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Antigua Romeo marches on in the Greyhound Derby and the excitement is building as we reach the semi final stage this Saturday at Nottingham. Last Friday he showed great early pace to turn second behind the impressive Droopys Verve (29.14) and though well beaten by over 7 lengths he comfortably qualified by hanging on to that vital second spot and while we remain in the showpiece event for the sport we will always have a chance. Romeo is still a young dog having only just turned two years old in May and he has yet to really trap as well as he can. Unfortunately our other runner Antigua Sands was eliminated after a slightly missed break and then trying to be brave at the first bend was pushed out very wide losing all chance of qualifying, we have still to see the best of Antigua Sands but she has showed enough promise in the Derby to show she can be a real star later this year.
The quarter final has brought some real cream to the top and of course there will always be some high profile casualties along the way but he final 24 runners left in has a very classy look to it. Firstly hats off to the GBGB's senior stipendiary steward Paul Illingworth (and the Nottingham stewards) for interpreting the rules of qualification slightly different from how they are set out to allow both Front Edge and King Sheeran to take their place in the quarter final when they dead heated for third place, this was because there would have been a vacant trap following Swift Jim's unfortunate disqualification. A common sense decision of the highest quality and not one person in our industry would argue otherwise, well done!
Antigua Romeo goes from trap 6 in the third quarter-final and faces the likes of Queen Beyonce, Clonbrien Prince and Ballyanne Sim but a good break could well see him again turn handy and though he will always be lacking a touch of stamina for the 500m he has battled on gamely in his previous rounds, indeed it would not be inconceivable he could lead and if he does he would definitely qualify in my opinion. All four quarter-finals look tremendous races but the clash in the fourth quarter between Skywalker Logan and defending champ Dorotas Wildcat is a cracker. With 8 days rest from last week's third round there will be no excuses from the trainers and the new format of the competition seems to be working well.
Also while the Derby reaches the later stages a lot of eyes will turn to Crayford at 9.28 on Saturday as the final of the Cesarewitch over 874m sees a cracking line up that would match the best marathon I can ever recall in my time in greyhound racing. Aayamza Breeze bounced back from a rare disappointing run the week before to win her heat to beat TV Trophy winner Savanna Winner in 56.89 but she will have to improve again if she is to beat such a classy line up. At nearly 4 1/2 she's not getting any younger but she still retains all her ability as her recent Regency victory tells us. If you can't get to Nottingham then Crayford is the place to be Saturday night.
Towstar Jess qualified for the Tony Williams Dual Distance final when second in her 575m heat on Friday and should be suited to the 750m trip and veteran Garryglass Champ was second over 575m.
As said Antigua Romeo qualified for the quarter finals of the Greyhound Derby when second in the third round at Nottingham on Friday but Antigua Sands was eliminated
Aayamza Breeze’s win at Crayford was the highlight of a disappointing Saturday where we had high hopes of winners at Monmore on a great Summer Festival card. Defeats for Brinkleys Poet, Brigadier Bullet, Antigua Vows and Chubbys Turkana who were all well fancied was tough to take though on a positive note puppy Saleen Again (3rd) and Busters Bullet (2nd) both ran extremely well.
On Sunday at Henlow again our luck was out a bit as Silva Hill, Brinkleys Rosie and Tommys Storm couldn’t quite get home and worse our Glory Snake was disqualified in a good 460m open. Chubbys Caviar
rescued a bad day with a fluent 5 length 33.37 victory.
On Monday Bolshy Bullet opened up his account with a 28.55 A9 win. On Tuesday evening Garryglass Royal also won for the first time taking an A11 in 29.14 and both Potman and Brutus Bullet running well to finish 2nd.
Saleen Story returned to the winne'rs podium on Thursday taking an A3 in 28.01.
No runners Friday and Saturday while on Sunday two graded runners Gully Foyle and Muxton Belle were both second.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - CHUBBYS CAVIAR
GRADED - SALEEN STORY
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
We have runners at both Hove on Thursday and Romford on Friday where Towstar Jess runs in the Tony Williams Dual Distance Final.
On Saturday the Greyhound Derby at Nottingham sees a tremendous line up for the quarter finals and Antigua Romeo flies the flag for the kennel but faces a stiff task to qualify for the semi finals. Aayamza Breeze meanwhile runs in the high class Cesarewitch final at Crayford.
Henlow’s Sunday opens are filling nicely of late and again we should be well represented.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
From a betting point of view our Derby interest has come down to Antigua Romeo and his attempt to do the fastest sectional though I’m tempted to put up a small interest on him for outright honours as at 100/1 he's bigger than when he started and I think he still is in there with a squeak.
Aayamza Breeze bids to land another competition when she takes on some outstanding rivals on Saturday in the Cesarewitch final, at 5/1 ante post she is still a best priced 4/1 but the red jacket is a massive help if she can lead up.
For another bet this week I think Towstar Jess might be a spot of value in the Tony Williams Dual Distance Final at Romford on Friday.
ANTIGUA ROMEO - 1 pt each way ante post 100/1 - Greyhound Derby - Nottingham - quarter-finals Saturday
TOWSTAR JESS - 3 pts win - Tony Williams Dual Distance Final - Romford - Friday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
ANTIGUA ROMEO - 0.5 pts each way ante post 125/1 - fastest sectional overall in Derby 125/1 - Nottingham
ANTIGUA SANDS - 5 pts win 6/1 - Top Bitch - Greyhound Derby - Nottingham- lost
AAYAMZA BREEZE - 2 pts each way ante post 5/1 - Cesarewitch - Crayford - Final Saturday