“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.
Singalong Sally also ran a remarkable race in defeat and Cappawhite trainer Pat Buckley and Gilbert Anderson can be proud of her achievements. The same can be said for Jackslittlething in third and while it didn’t happen for the remainder in the decider, they played their part in making this one of the most memorable Derbies of all time.
For owner and breeder Peter Comerford, it was a very special night, his greatest in the sport, while it was clear from Owen McKenna that this meant the world. They can enjoy the coming days safe in the knowledge that they are responsible for one of the truly great Derby champions.