2nd June 2021
It’s that magical time again when the Greyhound Derby starts this Thursday and all connections of the 180 odd entries can begin that dream of lifting the trophy (& £175,000) on the 10th of July. After two years at Nottingham, who did a fabulous job, our blue riband event comes back to Towcester. The sponsors Star Sports and TRC Events & Leisure as well as promoter Kevin Boothby have really got behind this year's 500m showpiece despite the difficult times we all live in and that’s something our industry has to be thankful for, the Irish are over in force and totally dominate the ante post books and we ourselves are looking for that incredible third victory since Kinda Ready (2009) and Blonde Snapper (2012). This year we have eight entries which are a mixture of established stars and unexposed talent, it will take a huge effort from ours to win but we have to be in it to win it, here’s a look at our chances in heat order.
Heat 1 - FATBOYZ EXILE - 200/1
A recent purchase for the Fatboyz - TNT syndicate I’ve no doubt he is going to be a very good dog for the future but this Derby may have come too soon for this April 19 whelp. He has a nice 28.72 at Cork and possesses good all round speed, the big dangers to him are Graham Holland’s Romeo Magico and Gymstar Elusive who both have pace to burn. Trap 4 shouldn’t be a problem and if we could sneak him through he could be a massive improver.
Heat 2 - DRUMCROW BRENT - 125/1
A lovely consistent sort for Michelle Connolly who has an excellent record at Towcester and is a wide seed who will be guaranteed to be well drawn if he can go deep in the event. Just missed out on a place in last year's Derby he has since improved significantly with open race wins at Nottingham, Hove and Romford over 575m as well as 4 of his last 6 at Towcester. Good all round pace and still fairly lightly raced there is certainly plenty of value in his 125/1 quotes and this heat looks there for the taking so he could be considerably shorter if he does win well.
Heat 4 - BALLYMAC GAYBO - 80/1
A Juvenile Classic finalist last year Gaybo has come over for the Derby for The Craic Only Syndicate but hasn’t raced since last November and we have faced a race against time to get him fit and the hare breaking down in his final qualifying trial last week didn’t help meaning he had to come back a couple of days later which wasn’t ideal. Still we can see plenty of improvement to come and he has mega early pace. From trap 3 he will have to step lively to avoid Liam Dowling’s Great Name That who will be well fancied to win this heat and will be edging left on the run up. He certainly has the class to be a player but we will need a decent bit of luck to start with.
Heat 8 - COOLAVANNY KYSER - 66/1
No doubt Kyser leads our Derby team having been mega consistent all year making three Category 1 finals including being runner up to Killara Lion in the Blue Riband over course and distance back in February for owners Eammon Johnston, Steve Oliver and Pete Curtis. He’s in cracking form winning his last three at Monmore against real Derby types and this heat looks a likely match against Paul Hennessy’s likeable Priceless Jet who clocked a sensational 29.11 in a trial stake last time. Kyser’s cracking early pace has seen interest in the best sectional markets and the only possible weakness is maybe in the stamina department as this is a stiff 500m, I’ve no doubt if the Derby was still at Wimbledon he would be challenging for favouritism but I still think we have a genuine chance of outright glory.
Heat 16 - IVY HILL SKYHIGH - 100/1
In my opinion the most improved dog in our kennel this year for the same connections as Coolavanny Kyser and has a fantastic 6 wins from 8 races record at Towcester as well as open race wins at Hove, Monmore, Romford, Central Park and recently Perry Barr where he was an unlucky runner up in the Laurels final. He has been kept to four bends recently despite a good record over further and is one of those dogs that can do it from both ends. It looks a very winnable heat and his odds could shorten considerably if he hits the front early as he could power away and do a good time, we have a nice team this year but in my honest opinion Ivy Hill Skyhigh is our best chance of landing the classic and 100/1 is terrific value.
Heat 21 - HOPES BULLET - 250/1
Probably a dog that has disappointed on more than one occasion since being runner up in last year's Derby Plate at Nottingham but no denying there is talent in that engine somewhere and recently he has been snapped up by the Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club to give members a Derby runner and has drawn a heat which has plenty of early pace to it but certainly one that is well within his scope to qualify and trap 2 looks ideal and a superb 15.79 sprint warm up was a good preparation. There certainly are worse 250/1 shots in this year's event especially as Towcester looks his ideal track and he has broken 29.50 recently.
Heat 22 - BLACK EYED MOLLY - 150/1
A lightly raced bitch who has talent aplenty and is well suited to Towcester for the Last Dance Syndicate. 4 wins and 4 seconds from 14 races means there is scope for improvement and certainly drawn a favourable heat and could go off favourite, Sheffield raider Ballydoyle Razor looks the main danger. These days she’s looking more of a staying prospect but possesses good all round pace and well worth an interest in the bitches markets to go furthest. Owners will be in full voice if she gets it all right on the night!
Heat 25 - ZACHS TORNADO - 200/1
Lastly but not least Zachs Tornado comes into the event as our least exposed entry. Having burst on to the scene with facile wins at Henlow on debut in an A4 only last month winning in a fine 27.64 she then put A2 rivals to the sword in a 27.59. Probably still not a realistic Derby entry she was beaten on open race debut at Monmore but then took a very competitive Derby Trial Stake in an excellent 29.62 to justify owner Will Lazar’s desire to have a Derby runner. She faces a tough heat with the likes of Cold As Ice and Jaguar Macie to beat but who knows what improvement she could make and of course she is bred out of our former Towcester Derby finalist Bruisers Bullet.
So there we have our review of the heats and our prospects and overall I’m more than happy with our heats and draws. We have plenty that can come forward if they qualify and I will recommend some bets in our section below. The very best of luck to all connections and we all are keeping our fingers crossed that it’s a great event for Towcester and the industry.
Of course it’s not just about the Derby and we have plenty of other action going on and last Saturday we saw Bo Shine Bullet finish a gallant runner up to the impressive Blue Tick George in the Category 1 George Ing St Leger at Yarmouth. Certainly there was no complaints, Blue Tick George produced another sensational break (16.19 sectional) and went clear and our Bo Shine Bullet turned menacingly in pursuit but despite her best efforts she just couldn’t catch Jim Daly’s brilliant stayer and was just under 2 lengths down at the finish in another excellent 40.31. It was a great atmosphere in a good night's racing at Yarmouth with limited crowds back and bookmakers in attendance. I would really love to see a couple more Category 1 events at the track as once you have had a look or two around it’s a fantastic track and stadium which knows how to do a big occasion.
Bo Shine Bullet will head to Crayford next for the Kent St Leger starting a week Saturday along with Fatboyz Trixie who won well over track and trip and maybe a couple more while we will also support the Guys & Dolls. We have plenty of action at Romford on Friday including a couple of minor finals so it’s all systems go at the moment.
Later this month by popular demand we will be returning with our popular 5 to Follow competition which we skipped last year because of the Pandemic, we will start to get full details up in the next couple of weeks.
A busy Friday at Romford with Aayamza Baron running really well to win his heat of the Friday Night Maiden Stayers in a nice 35.64 and Aayamza Storm also qualifying for the final when runner up in her heat. Playbook was second in her heat of the bitches comp and Antigua Socks made an excellent Romford debut when winning a good Maiden in 24.17.
On Saturday as said Bo Shine Bullet was runner up in the George Ing St Leger at Yarmouth while at Crayford Fatboyz Trixie won well in a Kent St Leger trial stake in 45.76.
HENLOW & TOWCESTER REVIEW
Three runner ups on Monday at Henlow including Bobs Boy in his 100th and final race. On Thursday the Henlow meeting was switched to Towcester but we were out of luck with just a few runners.
On Saturday at Henlow youngster Energize Eclipse scorched to a near 14 length win in an A7 in a fine 28.32. Another youngster Lotties Wish made it 3 wins from 6 races when taking an A4 in a good 28.11 and she looks a promising November 19 whelp. To complete a good day another pup Sweet Pear took the A1 in 27.89.
On Sunday an excellent night with 3 winners from 5 runners which was good as I was a guest on RPGTV! Ice Cool Ellis battled to a good victory in an A6 in 28.46, Trumpers Gino made an eye catching debut winning an A3 in a good 27.86 and Drumcrow Bruce showed his liking for Henlow beating kennel mate Saffrons Smash by 4 lengths in a tough A1 in a very good 27.49.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
OPEN RACING - AAYAMZA BARON
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
There’s not much more to say than this week is Greyhound Derby week and we are all excited waiting for the classic to get under way and we have 8 decent entries spread across the three nights.
Romford also provides an great night's viewing on Friday with a good card including the final of the Maiden Stayers where the Aayamza duo of Baron and Storm do battle while Playbook has a tough task from trap 4 in the bitches final. There also heats of the a Maiden 400m.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Bo Shine Bullets runner up place in the George Ing St Leger at Yarmouth wasn’t a winner but the each way made it more of a push betting wise.
This week we all want to see our Derby bets for our team, yes it’s not easy but I think at the odds available we have some real value. In my humble opinion Ivy Hill Skyhigh represents our best chance of getting one to the final and Mansion Bet are 100/1 but generally he is an 80/1 shot, he has a heat he could win so his odds could shorten after the first round. Coolavanny Kyser is the form dog from Imperial Kennels but I have reservations about his stamina and 66/1 is short enough however 28/1 for him to take the sectional market is more than fair as he is capable of bullet breaks. Overall the value bet from the kennel is the strong and consistent Drumcrow Brent at a massive 125/1 as not only does he have a great record at Towcester he is a wide seed that looks guaranteed to get good draws should he keep qualifying. Both our bitches Black Eyed Molly and Zachs Tornado are capable of progressing from their heats and though they will need luck I’m having a small interest on them to be the bitch that goes furthest, this often throws up a big price winner. Apologies to connections of our other runners as this is purely my idea of what might be our best value bets, everything will be trying it’s hardest.
IVY HILL SKYHIGH - 2 pts each way ante post 80/1 - Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
DRUMCROW BRENT - 1 pt each way ante post 125/1 - Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
COOLAVANNY KYSER - 2 pts each way ante post 28/1 - to win the best sectional market - Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
BLACK EYED MOLLY - 1 pt each way ante post 20/1 - bitch to go the furthest market - Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
ZACHS TORNADO - 1 pt each way ante post 20/1 - bitch to go the furthest market - Greyhound Derby - Towcester - starts Thursday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BO SHINE BULLET - 2 pts each way ante post 9/2 - George Ing St Leger - Yarmouth - 2ND