THE countdown to the 2019 BoyleSports is well and truly underway after this year’s event was launched at Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium in Dublin, with Kildare duo Mark Robinson and Eamon Cleary hoping for further success.
The Irish Greyhound Derby is the most prestigious race in the Irish greyhound calendar and boasts a prize-fund of over €300,000.
Last year’s event was won by Ballyanne Sim, for Kildare trainer Mark Robinson and popular owner Eamon Cleary, based in Kilnagornan, who took home the €140,000 winning prize in a time of 29.28 seconds, one of the fastest Derby victories ever. Sim was subsequently named ‘Supreme Greyhound’ at the 2018 National Greyhound Awards.
CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board, Gerard Dollard, commented: “We have seen some of the world’s best greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park for over 90 years. The BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby is viewed by a global audience annually and I want to thank BoyleSports for their continued support. The large amount of prize money on offer will result in a distribution across the racing community.We’re looking forward to a thrilling six weeks of racing in what is the highlight of the Irish greyhound racing calendar.”
Eamon Cleary, owner of 2018 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby winner, Ballyanne Sim, said: “Winning the Irish Derby has been fantastic and the memories from last year’s final will stay with me for a long time. It’s the pinnacle of greyhound racing and to be the winning owner last year was a proud achievement. I really enjoyed the whole thing, big time. It was a good result and the more I look back on it, it was a good result for greyhound racing.”
Head of Communications at BoyleSports, Leon Blanche, added: “This is our sixth year sponsoring the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby and we’re delighted to be involved again in such an iconic race. Ballyanne Sim was a superb winner last year and was a shock winner for us as he was backed from 20/1 into 10/1 on the day of the big final. The standard of top class greyhounds is phenomenal this year with the track record in Shelbourne Park almost broken this month by the fantastic Ballymac Arminta. We are looking forward to all the entries and we hope to see some visitors from across the pond. As a company we pride ourselves on our continued commitment to Irish sport and we’re looking forward to what is certain to be another very competitive renewal.”
Payments will be staggered for heat winners with larger rewards for greyhounds winning later rounds, particularly quarter and semi-finals, following on from last year’s increase in this area.
The 2019 Derby will begin on Friday 16 August and run for six weekends, with the final being held on Saturaday 21 September.