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Irish Greyhound Derby: Dates, format, history & betting odds

The €125,000 Irish Greyhound Derby is the biggest prize in the sport and six of the best dogs will battle it out in the final, having progressed through five previous stages.

It will take six weeks to find out who the champion will be, with a talented field setting out to win the most prestigious canine prize and there will be some fantastic action in Dublin along the way.

First held at Harolds Cross in 1928, the competition was originally known as the National Derby before becoming official in 1932.

Both Limerick (1939) and Cork (1942) held the Irish Derby once, but generally the event alternated between Harolds Cross and Shelbourne Park until 1970 - when it was decided that Shelbourne would remain the host venue.

What2023 Irish Greyhound Derby
WhereShelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium, Dublin
WhenFinal on Saturday 2nd September 2023
How to watchbet365's Sports Live Streaming and SportyStuffTV
OddsDe Lahdedah 2/1, Coolavanny Hoffa 7/2, The Other Kobe 7/1, Trinity Junior 8/1, Bens Teddy 10/1, Wel Met 12/1, Bockos Crystal 16/1

When is the Greyhound Derby?

The Irish Greyhound Derby began on Friday 4th July/Saturday 5th July and has taken place every Saturday night, with the final scheduled for Saturday 2nd September.

Where is the Greyhound Derby?

The Irish Greyhound Derby is staged at the popular and busy Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium, in the south Dublin inner city suburb of Ringsend. 

The stadium opened in 1927 and hosts an array of prestigious and lucrative competitions such as the Easter Cup and Champion Stakes.

The Irish Derby is staged over 550yds, but races take place over a variety of distances:

350yds

525yds

550yds

575yds

600yds

750yds

850yds

How the competition works

The competing greyhounds are drawn into first-round heats, with three dogs qualifying from each race throughout the event. The top-three dogs from each heat then progress to Round Two, with the rest of the field eliminated from the competition.

It's a random draw, apart from the fact that the greyhounds are seeded to their running style. The dogs are graded as railers, middles or wides and that plays a part in their trap draws.

The competition runs over a six-week period, until it reaches its crescendo, when there are just six greyhounds left to compete in the final.

Not only is it a test of a dogs speed and skill, but also of their endurance and consistency, as they need to maintain a high-level of performance throughout the competition.

Previous winners

Englishman Graham Holland, who is based in Ireland, is the most successful trainer not just in the Irish Derby, but in the sport in recent years.

The master of Riverside Kennels has steered three greyhounds to Derby success in the last seven years - Rural Hawaii (2016), Lenson Bocko (2019) and Newinn Taylor (2020).

Arguably the most remarkable winner in modern times was Owen McKenna's 2022 champion Susie Sapphire - who led home a 1-2 of bitches with Singalong Sally finishing second.

A number of Irish trainers have won the Derby Triple Crown - English, Irish and Scottish Derbies - one of those is Pat Buckley, whose College Causeway produced one of the most sensational performances in a final back in 2009 when coming from last-to-first.

The most successful greyhound in the history of the Irish Derby is undoubtedly Tom Lynch's Spanish Battleship, who remarkably won three titles in a row - 1953, 1954 and 1955.

Last year Jennifer O'Donnell's Born Warrior impressed from the front with his dazzling early speed, but more notably O'Donnell followed in the footsteps of her father, three-time Derby-winning trainer Matt O'Donnell, as well as her mother Frances O'Donnell, who trained Skywalker Puma to success in 2012.

Not only is the Irish Derby comfortably the most lucrative and prestigious event of the year, success also opens the door for the champion (if a dog) to the world of breeding and the opportunity to become a stud dog.

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