Ian Fortune

The Irish will be responsible for half of the final line-up in the Star Sports/ TRC English Derby after another bold showing on Saturday night at Towcester.

For the first time since 2021, the winner won’t hail from the kennels of Graham Holland after defending champion Gaytime Nemo and Irish Derby winner The Other Kobe made their exit.

Instead, Liam Dowling and Paul Hennessy will fly the flag for Ireland. Dowling will be double handed as he seeks a first and long over-due English Derby crown, while Paul Hennessy will be seeking a third title.


When De Lahdedah wears red, it’s best to take note. He lined up on the inside in the opening semi-final and made full use of his draw to emerge a tremendous winner, seeing off the wonderfully consistent Whyaye Man and Boylesports Bob.

Defending champion Gaytime Nemo seemed set to play a big part when breaking fastest from trap three but couldn’t quite clear De Lahdedah, who also came away reasonably. De Lahdedah forced his way up the inside of Gaytime Nemo on the corner, forcing the latter to edge off, allowing Whyaye Man up his inner to go second.

But De Lahdedah was always comfortable once turning in front. Liam Dowling’s brilliant son of Irish Derby hero Lenson Bocko is immensely fast and equally strong and he powered his way to a wonderful two and a half length verdict in 28.79.

Whyaye Man was second, while Boylesports Bob displayed all his back straight pace to better Gaytime Nemo before finishing just a half length away in third, providing Paul Hennessy with yet another Derby finalist.

Sadly, for defending champion Gaytime Nemo, the journey was over. He would eventually finish just one place out of the frame in fourth but he made a remarkably spirited defence of his title.


Liam Dowling will have two Derby finalists with Ballymac Gizmo staying on strongly to grab third in the second semi. Sadly, there was no such luck for The Other Kobe and Ballymac Slick. Here Churchfield Syd won the all-important battle into the turn.

The Other Kobe broke fast to dispute the early lead but failed to match Churchfield Syd into the turn. He took a slight bump on the bend but still managed to turn second, although he was soon under severe pressure with King Memphis advancing into the third turn.

Behind the front three, the two Ballymac contenders were attempting to get involved with Ballymac Gizmo winning that battle after turning fourth. King Memphis moved past The Other Kobe on the third turn, leaving the Irish Derby champ vulnerable to the closers in behind.

Churchfield Syd dug deep to contain King Memphis by a short head in 28.98 but The Other Kobe couldn’t do the same. He would fade on the run in, eventually finishing fifth. Instead, Ballymac Gizmo stayed on strongly to finish just a length and a half adrift in third. Ballymac Slick would eventually finish last, ending his Derby challenge.