THE GREYHOUND WEEK BLOG: Julie Collier with all the latest news from the world of greyhound racing – including reflections on Lenson Bocko’s Irish Greyhound Derby win and ahead to Romford’s Puppy Cup Final tonight.

➡️ It was the biggest night of the year on Saturday night at Shelbourne Park as the crowds packed into the Dublin venue for the Irish Derby Final and a fantastic supporting card. The final itself didn’t disappoint, with a thrilling finish that needed a photo to determine the winner. Our congratulations go to team Holland and English owners Len Ponder (who’s ambition it has always been to win a Derby), Bev Lockhead and Austin Wheelan, as the favourite, Lenson Bocko got up to make their dreams come true. Bocko was led in the early part of the race, with his trainer Graham Holland admitting he didn’t think the dog would have come from behind. But that he did, as he moved into second down the back straight behind Run Happy, who was staying on well and at that stage, Boylesports King looked to have too much to do. Lenson Bocko dug deep to pass Run Happy but Boylesports King lunged for the line. Eventually it was called that Bocko had won the 140,000 Euro prize by a neck from Boylesports King and Run Happy was another head back in third. The winners time 29.40sec. Lenson Bocko is just an August 2017 dog and looks to have an immense future ahead of him. Incidentally, he is now 25/1 joint ante post favourite with Ballymac Cooper for next years English Derby! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ It was the first time in 11 years that the Irish have managed a clean sweep of all three Derbies after Pat Buckley’s Braveheart Bobby won the Scottish Derby, Priceless Blake won the English Derby for Paul Hennessey and now Lenson Bocko has won the Irish Derby for Graham Holland. There may be plenty of English trainers and owners amongst those three big winners but we need to up our game for 2020! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Other notable wins on the night include Blue East who won the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate final, again for Graham Holland, in 29.39sec. Peter Cronin’s Sophies Man (formerly Badminton Jet who was featured in this blog pre-English Derby) was an easy winner of the Derby Consolation in 29.73sec. Brendan Maunsell’s Redzer Ardfet broke his own track record over the 750 yard trip, by 20 spots, when clocking 40.86sec. Star Sports Derby Finalist Skywalker Logan was in behind in that race. And there was a win for the British!! Horray!! Peter Harnden’s Salcres Punch narrowly missed out on a victory on Star Sports Derby final night, but made up for it with a win on Saturday in the 350 yard contest, this time winning by a head in 18.66sec, much to the delight of connections with Harnden exclaiming it was the ‘best night of his life in dog racing.’ LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Saturday night also saw the heats of the Kent St Leger at Crayford, the race of the night featured Stardom taking on Antigua Fire. Sadly, the TV Trophy winner, Bumblebee Bullet had been withdrawn lame, but Heather Dimmock’s Golden Jacket winner and track record holder managed to wow the crowds. Stardom beat Sheldan by five lengths in 44.73sec, with Antigua Fire back another neck in third. Other winners included Mark Wallis’s Busters Bullet, there was a double for in-form Hayley Keightley thanks to Roxholme Dolly and Roxholme Poppy, Patrick Janssens won a heat with Affleck Bolt and there was local success for Tom Levers with Beechgrove Bell. Favourite as far as the betting is concerned is Roxholme Poppy at 3/1 with Star Sports. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ It feels like every Friday night at Romford is a big competition night! Tonight, the Essex venue will host the Romford Puppy Cup final. And it’s a quality, competitive line-up. Droopys Carat is the 9/4 favourite with Star Sports. He won his semi-final in the fastest time after asserting at the first bend for trainer Angela Harrison and stopping the clock at 23.82sec. Jim Daly’s Blue Tick George, who I flagged up in this blog before the heats, battled on for second. I like the dogs attitude and let’s not forget that this final will be just his fourth ever race and he is comfortably the youngest in the field. Don’t write him off. The bookies haven’t. He is 7/2, fourth in with Star Sports and that’s a price that Jim believes could look very big after the race. Have a listen to this weeks trainer interview with Jim Daly to hear all his thoughts on the youngster. In the other heats, Heather Dimmock’s Make No Apology won, clocking 24.28sec in the opening heat, beating Maxine Locke’s Bit View Rambo and Kevin Hutton’s Badminton Donal was impressive taking command at the third bend, beating Paul Young’s, Young Princess in 24.25sec. Badminton Donal is 11/4 second favourite with Star Sports. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Last night saw the inaugural BGBF Northern Plate final worth £7,500 to the winner. Witton Derecho won, giving owner-breeder Glenn Lynas his ‘best moment in the sport’. Lynas’s partner, Jill Sutherst trains the December 2016 daughter of Tullymurry Act and Alice Wake Up. She was challenged by Colliery Billy to the first bend but took control at that point and went on to score in 28.30sec, returned the 5/1 winner. The favourite King Turbo broke moderately and was stopped in his tracks at the third bend, eventually finishing last. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ A run-off was required in the Kent Derby at Central Park after Kentish Prince and Droopy’s Denny dead-heated for third place in last weeks heats. Kentish Prince duly obliged n the two dog race during Wednesday’s trial session for trainer Kevin Hutton, winning by six and a half lengths. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Patrick Janssens Bockos Doomie is the competition favourite, now 3/1 with Star Sports, after his impressive win in the heats on Sunday. Owned by Irish-Derby winning connections Bev Lochead and Austin Whelan, the talented youngster laid down a huge marker for the competition in what was his first race in over a month, beating Lenson John by three lengths in 29.22sec. King Lennon was also backed on the night and appears to be thriving on a busy campaign, running simultaneously in the Kent Derby and the BGBF Northern Plate at Newcastle (where he finished second in the final last night). He won his heat at Central Park beating early leader Front Edge by six lengths in a best-of-round 28.90sec. Lennon is 6/1 ante post, second favourite. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Sprinter Roxholme Hat was being warmed up for a third tilt in the Scurry when he tore a gracilis muscle on Wednesday and he has now been retired. Hayley Keightley’s dog was the Scurry champion in 2017 and runner-up last year behind Troy Bella. The dog is known as ‘Tom’ in the kennel and it sounds like he was already well prepared for retirement, as kennel hand, Craig Morris tweeted, ‘Time to carry on hogging the couch Champ.’ LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ There was news this week of another trainer moving from Crayford to Central Park. Mark Fenwick took over Patsy Cusack’s license when he retired in 2015. Fenwick follows in the steps of Gemma Davidson and Barry O’Sullivan who have also moved from Crayford to Central Park. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Hove have announced they are to introduce a new 500m distance that will be used for four bend graded races. New racing manager, Daniel Rankin, who arrived from Shawfield earlier this month, has decided to take action because the 490m trip has proved ‘operationally difficult.’ Trainers have been consulted and are all in favour and so the Sussex track hope to be racing over the new distance by the end of the year. There will be one winning line and the traps will be moved 10 meters back from where the traps currently are. The 490m will be kept for open racing but the 475m will be scrapped. The Winter Derby will be over the new 500m trip but the other big four-bend competitions, the Sussex Cup and Olympic, will stay over 515m. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS