THE GREYHOUND WEEK BLOG: Julie Collier with all the latest news from the world of greyhound racing – including this week’s announcement that Nottingham will again host the Greyhound Derby sponsored by Star Sports and is there a star shining in the Welsh valleys?

➡️ It has been announced that Nottingham will once again host the Greyhound Derby in 2020, sponsored by Star Sports, Arc and LPS. Initially there had been two tracks that put bids forward but Central Park simply didn’t come up with the goods in terms of sponsorship and plans and so Nottingham will take centre stage once again. From my point of view, Nottingham were incredibly professional last year. Rachel and Nathan Cordon were desperate for everything to run smoothly on the track – and it did. Of course lessons will be learnt around how to cope with a big crowd come finals night and I’m told different traps are being looked at and analysed with a potential for change. Mr Star Sports, Ben Keith told me that he is very excited about sponsoring the Derby again. It’s his wish and lifetime ambition to do so for the rest of his career because it is his favourite event of the year. Well done to Nottingham I say. I am not quite sure what we would have done without them… LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Ben Keith and Star Sports are also eyeing up another potential coup for greyhound racing as they are considering buying a flapping track and making it a GBGB registered one, in a bid to save greyhound racing in Wales. Star Sports are working alongside Valley Stadium, approximately 20 miles outside Cardiff, to secure a long term future for the sport in that part of the world. A takeover would depend on three necessities; trainers who want to be licenced to the track, a media contract and track licence. At this stage, any trainers interested in becoming GBGB registered as of 2021 at Valley Stadium should contact Calum Hyder on 07925 369550 or email LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ There was a shock result in the Romford Puppy Cup final last Friday when Young Princess gave trainer Paul Young his third success in the competition. Owned by The Young At Heart syndicate (pictured), their Princess beat Droopys Carat by half a length in 24.09sec to take the £10,000 prize. Blue Tick George looked handy enough to pounce but ended up a short head back in third after crowding, as he challenged at the last turn. Our congratulations go to the whole team. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Stuart Maplesden’s, Fayes Jet was the fastest semi-final winner of the Kent Derby at Central park on Sunday. He beat Camps Star by five lengths in a time of 28.76sec. Kevin Hutton’s Ballymac Osby won semi-final two, holding off Forest Alan to win by almost two lengths in 29.25sec. Then ante post favourite Bockos Doomie showed his class in the third semi after pacing up well and taking full advantage of the trap 1 draw, clocking 28.82sec. Lenson John was two lengths behind in second. Bockos Doomie has drawn trap 3 in the final on Sunday and is the favourite, priced 5/4 with Star Sports. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Crayford played host to the Kent St Leger semi-finals over 714m on Saturday night where there were a few surprises! Sheldan has been continuously on the go for trainer Kevin Boon since she won the Monmore Summer Stayers, made the final of the Champion Stakes at Romford and she’s now taking the Kent St Leger by storm. She was well-backed on Saturday but was still sent off a 7/1 chance when chasing down long time leader Roxholme Dolly to score. Track record holder, Stardom, missed the break in the race and almost got taken off her feet, putting paid to her chances. Incredibly, Roxholme Dolly was inside the track record on her sectional, 22.79sec, but tired on the final lap and Sheldan passed her and drew clear to win by four lengths in a best-of-night 44.98sec, easing her into her fourth category one final. Brigadier Bullet has been a frustrating dog at times for connections but he was firing on all cylinders when winning his semi-final by a head from Beechgrove Bell in 45.63sec. There was a satisfying double for Mark Wallis when his Antigua Fire won the third semi. It was a typical run for the 4/5 favourite, coming from the back of the field and weaving his way through to win in 45.28sec. That type of run is no mean feat at a track like Crayford. There is no doubting the dogs ability and speed, or his built in sat nav! He is 5/4 to win Saturday night’s final. Sheldan is 11/4 which I think is big given that Antigua Fire has never beaten her yet. Make sure you have a listen to my interview with Kevin Boon ahead of the final on Saturday. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ The Scurry also gets underway on Saturday night at Belle Vue with Droopy’s Reel as the 4/1 favourite with Star Sports. Trained by Angela Harrison, her career has got off to a flying start with four wins from five starts. Reigning champion, Troy Bella is 11/2 whilst I think Tree Top Jet could be well over-priced at 10/1! Good luck to all! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Magical Bale has, as expected, been retired to stud. The Star Sports Derby favourite and Irish Derby runner-up in 2018 aggravated a tendon in this year’s Irish Derby quarter-finals and the decision has been taken that asking him to compete again in a six round Derby competition at four and a half years of age, would be unfair to the dog, who has already given connections so much. Bale is standing at Newpark Stud but will have ‘holidays’ with his owners and breeder/trainer Patrick Guilfoyle. The son of Zero Ten and Sizzling Sarah is expected to be a popular choice of sire. Happy retirement Bale! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Sad news this week that Natalie Savva (pictured below), wife of Nick, passed away after a short battle with illness. Natalie’s career in greyhound racing was littered with success including as a trainer, winning the TV Trophy back in 1974 with Stage Box. She went on to jointly win the Trainers Championship in 1977 then in her own right in 1983. Natalie and Nick have been the most successful British breeders ever including of course, the great Westmead Hawk. Our love and thoughts go to Nick and his family.

➡️ GBGB Managing Director Mark Bird, this week announced preliminary plans for an industry-wide greyhound bond scheme. The idea has been mooted in some quarters for many years and was put in place at Towcester before their demise. The scheme would see all racing greyhounds registered with a ‘fund’ which goes towards their retirement costs, paid for partly by the dogs owner and partly by the GBGB. We await more details with interest but it is another step in the right direction for the sports commitment to welfare. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ On the subject of Towcester…there was disappointing news this week that venue will no longer host horse racing and their fixtures are to be moved elsewhere. However, the situation for the future of greyhound racing is still unclear. Henlow promoter Kevin Boothby has previously expressed his interest in leasing the track, but there has been no further news. Indeed, the GBGB confirmed they have had talks with two interested parties keen to bring greyhound racing back to Towcester. Fingers crossed somebody can make it happen…LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ News on a couple of high profile retirements now. Firstly, popular bitch Arthur Noodle has been retired after she broke a hock at Central Park on Sunday. The little bitch with a big heart did her trainer/owner, Patrick Godfrey, proud. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see little Noodle’s running around! And this year’s Sussex Cup winner, Droopys Gold is also heading to the breeding paddocks after sustaining a wrist injury in a trial at Central Park. The dog was campaigned exclusively in opens throughout his career and achieved a strike rate of 35 wins from 65 runs, including winning from all six traps! We wish both dogs a very happy, well deserved, retirement. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS