STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY: In her 12th weekly countdown blog to the big race, Julie Collier has news on Droopys Verve and Droopys Nadal, Antigua Romeo, Harnden’s hopes, Star Sports preview last call, Holland hits form, Ballymac Tas misses race, mixed week for trainer Hayley Keightley, defending champ Cat delights in trial ….
➡️ Droopys Verve and Droopys Nadal were two dogs we featured here at Star Sports on a kennel visit to Jimmy Wrights a few weeks ago. Those who have followed them are hopefully showing a nice profit as both dogs have made it to Saturday night’s Scottish Derby final at Shawfield. Both won their semi-final races, Verve going 20 spots faster than Nadal. But Verve has drawn trap 5 in the final which is far from ideal whereas Nadal has 6, the only seeded runner in the race. It looks like Nadal is settling down at just the right time…. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Antigua Romeo (pictured), now in the hands of Champion Trainer Mark Wallis, is starting to come to hand nicely. He’s a dog we first saw with Matt Dartnall when he was newly over from Ireland and it’s fair to say he needed a bit of work to get him looking like a Derby dog. Mark is seriously impressed with the dogs early and there is still more to come. I’ve added this dog to my antepost portfolio alongside Droopys Nadal. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ I’ve been getting the thoughts of Nottingham trainer Peter Harnden about what he considers to be a good or great trial time at Nottingham. He believes the Derby will be won in around 29.20/29.30. A good 500m trial at this stage would, in his opinion, be 29.70 – which plenty of dogs are achieving! Peter has been most impressed so far by Jaytee Panther who he says ‘showed real back straight pace after not running the first or second bend very well.’ He could be one who finds time for another look round the track. For his part, Peter hopes Salacres Barley will be back from injury in time for the competition. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ At the time of going to print there are just 5 tickets left for the Star Sports Preview night on Wednesday May 8th in Mayfair. Beer, fish ‘n’ chips, lots of dog Derby chat and a Champions League semi-final to boot! If you want a ticket you better move faster than a Derby dog! #ifCarlsbergdidnightsout email Office@starsportsmayfair.com LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Graham Holland reminded everyone of his potential prowess in this year’s renewal of the Star Sports Derby when he sent out two Derby Trial Stakes winners on Monday night. Gain Nutrition 600 winner Clonbrien Prince led by turn one and clocked 29.61 and perhaps more impressively Clombrien Swift picked up Droopys Trapper on the run in stopping the clock at 29.66. On the same night Roman Empire won a decent puppy race after trouble in running, showing that the youngster is getting to grips with the Derby track. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ One Irish runner that is not going to be taking her place in the Star Sports Derby is Ballymac Tas. Liam Dowling has decided to target the Irish Oaks with his flying young bitch instead. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ It’s been a mixed week for trainer Hayley Keightley as she gears up to enter what will be her biggest ever team for the Star Sports Derby. On Sunday night, her super fast bitch Oi Oi Upenalty won her semi-final of the Henlow Maiden Derby in impressive fashion coming from off the pace. The kennel have since reported that she suffered an injury to her foot but one that they are on top of. She massively impressed us all when exiting last year’s Derby at the semi-final stage and Assistant Trainer Mark Keightley believes she is still as fast as anything in the country. He also says the kennel have real contenders this year, including Roxholme Nidge, Roxholme Ray, Roxholme Glory, Roxholme Harvey, Oi Oi Upenalty and Dorotas Woo Hoo. That said, we await with baited breath news that Nidge is ‘A-ok’ after he took a nasty tumble in the Bredmed Northern Sprint Final. It was unusual preparation for the Derby but looked to be a great decision as the little dog with a big heart lined up as the favourite for the category one final at the track he loves so much, Sheffield. However, it was a case of close your eyes at the first bend as all 6 dogs approached in a line, something had to give and Nidge was taken of his feet, his back legs up in the air and he was left in the floor. He finished the course and was reported to be stiff with a few cuts and bruises but otherwise alright. Of course we will know more over the coming days. I really love this dog and hope he can still take his place at Nottingham. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Defending Star Sports Derby champion Dorotas Wildcat once again delighted trainer Kevin Hutton with a 28.38 (+20) 480m trial on Tuesday. The Cat turned 4 on Wednesday but the veteran looked in fine form in what was his first four bend spin since he was treated for a bacterial infection back in March. Hutton was responsible for the fastest trials over all three distances used on the day with Irish Derby runner-up Magical Bale posting 17.74 (+10) over 305m in what was his first appearance since rejoining the kennel. And Ballymac Osby ran 29.69 sec (+20) over 500m. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
Brinkleys Poet burst onto the scene last spring winning the Gymcrack at Kinsley. An exceptionally fast dog that has been plagued by an injury that threatened to end his career. But now he is back racing, Mark gives us his assessment of the dog’s current form.
Romeo is the dog with the BIG character and a tail that wags so much he has injured it many times! To the eye, he is starting to look like the real deal and as Mark explains, he is expecting plenty more over the coming weeks.
Known as Merlin in the kennel, this dog came over from Ireland with a big reputation. He turned 2 in April and has had very little racing so is one we can expect to see improving as the competition progresses.
ANTIGUA SANDS and ANTIGUA VOW
These two girls have big futures ahead of them and although Mark thinks it’s a big ask for a bitch to win a Derby, this pair could be in the reckoning for bitch to go the furthest in the competition.
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.