slightly at the traps after a slower start than usual in the semi but quickly prominent after an excellent first bend and will take all the catching if emerging on top. Seven from nine over this trip including an unbeaten four from four when drawn trap three.
T4 Clonbrien Hero - Graham Holland
Mopped up a stack of big race wins last year including the Produce, Laurels and Leger and never one to write off on the big occasion but will probably need the perfect start given the pace on his inside specially as he moved in slightly in the semis.
T5 Jaytee Taylor - Paul Hennessy
Exciting and fast improving youngster who only officially turned two midway through this event and has come very close to achieving the perfect Derby record with three wins and two desperately near misses to date. Handled this draw with aplomb moving in initially in the semi-final before making his anticipated late run down the outside. Will be a major threat if anywhere close to the pace at halfway and the one they'll all be watching out for when the heat is turned up.
T6 Clona Blaze - Graham Holland
Juvenile Classic finalist and unbeaten in the first four rounds until narrowly tasting defeat in the semi-final. Capable of playing a huge role if trapping to the best of his ability and offers a worthy value option at what appear inflated odds
As exciting and competitive Derby final as you could wish for with any number of permutations as to its eventual outcome. But in terms of consistency its hard not to envisage Slippy Cian as the one they have to beat and at around [3.9] he is a spot or two bigger than he might be especially back in his preffered white jacket and clearly warrants being the key selection. Expected to emerge handy he can soon put his mark on the race and cap what has been a remarkable Derby for his illustrious trainer who fields three finalists. Followers of this column are hopefully already on Jaytee Taylor and Clona Blaze, our two picks before the quarters but while the former is hugely respected given his exciting late running style it is another Holland inmate Clona Blaze that remains over-priced and the suggested saver for those not previously involved.