STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY: In her 11th weekly countdown blog to the big race, Julie Collier has news on Nottingham’s Seeding Review Panel, Janssens team building, Star Sports Mayfair Preview Night, congrats to Kevin Hutton and Donna Witchells, Toolmaker possible, plenty of stakes for Holdem Zidane, Martinstown Hope ….
➡️ All credit to Nottingham, they are certainly being thorough when it comes to ensuring this year’s Star Sports Derby is as fair and safe as possible. This week, they announced they have put together a Seeding Review Panel to review the seedings of all valid entries. The three men in charge are the Nottingham Racing Manager’s Peter Robinson and Jason Smith who will be joined by the recipient of last years ‘Service To Industry’ award, Peter O’Dowd. Nottingham promoter Rachel Corden says ‘The panel, with its combined racing office experience of well over 100 years, will review form and video footage and consider whether any seeding amendments are necessary, prior to the start of the competition and up to and including the third round.’ Greyhound racing is all about opinions and whilst I’m sure there will still be disagreements, it’s fair to say Nottingham couldn’t be doing more to ensure a fair competition. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Breaking news today that Droopys Biker and Tullig Footpad have left Irish trainer Pat Buckley’s kennel and have joined Patrick Janssens to challenge for the Star Sports Derby. These two are both very well respected dogs going into the Derby, as the betting suggests. Patrick Janssens says he is delighted with his team this year, and no wonder. He is flying high in the Trainers Championship and has several, very live chances in the Derby. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Star Sports have announced they will be hosting the first ever ‘Cheltenham Festival Style’ preview evening for this year’s Star Sports Greyhound Derby. The event will be held at the Star Sports shop in Mayfair on Wednesday May 8th and will include drinks and a fish and chip supper. I will be hosting the event alongside Dave Clark from the Racing Post and trainer Matt Dartnall. Tickets are free but limited. Should you wish to attend, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ It’s been a good week for trainer Kevin Hutton and his assistant and partner Donna Witchells. Their Derby Champion Dorotas Wildcat appears to have the defence of his title under control as he demonstrated when clocking 17.51 seconds in a 305m look round Nottingham on Monday. Indeed Hutton later tweeted the photo below, on behalf of The Cat ‘Don’t worry people. I got this Derby defence all in hand.’ Oh how we hope so! And the signs are good. Behind Wildcat in the trial was an exciting new Hutton arrival, Druids Busy Man who clocked 17.67. He is definitely a dog whose progress should be monitored. Ballymac Osby also continued his preparation with a 29.79 over 500m beating another new arrival, Kingsbrook Glyn (30.03). Off the track, Kevin popped the question to Donna whilst the couple were in Ireland over the weekend and…SHE SAID YES!! A lovely couple, a training force to be reckoned with and on behalf of everyone at Star Sports, CONGRATULATIONS! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ As I discussed in a previous blog, the Kirby Memorial at Limerick has thrown up many youngsters who have gone on to do very well in our Derby immediately after. Toolmaker Josie won the 2019 renewal on Saturday night in impressive fashion being the youngest winner on the card and clocking the fastest time of the eight 525’s on the card. We await news on whether trainer Robert Gleeson will venture to these shores with him – rumour has it the owner is keen, the trainer isn’t so sure – yet! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Holdem Zidane bounced back to form in a Derby Trial Stakes race at Nottingham on Monday. After a month off the track he clocked a swift 29.52 when winning his race at 7/1, beating Newinn Missile by three and a half lengths. Star Sports have since seen plenty of money come for the dog trained by Carol Weatherall. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Martinstown Band has been on our radar as an exciting Derby contender for a while now and this week, his trainer Chris Akers took his brother Martinstown Hope into his kennel. We await his first trial to see if he is as fast as his brother but the kennel are certainly hoping so! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
Here David tells us why he thinks Noelles Phelpso has the attributes that will be required for the Greyhound Derby at Nottingham. Plus why he is very happy with where the dog is at with just four weeks to go.
Piemans Bullet has taken on and beaten the best in his career, including last years Star Sports Derby Champion Dorotas Wildcat. Now a veteran, and highly rated as a hurdler, he was most recently seen hurdling in the heats of the Grand National! But now, all roads lead to Nottingham.
This is a dog that could be anything. He has literally only had one race for David, a flying 24.14 qualifying trial around Romford. David doesn’t have much time to get him ready for the Derby but there is no doubt the dog can run!
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.