Galway dog chases English Derby glory

PJ Fahy, whose dog Tyrur Shay contests the English Derby this weekend, pictured with his sons Nigel (left) and Conor (right) after winning the Irish Derby with Tyrur McGuignan in 2013.

SUCCESSFUL Glenamaddy owner and breeder PJ Fahy will look to land the top prize in one of the richest greyhound races in the world when his charge Tyrur Shay competes in the English Derby at Towcester on Saturday night.

Live on Sky Sports – the traps in the Derby final shoot open at 8:56pm – the prestigious race boasts an impressive purse of £350,000, with £175,000 going to the winner. 5/4 favourite is Clare’s Rocket but Tyrur Shay is also regarded as a major contender with the bookmakers at 7/4.

Having previously won the Irish Derby on two occasions with Tyrur Rhino (2007) and Tyrur McGuigan (2013), along with the Scottish Derby with Tyrur Kieran (2008), Fahy would dearly love to add the English title to the trophy cabinet.

More so, as he came close to achieving this feat when Tyrur Kieran finished second in the 2008 English Derby. Indeed, it was double disappointment for Fahy that night in Wimbledon as another of his connections, Pat Mullarkey’s Tyrur Laurel, finished fourth in a race where five of the six dogs encountered trouble on the bends.

“This is our 12th derby final between Ireland, England and Scotland,” begins an excited Fahy. “We were there in 2008 with Kieran and Laurel – Pat Mullarkey had Laurel – and both were very unlucky because they were taken out of it on the bend.”

With the move from Wimbledon to Towcester this year, many view the track as a fairer examination of a dog’s racing credentials. Fahy agrees: “It is definitely a different kind of track. I have to say, though, is the way the whole thing is run, it has given me my buzz back in greyhound racing. They couldn’t be nicer and they couldn’t do enough for you. It is just a massively enjoyable experience over there.”

Adding to this, no doubt, is the fact that Tyrur Shay has made the final but, then again, it is no surprise to anyone who has been in Fahy’s company in the past six months or so as the Galway owner, breeder and trainer has been extolling the virtues of the Derby finalist.

“He is a brilliant greyhound. I have had a lot of great greyhounds over the years and this one is right up there with them. The very best of them. As I have said, Kellogg’s have ‘Special K’ but we have ‘Special Shay’. He is a great greyhound.”

Although Tyrur Shay finished just behind favourite Clare’s Rocket in the semi-final, there was little between them. Indeed, before the Derby competition commenced, the two raced off in a trial stake.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.