FR O'NEILL'S and IMOKILLY hurling star Billy Dunne enjoyed more big-race success at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.
The best greyhounds in the country were in action as the final of the €125,000 to the winner BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby was the feature race on the brilliant 13-race card.
Dunne didn't have to wait long as Ballyhimikin Pip took first prize in the opening race, the €1,000 to the winner open 525.
A 4-1 chance during the day, she went to traps considerably shorter and was called home from an enthusiastic crowd.
Corbrack Prince was the favourite from trap two but found himself the meat in the sandwich in the early yards. In contrast, Gizmo Cash got a nice up the middle of the track to lead into the bend, but he was immediately under pressure with Munster Oaks runner-up Ballyhimikin Pip turning second.
Going into the third turn, the Graham Holland trained Ballyhimikin Pip (7-4) made her move. Taking charge on the outside, she stormed home to emerge a facile winner by six lengths from Corbrack Prince in 28.33.
It was a great result for the Dunne family as the previous week Ballyhimikin Pip ran a superb finish to finish a short-head second to Clona Skye in the €5,000 to the winner Dave Collins Memorial Muster Oaks at Shelbourne Park.
“Susie Sapphire has won the Derby” - The very words Tipperary Trainer Owen McKenna would have dreamt of hearing as he went to bed on Friday night. Whether he slept well or not matters little now as Susie Sapphire ran out the most incredible winner of the Boylesports Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.
After twenty-two years since Spring Time won for the ladies in 1999, Susie Sapphire was going to win the Derby for the fairer sex. She entered the back straight with six lengths in hand on Singalong Sally and continued to hold a commanding lead to the penultimate corner.
Singalong Sally did show massive pace around the last two bends to close and continued to gallop on well but there was no stopping Susie Sapphire’s march to glory. The bitch, who won’t be two years of age until next month, produced on the big night again.
Already the Puppy Oaks and Sporting Press Irish Oaks champion, Susie Sapphire will now forever be remembered as the 2021 Boylesports Irish Derby champion after she crossed the line three lengths clear in a brilliant 29.18.
As she had done in both the Puppy Oaks and Irish Oaks finals, she produced her very best run on the night that mattered. In victory she became the first bitch to record the Oaks/ Derby double, the first greyhound to go unbeaten through the Derby since College Causeway in 2009, the youngest winner since Tina Marina in 1996 and the second youngest winner of all time.