Excitement is building for a brand new Derby......
BY JONATHAN KAY
NOTTINGHAM will discover at 10pm this evening just how popular its first staging of the Greyhound Derby is going to be when entries close for the £100,000 Star Sports, Arc & LPS-sponsored Classic with an expectation it will be over-subscribed for the 192 places available.
The Colwick Park venue is already owed a debt of gratitude by the sport for stepping in and putting a package together after previous host Towcester went kaput as it was, for 2019 at least, basically the only game in town in terms of willingness to stage the event and with realistic sponsorship in place.
And it’s fair to say that management have barely put a foot wrong since it was announced in mid-December that Nottingham would become just the fifth track – after White City, Harringay, Wimbledon and the aforementioned Towcester - to stage the sport’s most important event, even a delay in confirming the actual dates allowed a sense of drama when they were finally unveiled at the GBGB awards night.
There was an immediate decisiveness about the mark that Nottingham wanted to make on their staging of the event with the three-runs-in-a-week format comprising third round, quarters and semis dropped in favour of a weekend-only competition, while the ‘open to all’ nature was also discarded with entries capped at 192.
Neither of those decisions were designed to curry favour with traditionalists but have been almost universally welcomed by those at the sharp end, in particular trainers, given the additional time they will have to do their job in the middle-to-later stages and also the fact that three are guaranteed to qualify from every heat.
And the announcements were swiftly made, unlike the fuzziness in year one at Towcester where the possibility of going just over the magic 192 did not seem to be countenanced until entries were almost closed at which time a compensation and reserve scheme was quickly mooted.
Remember, too, the ludicrous suggestion that a Twitter poll should decide whether previously-disqualified dogs should be allowed to enter by removing a competition condition barring them dating back to the GRA days?
That seemed a brazen attempt to allow King Turbo into the fold but happened far too close to the event starting before it was eventually parked in the long grass.
King Turbo, however, is welcome at Nottingham this year should connections so wish after it was made clear from the outset that the competition condition in question would be dropped.
Personally, I’m not sure it’s the right call, but it was done early, without debate and everyone knew immediately where they stood.
As the Derby has grown closer, there have been a few critical observations although if I hear another whinge about the third bend and greyhounds on the inside easing I think I’ll scream. It will always be easier to run a turn without breaking stride when a greyhound is off the fence, at any venue.
The trial stakes staged, of which there have been many, have not always been edifying spectacles and should Nottingham throw its hat in the ring for future years there is a case to be made for limiting them to dogs with previous course and distance knowledge – details of trials sessions have been known for more than a month with ample opportunity for trainers to book up.
Social media has been used impressively to keep all informed and Star Sports has really pushed the boat out with many interviews with trainers of leading fancies on its website not to mention an excellently-received preview evening last week.
It was a bit of a puzzle that the subject of hare driving apparently became such a topic of debate there all the same.
Yes, the hare does tend to be driven a little shorter in the UK than elsewhere – and maybe even more so at Nottingham than other British tracks but if we’d wanted this competition to mirror the Irish Derby completely then it might as well have been run at Shelbourne.
The next seven weeks will bring drama and excitement, with controversy thrown in too. That could start as soon as tomorrow if and when connections of those who do not make the cut for a 192-strong field are informed, never mind when the new seeding panel pronounces on some of the more tactical classifications.
Greyhound-derby-NEWS Job of assessing 212 Derby field continues on Tuesday
BY JIM CREMIM OF THE RACING POST...
DERBY entries closed Monday night, soaring over the 200 mark. On Tuesday morning Nottingham confirmed 212 names were in the book.
In a tweet, it was stated: "We will now work through all the entries to ensure their validity and check seedings."
One of the seeding committee members, Peter O’Dowd, the respected recently retired Romford racing manager, was on hand Monday there both during the day and for racing. He is back on Tuesday.
A 192 limit has been imposed and the draw will take place at 1pm Nottingham on Friday. By then it is expected withdrawals will bring the total down to something near the ‘perfect’ 192 figure. Nottingham will choose the field based on local and big race form, with anyone missing out standing by as reserve.
The majority of runners are set to be unseeded, with wides in a relative minority.
There will be 32 first round heats, 16 on Friday week May 24, the other 16 on Saturday May 25. The first three qualify from all heats.
Skywalker Logan and Totos Park, winner and third respectively in Saturday’s 600 yards Cesarewitch final at Mullingar, are among the Irish entries.
The reigning English (Dorotas Wildcat), Irish (Ballyanne Sim) and Scottish Derby champions (Braveheart Bobby) are all in the field.
FASTEST in Monday's racing was Mark Wallis’s Brinkleys Poet (29.60sec, going 0.30sec fast, 0.20sec for later races), who continues his progress since injury.
Matt Dartnall, his previous trainer, had done a great job in getting him right. Wallis, who now trains him for Nic and Amanda Jeal, said: “He’s getting there, stayed a lot better than the last time. We might give him another spin here next week before the Derby.”
Wallis later completed a double with Antigua Vows (29.87sec). He added: “She’s a nice bitch - I mentioned in a Star Sports interview that she is one to consider as ‘best bitch’. She cheated the draw [in four] coming across. Antigua Sands trialled nicely too.”
Blue East battled on really well for the Hollands to take second.
Nicky Holland, wife of Graham, said: “It’s all a learning curve, we’re pleased with the entire team and are looking forward to the Derby.”
Roman Empire did not get going in this and was later pulled out of the Classic. The July 17 whelp is likely to be kept to puppy events for the time being.
Stayer Quantum Leap (29.76sec) was soon clear in the second trial stakes race, odds-on Clonbrien Price, crowded at the first, showed good middle pace.
Winning trainer Pam Dolby grinned: “We’re ectastic.” Her husband Colin added: “We brought a cheque to pay for his Derby entry - but would only part with it if he ran well - he did!”
There was a double for Alison Kelly-Pilgrim. She said of Hitachi Hoban (30.23sec): “He’s newly arrived, bought out of Phil Simmonds’ kennel - we were looking for a dog to have some fun with ourselves in the Derby, alongside the top notch Deanridge team.”
The latter picked up a later race through Conors Blake (29.79sec), who always led, cutting in early. Joint owner Ray Dean said: “It’s a nice double for the kennel, we’ve looked after him this season and he’s had an easy campaign. He looked good.”
Earlier Kilara Tain Bo (29.96sec) kicked clear at the bend. Trainer Laurence Tuffin said: “He’s had a series of niggles but that was pleasing - the owners were waiting to confirm his entry. Can we have trap three in every round please!”
Piemans Star, a litter brother to top class Toolmaker Me Dad, caught the eye when he made a winning 30.11sec debut for Dave Mullins. His owner Jim Parker said: “He’s improved in trials, the Derby might be too soon but he came recommended, although is a little inexperienced. There’s 25 of us in the dog, we’re all booked up for the heats! We always make a special night of the semis too.”
Forest Mike led early (30.08sec) for Peter Harnden, he said: “That’s a hat-trick - he keeps pulling in front. He shows some bottle at the first bend too, the Derby’s next.”
There was a double with Salacres Punch (29.86sec, fastest sectional with 4.94sec). Harnden added: “He’s starting to trap and he’s getting stronger, though I fear 500m is too far. We’re entering him, Vincent and Barley - our dark horse - plus Forest Mike.”
Plaza Roicead (29.98sec) showed exceptional pace in the last for Lynn Cook, who said: “She’s a nice little bitch with real pace, coming right and we’re just going to enter her now, along with Plaza Lep (runner-up to Piemans Star).”
MULTIPLE Category One winner King Turbo on Monday night received the thumbs-up from Rab McNair to take his chance in the Star Sports, Arc and LPS Derby.
He was the last hopeful to trial over the 500m Derby course before entries closed and he ran the track well, railing at the first, drifting off a little coming home to clock 29.66sec
Fastest of the session was kennelmate King Sheeran, who ran the opening solo in 29.55sec (going 0.10sec fast)
King Cash clocked 29.62sec and King Idol 29.83sec.
Rab McNair, partner of trainer Liz, said: “We are entering eight, four others trial on Friday. We have real strength in depth, some like Turbo with real pace up but also runners with stamina and all home bred. It’s exciting. Turbo has been blowing hard after his previous trials here, but not tonight. He’s gone well and we know he’s a real competition dog. Sheeran was particularly pleasing.”
The door was opened to a Derby campaign for King Turbo by new host Nottingham. A red card transgression as a pup had meant that, although he was welcome to run in any other major competition, the Derby previously carried a special condition that kept him off limits. No more.
Graham Holland also trialled three. Wolfe went well to clock 29.65sec, Romeo Rumble returned 30.05sec, Macaroon Cruz 30.01sec.
Jimmy Fenwick’s Scottish Derby runner-up Cooneen Jack beat kennelmate Lemon Ronald a head in 30.00sec after the pair bunched at the turn.
Ireland’s Good Champ, trained by John Kennedy jnr, led at the third to beat Troy Zico (tired from the third but said can improve) by nearly eight lengths in 29.61sec.
Mark Wallis’s Antigua Sands won a trial in 29.97sec by a neck from kennelmate Alien Sea with Stuart Buckland’s Dower Rory third after a slow start.
Pat Rosney’s Newinn Banger broke moderately to clock 30.06sec in a solo.
Laurence Tuffin’s Colston Havana led on the run in to beat Brendan Matthews’ Ribchester in 30.10sec. Ribchester clocked the fastest sectional (4.98sec) before drifting very wide at the bend.
Robert Hall’s Sunset Ranger made all to beat Tuffin’s Colston Magic by half a length in 30.24sec.
*Liam Dowling, the Irish trainer, said: “We’ve brought some lovely, young dogs and we’re looking forward to it. We have five trialling on Tuesday afternoon.”
Star Sports bet (before the Derby closed last night): 14 Dorotas Wildcat, 16 Droopys Verve, 18 Clonbrien Prince, 20 Lenson Blinder, 22 Burgess Bucks, Jaytee Taylor, 25 King Turbo, Magical Bale, Martinstown Band, Slippy Cian, 28 bar
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1 Addis Abebba Rails Gary Ferguson 2 Affane Buck Rails Ken Humphreys 3 Akelawre Rails Liam Dowling (IRE) 4 Alien Sea Middle Mark Wallis 5 Antigua Romeo Middle Mark Wallis 6 Antigua Sands Middle Mark Wallis 7 Antigua Vows Rails Mark Wallis 8 Arthur Noodle Middle Patrick Godfrey 9 Badminton Jet Rails Peter Cronin (IRE) 10 Baldoin Rails Katie O’Flaherty 11 Ballyanne Sim Rails Mark Robinson (IRE) 12 Ballydoyle Frank Rails Phil Barlow 13 Ballydoyle Valor Rails Graham Holland (IRE) 14 Ballymac Anton Rails Liam Dowling (IRE) 15 Ballymac Brayden Rails Liam Dowling (IRE) 16 Ballymac Devon Middle Sean Parker 17 Ballymac Miscula Rails Kim Billingham 18 Ballymac Osby Rails Kevin Hutton 19 Ballymac Reds Rails Angela Kibble 20 Ballymac Syd Middle Liam Dowling (IRE) 21 Ballymac Tas Rails Liam Dowling (IRE) 22 Blue East Rails Graham Holland (IRE) 23 Bockos Doomie Rails Patrick Janssens 24 Bockos Rory Rails Patrick Janssens 25 Bockos Tiger Rails Kevin Boon 26 Born To Achieve Middle Jason Gray 27 Boylesports Boom Rails Seamus Gaughan 28 Boylesports Xtra Rails Paul Hennessy 29 Bramble Milburn Middle Steven Anderson 30 Braveheart Bobby Middle Pat Buckley (IRE) 31 Brinkleys Poet Rails Mark Wallis 32 Bubbly Bonanza Rails Paul Young 33 Bubbly Cougar Rails Paul Young 34 Bull Run Button Rails Barrie Draper 35 Burgess Bucks Middle Pat Buckley (IRE) 36 Burgess Doc Wide Pat Buckley (IRE) 37 Busters Bullet Rails Mark Wallis 38 Clonbrien Prince Rails Graham Holland (IRE) 39 Clonbrien Swift Middle Graham Holland (IRE) 40 Colston Havana Rails Laurence Tuffin 41 Comeonyoubees Rails Matt Dartnall 42 Connors Blake Middle Allison Kelly-Pilgrim 43 Coolavanny About Rails Peter Cronin (IRE) 44 Cooneen Jack Rails James Fenwick 45 Craigland Jack Rails Jill Llewellin 46 Cushie Jet Middle John Codd (IRE) 47 Da Head Hunter Rails Peter Cronin (IRE) 48 Dantes Inferno Rails Allison Kelly-Pilgrim 49 Deadly Storm Middle Pat Buckley (IRE) 50 Deanridge Ashton Rails Allison Kelly-Pilgrim 51 Deanridge Kane Middle Allison Kelly-Pilgrim 52 Designer Label Rails Pat Buckley (IRE) 53 Desperado Dan Rails Patrick Janssens 54 Distant Rain Rails John Lambe 55 Distant Sailor Middle Robert Vaughan 56 Doona Buck Rails Gerry Holian (IRE) 57 Dorotas Wildcat Rails Kevin Hutton 58 Dorotas Woo Hoo Wide Hayley Keightley 59 Dower Rory Rails Stuart Buckland 60 Droopys Biker Wide Patrick Janssens 61 Droopys Davy Wide Pat Buckley (IRE) 62 Droopys Expert Rails Angela Harrison 63 Droopys Gold Middle Seamus Cahill 64 Droopys Mac Middle Paul Young 65 Droopys Nadal Middle Angela Harrison 66 Droopys Nirvana Wide Seamus Cahill 67 Droopys Trapper Middle Angela Harrison 68 Droopys Verve Rails Angela Harrison 69 Ela Juliet Rails Matt Dartnall 70 Emers Cookie Rails Paul Meek 71 Farloe Falcon Rails Chris Akers 72 Forest Alan Middle Seamus Cahill 73 Forest Mike Rails Peter Harnden 74 Formidable Wide Diane Henry 75 Front Edge Rails Kevin Proctor 76 Geelo Blissful Middle Carl Perry 77 Gettin Up Middle Gary Loughnane (IRE) 78 Good Champ Rails John Kennedy (IRE) 79 Hagglers Hawk Rails John Sharp 80 Haggswood River Rails Anneliese Thompson 81 Headford Maurice Wide Kevin Boon 82 Heathlawn River Rails Kevin Boon 83 Hero To Zero Wide John Mullins 84 Hitachi Hobarn Rails Allison Kelly-Pilgrim 85 Holdem Zidane Middle Carol Weatherall 86 Hometown Hero Middle Kim Billingham 87 Honour Turbo Rails Adrian McPherson 88 Innocent Times Middle Kim Billingham 89 Itsur Mate Wide Paul Young 90 Jacks Tornado Rails Peter Cronin (IRE) 91 Jaytee Jerry Rails Paul Hennessy 92 Jaytee Taylor Wide Paul Hennessy 93 Jelly Flood Middle Peter Swadden 94 Kilara Tain Bo Rails Laurence Tuffin 95 Killinan Fury Wide Alec Stone 96 Kilmessan Puma Middle Paul Young 97 King Cash Wide Elizabeth Mcnair 98 King Diamond Middle Elizabeth Mcnair 99 King Dylan Middle Elizabeth Mcnair 100 King Idol Rails Elizabeth Mcnair 101 King Lennon Middle Elizabeth Mcnair 102 King Sheeran Wide Elizabeth Mcnair 103 King Turbo Rails Elizabeth Mcnair 104 Kingsbrook Glyn Middle Kevin Hutton 105 Knockduff Declan Middle Martyn Wiley 106 Leemount Venus Wide Kevin Boon 107 Lemon Express Rails Peter Cronin (IRE) 108 Lemon Ronald Middle James Fenwick 109 Lemon Shane Rails Gerry Holian (IRE) 110 Lenson Blinder Rails Graham Holland (IRE) 111 Lenson Whelan Rails Patrick Janssens 112 Liberty Hawk Rails Alan Bellis 113 Lightfoot King Middle Sean Parker 114 Loher Honey Middle Jill Llewellin 115 Lostrigg Barney Rails Barrie Draper 116 Macaroon Cruz Rails Graham Holland (IRE) 117 Magical Bale Rails Kevin Hutton 118 Man Twenty One Rails Allison Kelly-Pilgrim 119 Maries Darkie Wide Anthony Collett 120 Martinstown Band Wide Chris Akers 121 Martinstown Hope Wide Chris Akers 122 Master Reed Rails Ken Humphreys 123 Meet Me Rails Carol Weatherall 124 Nadurra Dutch Rails JR McLachlan 125 Newinn Banger Wide Pat Rosney 126 Newinn Missile Rails Barrie Draper 127 Nice Charmer Rails Graham Holland (IRE) 128 Nidderdale Lark Rails Jill Llewellin 129 Noelles Phelpso Rails David Mullins 130 Oi Oi Upenalty Rails Hayley Keightley 131 Onedin Paradise Middle Yvonne Bell 132 Paganini Show Rails Pat Buckley (IRE) 133 Panther Rails Paul Hennessy 134 Payyaway Kane Middle Debbie Calvert 135 Pennys Luna Rails Heather Dimmock 136 Piemans Star Rails David Mullins 137 Pink Osteria Rails Paul Young 138 Pinpoint Rocco Rails Kelly Macari 139 Plaza Lep Rails Lynn Cook 140 Plaza Roicead Rails Lynn Cook 141 Pond Adonis Rails Harry Williams 142 Pond Ricardo Middle Harry Williams 143 Priceless Blake Rails Paul Hennessy 144 Quantum Leap Middle Pam Dolby 145 Queen Beyonce Rails Elizabeth Mcnair 146 Raise The Stakes Rails Kenneth Renney 147 Ribchester Middle Brendan Matthews (IRE) 148 Rising Brandy Middle Matt Dartnall 149 Rockmount Ozzy Rails John Mullins 150 Romeo Rumble Middle Graham Holland (IRE) 151 Roxholme Butt Rails Hayley Keightley 152 Roxholme Glory Rails Hayley Keightley 153 Roxholme Jim Middle Hayley Keightley 154 Roxholme Nidge Rails Hayley Keightley 155 Salacres Barley Rails Peter Harnden 156 Salacres Punch Middle Peter Harnden 157 Salacres Vincent Wide Peter Harnden 158 Savana Awesome Rails Jason Bloomfield 159 Savana Floyd Rails Diane Henry 160 Savana Tuftys Rails Anthony Tuffin 161 Savana Volt Rails Diane Henry 162 Saving Sonic Rails John Mullins 163 Seaglass Phantom Rails Patrick Janssens 164 Seaglass Tiger Rails Patrick Janssens 165 Shaneboy Pascal Rails Kevin Boon 166 Sharpys Junior Rails John Sharp 167 Sharpys Star Middle John Sharp 168 Sidaz Jet Rails Matt Dartnall 169 Skywalker Logan Rails Patrick Guilfoyle (IRE) 170 Slaheny Star Rails Derek Knight 171 Slaneyside Sylvy Rails Maxine Locke 172 Slippy Cian Middle Graham Holland (IRE) 173 Sparta Master Wide Gary Ferguson 174 Sporting Dave Rails Seamus Cahill 175 Stoneparkwarrior Middle Gerry Ballentine 176 Sunray Minor Rails John Walton 177 Sunset Ranger Middle Robert Hall 178 Swan Style Rails Kevin Boon 179 Swift Jim Rails Susan Watson 180 Swift Sabbath Wide Paul Burr 181 Taydal Boy Rails Paul Dale 182 Totos Park Middle Graham Holland (IRE) 183 Trade Fudge Wide Daniel Brabon 184 Troy Zico Wide David Mullins 185 Uncle Wexford Rails Mark Robinson (IRE) 186 Volcanic Reef Rails Heather Dimmock 187 Wichita Middle Mike Kelly 188 Wildfire Jimmy Rails Paul Young 189 Wildfire Legend Rails Paul Young 190 Windmill Rover Middle David Mullins 191 Wolfe Rails Graham Holland (IRE) 192 Worseforwear Middle Peter Cronin (IRE)
Reserve List (In Order)
1 Megatone Middle Kevin Boon 2 Droopys State Rails Robert Hall 3 Bellebob Zuri Middle Darren Golightly 4 Colston Pearl Rails Laurence Tuffin 5 Killieford Banjo Rails Neil Black 6 Colston Aero Rails Laurence Tuffin 7 Move Over Padre Rails John Lambe 8 Blythe Basil Rails Jill Llewellin 9 Mercury Rio Rails Debbie Calvert 10 Bayview Gerry Rails Emma Richards 11 Sharpys Jimmy Middle John Sharp 12 Bojangles Middle Martyn Wiley 13 Ballydoyle Misty Rails John Wainwright 14 Fieldview Myles Middle Derek Newberry 15 Ballymac Memory Rails Derek Newberry 16 Fieldview Wonder Wide Derek Newberry 17 Roxholme Harvey Wide Hayley Keightley