Proud sponsors of the 2013 Irish Greyhound Derby
It was sensational stuff at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night when a massive crowd witnessed the epic running of the ETS Irish Derby final. But from the second bend they must have known that Slippery Robert was on his way to a quite remarkable victory.
All the money came for Tyrur Sugar Ray and he closed at 6-4 favourite to win the World's Greatest Race. Cabra Buck was also strongly supported as Ballymac Vic drifted. And Larry Dunne's presence in the race meant that Slippery Robert wasn't going to be a wild price.
When traps opened Cabra Buck and Carrowgarriff were first to hit the ground with Ballymac Vic. They raced to the bend and this is where the final was effectively decided. Cabra Buck cleared the corner but Ballymac Vic held up Tyrur Sugar Ray and he actually had to shift out and lost valuable ground.
Cabra Buck led into the back by just a length from Slippery Robert which had run a terrific bend. The writing was on the wall and Slippery Robert duly hit the front on the third bend before storming clear up the straight to win by two lengths from Cabra Buck in 29.49 with Tyrur Sugar Ray getting a run late to finish another two lengths back in third.
It was a fantastic triumph for owner Larry Dunne who has been such a staunch supporter of Irish greyhound racing and the great thing is that he bred this son Hondo Black and Steamy Windows at his own Dundalk kennels.
For 25 year old trainer Robert Gleeson it was a moment he will never forget. With his first finalist he had become a Derby winner. As Larry Dunne said to me ten days before the final, "He's a great chap, the best young fellow in the country with a dog". He certainly lived up to that rating.
Pic: Imelda Grauer.