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The first round of the Star Sports Greyhound Derby has come and gone and it has produced some stunning action from the off and surely any doubt about whether Towcester should hold our blue riband event been has firmly put to bed. It had everything that we all hoped for, track records, some thrilling tussles, high class greyhounds running well and the inevitable odd shock or two, bring on round 2!
For 'Team Wallis' we can be highly satisfied that seven of our eleven entries made it through to yesterday's draw and thankfully our number one hope Bruisers Bullet qualified when a game second to Bubbly Bluebird from the 'Heat of Death'.
On a glorious sunny evening on Thursday our campaign didn't start well when both Ilewin Brickwall and Cappoquin Al did each other no favours and were eliminated in the very competitive opening heat. We bounced back when our star stayer Rubys Rascal reeled in expected leader Razldazl Tierna in great style to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a decent 29.12 and he will be hard to keep out the frame as the competition progresses. In heat 5 sadly Roswell Iceman checked at the first bend and was obviously lame when well beaten, thankfully he hasn't been too bad since returning to the kennel with a sore wrist though a precautionary x-ray in the next day or two is likely to reveal a small fracture. Three stunning performances from Clares Rocket, Droopys Buick and College Paradise before a much improved run from our Minglers Toure who showed great early pace (5.18 split) before holding off the late challenge of Slaheny King to win by the minimum margin in 29.29.
On Friday night another great atmosphere at the track as the second batch of heats got underway. In heat 12 Garryglass Teddy ran fantastic and was just denied by a head by Maireads Spring in a good 29.47 (-20), Aayamzacraftyone was eliminated in heat 15 with the impressive Black Zack winning well. Nerves were jangling for all connections in heat 16 as the toughest race of the first round loomed large, something had to give but thankfully it wasn't our Bruisers Bullet who lost nothing in defeat as he chased home Bubbly Bluebird. It was sensational run from not just the front two but Dorotas Vic in third with the unfortunate Newinn Shadow the main casualty. Bluebird smashed out (5.12 split) and it looked like he would run away with the race but our Bruisers Bullet had different ideas and unleashed a powerful run to only go down by a length, the winning time was a brilliant 29.00 on going rated 20 slow. Bruisers Bullets time of 28.87 in second place would have won 27 of the other heats which says it all. The next heat saw a good run from our pup Saleen Ash who broke well and stayed strong to finish 3rd to Carlos Court. One of our big outsiders Adageo Gold came from last to 3rd to qualify in heat 18 behind the fast Dorotas Wildcat. Our last runner in heat 19 Garryglass Champ performed a minor miracle to escape being put on the floor at the first bend and then he stayed on well to qualify in 3rd place to give us our 7th qualifier overall.
The next round can't come quick enough and the excitement and tension will be incredible, here's a look at our runners.
Heat 1 : RUBYS RASCAL so impressive in the first round faces an ultra tough race containing two very impressive heat winners in Priceless Brandy (trap 2) and King Eden (trap 6) and the loss of the red jacket is a slight worry. Trap 1 Slaheny King has decent early so he should slot in behind three front runners, trap 4 Graigues Loch runs a similar style to Rascal and finished like a whirlwind behind Cloran Paddy in the first round while trap 6 Maglass Razzle stays as well, the question is will the three strong runners pick off the front runners to qualify? Rascal will have to use all his strength and speed to qualify here.
Heat 3 : ADAGEO GOLD was a surprise qualifier from the opening round using his strength to nick 3rd place in a decent heat, to be honest I don't see this as any harder and I don't see why he can't do the same again. Shaneboy Freddie (trap 3) and Carlos Court (trap 5) will lead up and both shouldn't be caught but Goldie shouldn't have anything to fear from the other three runners, good chance to make round three.
Heat 8 : SALEEN ASH is only an August 15 pup but justified his entry when staying on well to qualify from the first round. This race contains plenty of middle pace and finishing pace with the likely leader Crossfield Hugo a very doubtful stayer who will be vulnerable to the field including our fella. If he can trap in good style he is not out of even winning this heat, could be value!
Heat 10 : If BRUISERS BULLET is going to win a Derby it looks like he's going have to do it the hard way. After an ultra tough opening round where he came away with enormous credit running Bubbly Bluebird to a length in a very fast 28.80 here he faces the Scottish Derby runner up Coolavany Mason who has destructive middle gears and the talented King Kid who was so impressive on Thursday scoring by over 5 lengths in 28.85. The draw in 4 didn't look too bad with both traps 2 and 3 looking to go to the rails I would be confident we can clear them and then the draw popped up with Hiya Butt in trap 5 seeded middle? Last year's Derby finalist will now be a real hazard and as long as I've been in the game I've not seen too many strange decisions as this. Known all his racing life as a tight railer Hiya Butt was bound to be drawn out in 5 or 6, how Chris Page has agreed to connections' call for a middle seed is one of total and utter disbelief. It's not going to change so we will have to get on with it and concentrate on getting our fella in the best shape possible. He's in great order and I still think we have the best chance of winning the Derby with our boy since Blonde Snapper gloriously took the honours in 2012 and for the good of greyhound racing let's hope he pings out in front of Hiya Butt.
Heat 14 : GARRYGLASS CHAMP has drawn a tough one with the second favourite for outright honours Bubbly Bluebird in trap 3. Arc winner Garryvoe Bobby and Swithins Brae provide plenty of pace inside Bluebird and he could be in trouble if he doesn't break. Trap 4 Airport Jumbo is outclassed but a bang railer which means Champ in trap 5 is in a perfect position to take advantage of any crowding inside providing he can stay inside trap 6 Drumkeen Oysterbe on the run to the corner, that's where qualification will be won or lost for our strong runner.
Heat 15 : MINGLERS TOURE showed some electric pace to win his heat on Friday and GARRYGLASS TEDDY ran a blinder just going down by a head in a decent 29.27 but both have a mammoth task ahead here to make the 3rd round. Trap 3 is not great for Teddy outside the early paced Toure and Danzey Exception and I definitely think Toure will move middle on the run up. The outside trio are class dogs, Droopys Wilbury for Pat Buckley is many people's idea of the outright winner while trainer Fraser Black thinks his Kranky Mark will come on a ton from his first round run, Fweshfromthesesh has blistering early pace and could make them all go. A brilliant and fascinating but mega tough race.
Again it's going to be a great couple of days at Towcester and the action will come thick and fast. The atmosphere has been superb and the only way to experience it all is to 'come racing'!
Look out on our 'For Sale' page as we will have a couple of interesting pups on there in a day or two which will be specifically for Towcester but could make up into open class, they will be sensibly priced.
On Thursday a trip to Hove saw a kennel 1-2 in the heats of a minor sprint competition with Scolari Sound having his second run back from a minor injury beating Brynoffa Jasmin by 1 1/4 lengths in 16.34 (-10) with Macs On Storm second in a 475m race.
On Friday at Romford on a rain soaked track Garryglass Dash took a Winner of One 400m by 1 3/4 lengths in 24.55, Toker Creek was second in the heats of the Maiden Stayers. A rare defeat for Roswell Romanov when second but great to see Swift Dartmoor back from injury and winning over 400m in a good 24.20 with Cotton Pants running well when touched off in a fast 23.93.
All the Derby heats were covered above and our usual trip to Henlow on Sunday brought a couple of winners with Chubbys Oak back over 428m scoring well in a fast 25.59. Ferryforth Fran ground out a win over 692m in 42.97 to keep our record of a open race winner a day in 2017. Clondoty Alex was beaten at 1/3 on after a great battle with King Elvis and Saffrons Tina just missed out over 692m.
Just a handful of runners on Tuesday with Swift Dartmoor returning from injury to land a 1-2 in the D2 beating Nimrod Son by a length in 15.43.
Jazz Jade and Ribble Ghost came closest of our Saturday morning runners when both second in A8's while at night Ribble Atom bounced back from a few defeats with a facile 8 length success in an S2 in a very fast 41.21.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN - SWIFT DARTMOOR
GRADED - RIBBLE ATOM
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Scolari Sound and Brynoffa Jasmin return to Hove for the Sprint final on Thursday and we will have our usual trips to Romford on Friday and Henlow on Sunday but obviously the main centre of attention will be the Derby second round on Friday and Saturday at Towcester.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A sensational start to our Derby punting with our ante post bet Bruisers Bullet safely through to the second round and both our tips for the heats winning. Now here's the bad news I'm struggling to see a bet in the second round as all our seven entries have tough heats to overcome. For a bet this week I make Scolari Sound a nap to win the Sprint final on Thursday at Hove from a plot draw in trap 1
SCOLARI SOUND - 5 pts win - Hove - Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRUISERS BULLET - 2.5 pts e.w ante post 40/1 - Star Sports Greyhound Derby - Towcester - second round Fri/Sat
RUBYS RASCAL - 3 pts win - Towcester (heat 4) - Thursday - WON 6/4
MINGLERS TOURE - 2 pts win - Towcester (heat 9) - Thursday- WON 5/2