STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY: In her 13th weekly countdown blog to the big race, Julie Collier has a a bumper blog with the first round now just 16 days away…
➡️ It’s been an eventful week at Hayley Keightley’s kennel. Not only is she nursing a battered and bruised Roxholme Nidge after his tumble in the Bresmed Northern Sprint, but Oi Oi Penalty is now only 50/50 to make the Star Sports Derby as well. Mark Keightley gave this bitch a glowing report last week, though did admit they were nursing a little foot injury. Disaster struck when she cut open another foot at Henlow on Sunday and it’s now touch and go if she will race in the Derby at all. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope she makes it into the Keightley’s sizeable Derby team. Talking of Keightley dogs, keep an eye on Roxholme Jim as a dark horse – he clocked 28.51sec in his 500m trial on Tuesday. Roxholme Glory is also a runner. He’s a 28.05sec Shelbourne dog and won a trial stakes race on Monday night. Confusingly, the race comments afterwards read ‘deliberate interference third’ but the matter was quickly cleared up and confirmed to be an admin error. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ It’s been a week of celebrations for Irish trainer Pat Buckley after he won the RPGTV Scottish Derby on Saturday night at Shawfield. Buckley is a man who knows how to get dogs out when it counts and he fancied his Braveheart Bobby at a big price ahead of the final. The money came and the stunning fawn and white boy duly obliged, breaking well and repelling all challenges, returning the 3/1 winner. Buckley thinks Nottingham, being a big galloping track like Shelbourne Park, will suit this dog down to the ground. Could he be the one to finally get Pat that illusive English Derby win which would mean he’d join Nick Savva and Paul Hennessey, who are currently the only trainers to have won the Irish, Scottish and English Derby’s. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ On a trip around Ireland this week I was lucky enough to meet the Star Sports Derby teams of Peter Cronin, Paul Hennessey and Pat Buckley. You can’t fail to be impressed by all of their dogs and there is no doubt the Irish are coming…and there is also no doubt in any of their minds that an Irish dog is going to be taking the English Derby trophy back across the water via boat come June 29th. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Kevin Hutton’s kennel is a tale of two fortunes right now. Sadly, his very promising youngster Druids Busy Man suffered a broken hock in his race on Monday night. Kevin quite rightly had a moan on twitter about trainers not giving their dogs a look round Nottingham before putting them in a race. The general consensus I am hearing is that trainers love Nottingham as a Derby track but it does have it’s quirks and can take dogs a look or two to master the first and second bends. Busy Man was reported to be heading to vet Daniel Docherty today – he is in good hands. Thankfully, the dog you can always count on to put a smile back on your face did just that AGAIN for Kevin and his team. Last years Star Sports Derby champion Dorotas Wildcat is proving time and time again what a star he is when clocking the fastest time in Monday’s trial session over 500m 29.22. In fact, that’s the fastest time around Nottingham so far of all the dogs looking to head to the Derby. Magical Bale went very well too with a 28.29 over 480m. The Irish may be bullish about their chances of winning the English Derby but I bet they wish they had this pair in their team! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Star Sports saw plenty of money for King Lennon this week after his flying 29.30sec trial around Nottingham on Monday over 500m. Rab is absolutely delighted with the home-bred dog that he has always rated highly and says that if he could only take one dog to Nottingham, it would be Lennon. King Turbo also trialled again and wasn’t far behind in 29.48. There is no doubting the dogs ability and despite some question marks around whether or not the track suits him, as things stand, his name will be in the book when the Derby entries close next Monday night. King Sheeran also trialled well (28.35 over 480m) and takes his place in the Derby, an amazing achievement by the kennel considering the Trafalgar Cup winner has had to come back from a broken hock. Finally, Queen Beyoncé went well for the McNairs in a sprint trial on Tuesday. She could be another to consider in the ‘bitch to go furthest’ market. When I put that to Rab, the response was that she could win the whole thing! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Pond Adonis has been quietly progressing nicely under many people’s radar. The Harry Williams dog was third in the Racing Post Juvenile and won Sheffield’s Ryan Holmes Memorial puppy final and has bombed round the Colwick Park circuit in a ‘best of session’ 29.49 on Tuesday. Harry said afterwards that his home-bred youngster is a ‘strong galloping dog and this track plays right to his strengths.’ Harry only keeps five racing dogs these days but the experienced handler is looking forward to a tilt at the Star Sports Derby with a real contender. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Irish Derby finalist Slippy Cian was another to impress in Monday’s trial session clocking 29.45 over 500m. Graham Holland is certainly firing on all cylinders right now as he scored another double in Monday night’s trial stakes races with Nice Charmer and Ballydoyle Valor both winning. Nice Charmer was lucky to miss trouble at the first bend and lead up the rails with fallers in behind. Ballydoyle Valor reeled in longtime leader Brinkley’s Poet up the home straight to record a winning time of 29.56sec. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Star Sports held their first ever Derby preview night at their shop in Mayfair on Wednesday 8 May. In-form tipster Dave Clark joined the panel to give his views on the runners and riders and Matt Dartnall ran attendees through his team and gave his thoughts on the opposition. Star Sports Lofty was on on-hand with special price boosts. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
LENSON WHELAN (name change TULLIG FOOTPAD)
A March 2017 dog who is the first of the two new recruits from Pat Buckley’s kennel. Patrick tells us about the dogs temperament and why he thinks he can get better and better as the competition goes on.
Bockos Rory is a VERY young dog, just August 2017, but he will take his place in the Star Sports Greyhound Derby. Patrick believes he is progressive enough and whilst he may be learning on the job, the ability and potential is there. He’s also a ready-made pet with an unusual tail!
Laid-back by nature, Seaglass Tiger is extremely versatile… and fast! Patrick is hoping his early and middle pace can help him go deep into the Star Sports Derby. He’s already proven in competitions and another youngster that will be improving.
At the moment, this is Patrick’s number one pick for the Star Sports Derby. Here he compares him to other top class dogs in the country and tells us why he is so impressed by the dog he calls ‘the fastest he has trained.’
The dog known as ‘Des’ in the kennel won the Coronation Cup over 575m at Romford. This is a staying type of dog with track craft and a great strike rate who Patrick thinks could keep qualifying.
The second dog of a recent intake from Pat Buckley. He went out of the Star Sports Derby in the third round last year – can he go further this year? Patrick gives his early assessment of Biker and tells us how he is settling in.
A super-friendly dog as you can see! Known as ‘Dave’, Goldies Ginola is still only an April 2017 but may well be part of Patrick’s team depending how he trials. Patrick also tells us what it would mean to him to win the Star Sports Derby.
This April 2017 dog has only had 7 career starts but has won 4 of them. Peter tells us why he expects this dog to improve through the Star Sports Derby. Only time will tell how far he can go.
Jazz Beat is a well bred son of Zero Ten and Volcano. He has had his share of injury problems which means he is lightly raced but he’s now fit, well and raring to go to Nottingham.
DA HEAD HUNTER
Da Head Hunter has a different sort of profile to many of Peter’s others dog in that he is a second season dog. He ran in last years Star Sports Derby at Towcester, winning in the first round before a second round exit. Now at three and a half years of age, he is still lightly raced and will take his place in his second English Derby.
A March 2017 dog who has only had 6 races – and won half of them. Now on the comeback from injury, Peter tells us why he thinks this is a dog that will keep improving and also why detecting and fixing niggles is so important to him.
Crossfield Con is clearly a dog that Peter likes a lot and it’s easy to see why. The dog has never been out of the first two in his 6 races so far. His seventh race will be in the first round of the Star Sports Derby at Nottingham where Peter tells us why he could be a dark horse for the competition.
Badminton Jet was trained by Matt Dartnall during the Puppy Derby at Monmore where he picked up an injury. He was sent to Peter to race in the Con Kirby at Limerick but injury stopped him being entered. He’s raring to go now though and Peter says, totally unexposed.
A 28.20 dog at Shelbourne and a brother to Crossfield Con. A big brindle boy who can definitely run.
This is the only wide runner of Peter’s team so one who is likely to get decent draws in the Star Sports Derby. We do know he has great early, time will tell if he gets the trip.
IRELAND v ENGLAND
So does Peter think this years Star Sports Derby champion will be Irish or English trained? Maybe no surprises in his answer here but it is certainly given with conviction! Peter gives his thoughts on Nottingham as a Derby venue and why he loves the English Derby so much.
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.