STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY: In her eighth weekly countdown blog to the big race, Julie Collier has news on Graham Holland’s memorable 1-2 at Shelbourne Park, ‘strongest team yet’ heading over from Ireland, the Band is on the run, Poet – what a story and what’s it all about…. Alfie.
➡️ Graham Holland has been flexing his muscles in Ireland again!! The main event at Shelbourne Park last weekend was the final of the Gain 600 where kennel mates Clonbrien Prince and Lenson Blinder did battle in a top quality field. Early pace proved decisive to the outcome on this occasion with Clonbrien Prince reversing the semi-final form to lead home Blinder in 32.34, recording a memorable 1-2 for Holland. The man of the moment also trains a new kid on the block called Clonbrien Swift, owned by Larry O’Rourke – a trainer/owner duo who are a force to be reckoned with in the greyhound world! The youngster broke the clock at Clonmel last Sunday – 29.59 on -20 track over 550 yards. If it is confirmed he will be in Hollands Star Sports Derby team, expect the price to drop dramatically. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ The Con and Annie Kirby Memorial at Limerick, sponsored by JP McManus and his wife Noreen is one of the richest juvenile greyhound races in the world with a total prize fund of 160,000 Euro. This year’s renewal could again be a pointer for some youngsters that will head to Nottingham for the Star Sports Derby. In previous years, the likes of Droopys Roddick won the Kirby Memorial and went on to finish a close second to Jaytee Jet in the 2016 Derby final. The likes of Crokers Champ, Lenson Rocky and Droopys Acrobat also reached a Derby decider after a cameo in the Kirby. Fastest of the second round at Limerick on Saturday in the 2019 renewal was Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Tas, a May 2017 daughter of Droopys Sydney and Ballymac Razl. Following Saturday’s racing, Irish broadcaster Ian Fortune has reiterated his thoughts again that ‘the Irish are coming and intend to bring our strongest team yet!’ LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Last week I wrote about how Martinstown Band (pictured) is a dog to stay on the right side of after his exploits around Nottingham in recent weeks. It seems like many people were on the same page as the dog is now a massive liability with Star Sports to the tune of £200,000. No surprise then really that he has very quickly gone from being a 66/1 chance to a 25/1 chance! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ Having seen the piece of bone that was removed from Brinkleys Poet’s leg whilst at Matt Dartnall’s kennels just a few weeks ago, I was left far from convinced that the dog would return to racing. Now in the hands of trainer Mark Wallis, Poet had a hand slip trial followed by a sprint trial at Monmore last week clocking 15.31. Amazingly, he is now a 50/1 chance for the Derby – what a story that would be! I’m sure Wallis would be the first to credit the Dartnall team for giving Poet the time and treatment he needed following his serious injury and now Mark will continue their good work. It will be great to have such a good dog back racing. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
➡️ The Phil Simmonds kennel had an amazing year last year achieving their first ever top 6 finish in the Trainers Championship and they are hoping to have a couple of big priced contenders for this years Star Sports Derby. Ridgedale Max, son of Derby Champion Taylors Sky, is a dog who could keep qualifying having won his last two races at Nottingham over 500m. They also have Satin Alfie, a new dog to the kennel who clocked 24.17 in his last qualifying trial at Romford. He could be anything, having only had one race in Ireland and two over here at Sheffield in what was a warm-up for the Trainers Championship. He heads there as a relatively unknown dog. Now could be the time to get on at a big price! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET ODDS
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.