AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

JULIE COLLIER BLOG #GreyhoundDerby2020

🐶 We are just one day away from the biggest race of the year, the Star Sports Greyhound Derby Final. Without doubt, it’s been different! The lack of a crowd at the track is strange at the best of times but through the Derby it’s been particularly missed and without a Derby roar tomorrow, it’s going to feel very odd. But the race itself, in my opinion, is just as high quality as any other year, in some ways, it’s even better because I think it’s far more open than the betting suggests. The draw worked out well for everyone and there really wouldn’t be a surprise winner. I hope you will all be roaring either in the restaurant at the track or in front of your TV screens as the hare is on its way, my heart will be racing the same as always…

🐶 I’ve been on my travels this week visiting Nicky Holland’s Star Sports Derby finalists in Melton Mowbray at the kennels of Dave Firmager and also Noel Hehir and his Coolavanny Chick at Carl Perry’s place near Skegness. Both Ireland-based trainers are missing their families. With travel restrictions as they are, it’s been a tough campaign on human and dog! Chick was a lovely friendly girl, very typical of a bitch; playful, a bit of a princess and she only had eyes for Noel. And he for her too! What a journey it’s been for one man and his little girl. It was a late decision for him to come for the English Derby but obviously he is very glad he did. He’s extremely happy with Chick going into the final. I asked him, ‘can a bitch win the Derby?’ Noel answered with huge confidence, ‘of course’.

🐶 Wolfe and Ballydoyle Valor were similar looking dogs in that they were both gleaming black and a similar size and build, but personality wise they were quite different. Valor was a confident, waggy boy who looks like he is loving all the attention. ‘Woolly Wolfe’ as Nicky calls him, was anything but Wolfe like! He was a little more timid with that air of ‘I know I am good’ about him. All credit to Nicky who has them in great shape. She is feeling quite emotional because she misses her family so much and it was her 17-year old daughter, Rachel’s birthday on Wednesday. It’s been worth it though, getting two through to the final. Wolfe has accrued his own little fan club over here…and you can definitely see the headlines if he were to oblige on Halloween. In light of that, Star Sports are offering any new customers a £50 free match bet if Wolfe wins the final. Head to to open an account.

🐶 It was really nice to get feedback from the trainers this week that despite the rules and restrictions, they’ve really enjoyed the Star Sports Derby and are very happy with the way it’s been handled by Nottingham and promoted by the industry, including Star Sports and RPGTV. Sadly, the famous Derby lunch had to be cancelled, but all the owners were sent a lovely hamper this week from Star Sports. On the night, they’re also going to receive a handmade cushion for each dog and there will be personalised standing greyhound ornaments of the finalists up for auction in aid of the local homing charity. At RPGTV we will be doing what we can to make sure the Derby feels every bit as special as it should and make sure you are across the Star Twitter feed for extra bits and bobs as well.

🐶 I’ve been having a bit of banter with Ian Fortune over how many Irish trained dogs are in this year’s final, what with Graham and Nicky Holland being English and Nicky and the dogs currently residing in England! I’m not sure I am getting away with it… At least as far as the betting is concerned, the Holland dogs are Irish along with Deerjet Sydney and Coolavanny Chick. Southwood Jet and Smurfs Machine are English both trained at Hove. So Star Sports are offering what I think is an interesting and great value bet! If you think an English dog can win, you can take 6/4. For an Irish winner, it’s 1/2. I actually like the look of that 6/4! I had to tip Southwood Jet – I love the dog and he has done noting wrong over the last month. But Smurfs Machine would be a great back-up bet for me, being ideally drawn and so highly thought of by Seamus Cahill. Other markets include 10/1 for the two brothers Deerjet Sydney and Smurfs Machine to finish 1st and 2nd in any order and the same bet for the two Holland runners is 16/1. There is also a market for which dog will finish last. You can find the bets under the Derby Final prices on the website.

🐶 Star Sports owner, Ben Keith, is gutted that the Derby has had so many restrictions this year. Personally, I’m not sure how much commercial benefit there is to anyone of sponsoring a greyhound race these days but for Ben, he gets value for money because he gets to stroke every Derby race winner, something he has missed this year. Ben said, ‘my thanks go to Nathan Corden at Nottingham for keeping the show on the road and being so helpful throughout the planning and organising of the 2020 Star Sports Greyhound Derby. I think it’s a quality final and any of the dogs can win it. I’ve really missed meeting them but hopefully they will all be back for a crack at the 2021 renewal and life will be back to somewhere near normal by then.’ Ben Keith will be appearing as a guest on RPGTV which goes on air at 6pm this evening.

🐶 It’s been a good Derby for Star Sports in terms of the book! When Glengar Bale just got up in the second round, he caused the biggest loss of the competition so far. Ante post wise, things look good! Wolfe is the only loser (and far from a disaster) after he was laid for decent money back in April. Southwood Jet and Deerjet Sydney would be very good winners.

🐶 There are some really enthusiastic owners amongst the finalists this year, none more so than Smurfs Machine connections who have put together their own video called ‘Our baby, Smurfs Machine,’ which starts with some lovely photos of Smurf as a pup. It’s part of our Meet The Finalists series on this site:

🐶 Jeremy Hayes who owns Southwood Jet has also been making me smile. His nerves have definitely got the better of him but he is absolutely loving ‘living the dream’ and is so proud of his dog. All the owners have been very helpful, despite the circumstances and I wish them all the best of luck in the final.

🐶 In fact, I wish everyone the best of luck, be it breeders watching at home, owners at home or in the restaurant, trainers on parade and in the paddock and those of you who have got your money on and are cheering one home. My hope is that all six dogs come off safe and sound and we get a clean run race. Wherever you’re watching the race and whatever you’re doing, enjoy it…and don’t forget to roar…x



For the latest prices on the Star Sports #GreyhoundDerby2020 check out: