JULIE COLLIER BLOG #GreyhoundDerby2020

🐶 How good were the Star Sports Derby quarter-finals?! It’s such an open competition this year with the four winners separated on the clock by just seven spots or less than a length! Knocknaboul Syd is the current favourite with Star Sports at 3/1, with Pat Buckley’s other runner, Deerjet Sydney next in at 9/2. The clock, says it’s even more open than the betting suggests…

🐶 We still have a good possibility of crowning an unbeaten Star Sports Derby Champion in 2020. The current ante post favourite, Knocknaboul Syd (main pic) is yet to lose a race at Nottingham and leads the way for fastest sectional so far. Richard Rees’s Southwood Jet is also unbeaten. He overcame a worrying trap 5 draw at the weekend, having never been further out than trap 2. For me, that laid down a massive marker for him in the Derby. With a railer-heavy competition, being able to come out of any box could be a big advantage.

🐶 That said, I am feeling a little concerned that at this high level, trap 1’s just don’t break that well at Nottingham. I already had suspicions ,which were heightened when Deerjet Sydney didn’t break as well as he has been from the red at the weekend. This Saturday, I am planning on getting behind that trap 1 and having a look at the ‘dogs eye view’! I’ll put it on Star Sports twitter feed for those who are interested…

🐶 I’m so lucky during the Derby to be able to go and see some of these amazing animals at home, in their kennels for RPGTV. This week I met Smurfs Machine (below) and Troy Firebird, both very different sort of dogs.

🐶 ‘Smurfs’ is a bouncy, confident boy. Seamus is very happy with him and made the point that he is a dog that not only does everything right, but is a very sound dog too, which can be so important at this stage in a competition, as we know. He is 100% happy with him and believes he is coming to hand at just the right time, just like the Cahill’s 2017 champion, Astute Missile did. Only Smurfs, he thinks, is better. We have to remember that dogs of his sort of age (June 2018), missed so much crucial racing because of the lockdown timing, they’re essentially still coming out of puppyhood.

🐶 Troy Firebird (below) is a completely different dog. He came out and was slightly nervous of the camera for a few minutes. Then stood and posed as cool as a cucumber! David says he is great in the kennel and a true pro, but that because of his slight nerves, he really improves at a track the more he goes there and his confidence grows. He has a great draw to work from on Saturday night in potentially the easier of the two semis and has a terrific chance of giving David his second ever Derby finalist.

🐶 Knocknaboul Syd also very much fits into the young, improving dog category. On RPGTV on Wednesday evening, Ian Fortune admitted that of the Irish contenders that came over for the Star Sports Derby, he had Syd coming in at around 11th or 12th. Ian was also confident there will be three and maybe up to five Irish finalists! Gulp. Check out the betting on that market at StarSport.bet.

🐶 For those who played in the ‘bitch to go furthest’ market, we are of course down to two contenders. Coolavanny Chick is a strapping 32kg bitch for Noel Hehir and Churchill Holly is a pretty, dainty little thing, weighing in at 26.6kg, by far the smallest in the Derby. That said, initial bigger prices for her after the semi-final draw were snapped up and she is now 16/1 outright with Star Sports. Like Southwood Jet, Churchill Holly had to content with a far from ideal draw in trap 5 last week and she handled it well, losing little in defeat in a marginally faster run race. She would have gone faster as well had she not been inexplicably, momentarily distracted on the run to the line. It was 1979 that a bitch last won the Derby outright (Sarahs Bunny). Can a bitch do the business this year?

🐶 In the betting at Star Sports this week, Knocknaboul Syd and Smurfs Machine have been popular to win the Derby. That said, they’re still not losers in the book. In fact, the leading contenders in the betting are all very good winners for Star. The biggest losers are Deanridge Rapid and Distant Village, the later a particularly heavy loser the places. Wolfe also costs the firm a bit.

🐶 Sad as it is, thanks to COVID, there will be no Derby lunch this year. Star Sports had originally booked The Ritz again, following the success of last year’s event. Subsequent plans were being put in place to host it at Nottingham but as the city looks likely to head into a tier 3 lockdown, it was decided to cancel the traditional lunch. Instead, connections of the finalists will be sent a gift each and hopefully, we can hear from as many as possible via the wonders of technology.

🐶 Good luck to everyone on Saturday. Nobody wants to go out in the semi-finals. I wish you all the best of luck. Julie x



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