STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY: In her 10th weekly countdown blog to the big race, Julie Collier has news on the Holland Four trialled, Turbo question mark, Nottingham big night plans, Nidge nudge, speedy Panther, Roman Empire ….
➡️ Graham Holland has confirmed to me that he will be travelling back and forth to Ireland between rounds of the Star Sports Derby. The new format of one run a week makes travelling a more viable option for the Irish entries. Holland, who is still finalising his team, trialled four dogs round the Colwick Park track on Tuesday where the going was given as +40. The kennel certainly put down a marker with Clonbrien Prince the fastest at 29.56 – whoosh!! Clonbrien Swift wasn’t far behind with a 29.82, a dog I flagged up in this column two weeks ago as a big runner. Off the back of that trial his price has been halved! Also, Lenson Blinder clocked 29.92 and Clona Blaze 29.99. No wonder Nicky and Sheena had such big smiles on their faces! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ King Turbo is another potential Star Sports Derby contender who falls into the ‘will he, won’t he’ category, despite being very near the top of the betting. His win in a trial stakes race at Nottingham last Monday has left training duo Liz and Rab McNair and head owner Brendan Keogh unconvinced the dog is suited to Nottingham. The decision has been made to take Turbo to Shawfield for a tilt at the RPGTV Scottish Derby. Watch this space for a decision on Nottingham. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Nottingham have substantial plans for the stadium come Star Sports Derby Final night! There will be a Paddock Marquee near the entrance, where the Greyhound Trust usually have a stand as well as a Star Sports corner where the vans usually park at the second bend. The track have also confirmed that nobody under 16 will be allowed in the paddock area. This is standard practice for UK tracks but it is very different in Ireland where young children are allowed to be hands on with the dogs when racing. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Roxholme Nidge is running in the Bresmed Northern Sprint at Sheffield as part of his preparation for the Star Sports Derby. After clocking a flying 15.76 sprint trial, he won heat 2 of the first round in 15.82, showing impressive pace and power to beat Sleepy Genie. Entering a sprint competition might be slightly unusual preparation for a Derby but the dog has had his share of injury problems, so a sprint competition to keep him fresh might be just the ticket for Nidge. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ There was an exciting trial session at Nottingham on Saturday night as well which saw the first of Irish trainer, Paul Hennessy’s dog’s having a look round. Fastest, clocking 29.76 on going that was given as +40 over the 500m was Panther who beat Jaytee Taylor by 2 lengths. Not far behind was Jaytee Jerry who stopped the clock at 29.84. A worthwhile trip indeed! Also impressive in a solo trial was youngster Distant Sailor who clocked 29.95. Trained by Patrick Jannsens, he would be a very young dog to line up in a Derby being an August 2017, but the son of Ballymac Eske looks to have the speed… LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Kevin Boon is quietly assembling a nice team for the Star Sports Derby and two of his dogs have also trialled very nicely. Over the 500m, Swan Style recorded 29.72 and Knockard Spring who is a veteran now, clocked 29.78. Meanwhile, Roman Empire improved a bundle from his first look clocking 29.79. Surely for this pup, ‘will he, won’t he’ is becoming ‘he will’! Indeed, connections have now said they’re now 99% sure he will! A trial stakes race will be next for the dog affectionately known as Caesar. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
Lightfoot King has been an unlucky dog when it comes to big finals. Now, as a December 2015 dog, he is as good as ever, lightly raced and has plenty of ability as we head towards to first round of the Star Sports Greyhound Derby. Sean sees him as his best chance as things stand.
Ballymac Dingle falls into the ‘could be anything category.’ He didn’t have an ideal start to his racing career but, now in the hands of Sean, he is being given every chance to prove his ability. He’s still finding his feet in his races but will be on the van for Nottingham and his natural progression could see him become a contender.
ANHID CHARMER, BALLYMAC DEVON, CUORE DE FERRO
Sean has 3 more dogs arriving at his kennel from Ireland in the coming days thanks to some big spending owners who have put their faith in him. All 3 are very exciting prospects. Sean tells us what he knows about them and also what it means to him to be heading to the Star Sports Derby with a team that gives him a chance of going far.
Droopys Nadal is a dog that has taken plenty of time to come to hand. Now, at just 2 years old, he’s an exciting dog for the Harrison/Wright kennel. Jimmy tells us why he thinks the dog will thrive at Nottingham.
Droopys Trapper racked up many top class wins as a puppy and broke the Sunderland track record to boot. At two and a half years old, Jimmy is hoping he can now carry that form into the Star Sports Derby and tells us why preparation is key with this dog.
After winning the 2017 All England Cup, Droopys Expert suffered an injury that ultimately meant we didn’t see the best of him in last years Star Sports Derby. He’s going to be 4 years old in October but he’s back in-form and, perhaps surprisingly, Jimmy believes he could be the best of the bunch.
The 2018 Star Sports Derby runner-up is one cool customer. A seriously Pacey dog who was extremely young to be lining up as a Derby contender, let alone finalist, last year as he only turned 2 during the Derby. He’ll have another crack at the title this year as a 3 year old and Jimmy explains why this dog will improve as the months go on.
ALISON KELLY PILGRIM
Alison Kelly Pilgrim trains greyhounds for Ray Dean and Paul Surridge who have owned many good dogs before. Now, in a bid to win the Star Sports Greyhound Derby, Kelly tells us how her owners have invested in a nice team for her to take to Nottingham.
June Harvey’s son and assistant trainer Matt Redman tells us about Ower Boy Bullet and assesses his chances for the Star Sports Greyhound Derby. Matt absolutely loves this dog and rates him extremely highly. He’s had his share of problems but now looks to be back on track.
Craig Morris, assistant trainer to Hayley Keightley with his early views on the big race.
RICHARD HARKNESS PREVIEW
With just over 3 months to go before the Star Sports Greyhound Derby gets underway, RPGTV pundit and former Derby-winning part-owner Richard Harkness gives his early thoughts on the contenders this year and tells us who he will be backing anti-post.
Nic Jeal has enjoyed much success in his relatively short time as a greyhound owner. Now he has new purchase Antigua Romeo aiming to be a real contender in this years Star Sports Greyhound Derby. Here, his trainer Matt Dartnall tells us more about this May 2017 son of Romeo Recruit and why he is expecting a lot of improvement over the coming months.
Rising Brandy was nothing short of stunning in the 2018 Star Sports Greyhound Derby. But after winning his quarter final, connections were devastated to find the dog was lame at the pick-up with a shoulder injury that kept him off the track for six months. His trainer Matt Dartnall tells us how he is now on the road to recovery and how realistic a chance he is for the 2019 Derby.