Newinn Taylor can become Irish Derby champion in what has all the makings of a scintillating final at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night - live on RPGTV - says Darrell Williams.
"The draw in trap six should mean Taylor gets a smooth run early on which will allow him to clock around 2915, a potential Derby winning time..."
For most punters, the Irish Greyhound Derby will come down to a battle of two between Graham Holland's charge and the Owen McKenna trained Pestana. I think it will be the Produce winner that emerges victorious.
That big race victory at Clonmel just prior to the Derby took his career record to a perfect 12 from 12 before a rare blip at the start - attributed to the switch of track - finally broke the sequence in the first round of the Derby.
Key form line?
Defeat was also to follow in the second round - the key form line to the final - as it came at the hands of a majestic track-record breaking display from Pestana - the first greyhound ever to break 29 seconds for the 550 yard trip.
Newinn Taylor, eye-catching enough himself in not been completely overawed by the winner's remarkable display was nevertheless beaten more than three lengths.
A moment of Pestana perfection
That performance from Pestana was a display of perfection from the moment the boxes opened in a Derby campaign that has been faultless. His Champion Stakes victory over the same CD last month first highlighted his rare star quality.
Five rounds, five victories and the early speed to make light of seemingly tricky draws has been the hallmark of his campaign.
So why am I tipping against him?
Factors that favour Taylor
Let us get it straight. Opposing such a consistent fluent trapper is no easy shout. But there are two if not three factors that make Newinn Taylor the correct call.
Firstly, the draw in trap six outside Ballymac Cooper - a repeat of their semi-final meeting - for a greyhound who has been starting much better as the Derby has progressed should allow him a smooth run early on with Liam Dowling's runner expected to cut towards 'lane 4' at traps exit. Such a run will allow Taylor to clock around 2915, a potential Derby winning time.
So far Pestana has dealt admirably with every tough draw that has been thrown at him but Dowling's other runner Ballymac Wild - the best option if you're looking to back a longshot - could have a big say in what happens early on.
Ballymac Wild is drawn in trap one, as was the case when they met in the Champion Stakes final. In that race, the pair went up together before Pestana emerged around the bend in front.
Wild outside chance?
With Meenagh Miracle in two unlikely to match middle moving Ballymac Wild early on that could edge the pair towards each other. The saving grace for Pestana could be his draw in four, as opposed to three in that previous meeting, which may allow him a smoother run up. More so if his Derby clockwork trapping again proves to be the order of the day. We would then get the buckle between the big two that we are all longing to see.
But what to make of Newinn Taylor and Pestana's respective semi-final efforts? A glance at the final times could lead you to believe that the Derby was catching up with Pestana who clocked only 2939, more than three lengths below his rival, and far slower than his efforts in earlier rounds.
But the dogs he beat in that semi-final, Ballymac Wild and Kilara Icon, were also 'down' on the clock. His time to the third bend was also a regression on previous rounds, so he lost no further ground from that stage of the race to the winning line.
Another valid piece of evidence or just the wind picking up at the wrong time? Either way, I'm backing Newinn Taylor to get the better of him and be crowned Irish Greyhound Derby champion on Saturday night.
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Back Newinn Taylor 2.56/4 Irish Derby final