THE GREYHOUND WEEK BLOG: Julie Collier with all the latest news from the world of greyhound racing…..

➡️ The Coronation Cup may be a category two competition but it has all the quality of a category one! The heats last Friday have left us with three classy semi-finals to look forward to this Friday at Romford. Sparta Master set a new track record in the heats of the Essex Vase and produced the fastest time of the night here too, 34.88sec, beating Antigua Rum by over four lengths for Sharon Thompson. I spoke to Sharon this week; the dog is well and she is loving the ride. The other performer to impress me was Ernie Gaskins Droopys Aoife who made it five wins in a row as she won heat three from a tough draw in trap 4, clocking 35.31sec. Many were looking forward to seeing Roman Empire in heat six but he had to settle for a qualifying spot after missing his break and finding trouble in running. The race was won by John Mullin’s Swift Tarquin who sprung a surprise at 20/1. Roxholme Jim was another heat winner, his early got him out of trouble after a poor break in 35.51sec. 2018 Coronation Cup champion qualified in second. Star Sports now have Droopys Aoife as the 7/2 ante post favouite. Sparta Master is 4/1, Roxholme Jim next in at 9/2. Roman Empire is 13/2 to show what he can do and Shotgun Bullet is 16/1. Head to for all the ante post prices. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ There was sad news this week that Nick Savva has decided to call time on his amazing training career and hand over the reigns to his assistant, Andy Ioannou. At 85 years of age, his career stretches back around 60 years and includes amongst his many successes, four Derby wins. Sadly, Nick lost his right-hand woman last year but together they establish British breeding’s first dynasty through their Westmead prefix. All of us at Star Sports wish Nick a restful and happy retirement and I’d personality like to thank him for all his help over the years from schooling my Westmead Hawk pup Roxy and later allowing us back to his kennels so she could meet her Dad, to the countless interviews (pictured) for Sky Sports, RPGTV and the Westmead Dynasty documentary. They make up some of my best memories in greyhound racing. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ I caught up with Ernie Gaskin this week. He has a small kennel of no more than 10 dogs at any one time but had a cracking, if a little frustrating year last year. I (and he) are expecting this year to be even better. Droopys Aoife is currently the favourite for the Coronation cup at the semi-final stage and Ernie reports her to be in ‘the best form of her life.’ He expects Roman Empire to ‘fulfil all the promise he showed as a puppy’ now that he has made a return to racing after recovering from a broken hock. Happily, the dog known in the kennel as Caesar is showing no unwanted repercussions from the injury. Surely connections would have to head to the Star Sports Derby all being well!? He is currently 33/1 ante post. Another really exciting dog in his kennel is Droopys Addition. The Trafalgar Cup winner is a half brother to Droopys Aoife and Roman Empire but has more early and Ernie believes he is ‘the complete package.’ He is 50/1 ante post for the Star Sports Derby at the moment. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Promoter Kevin Boothby has announced that Towcester will reopen for racing on Saturday the 18th of April. The track is yet to be licensed by the GBGB but Boothby doesn’t envisage any problems in that regard. Changes are being made to the track to make it narrower and the sand is being dug up and relaid with the same sand used at Henlow. The ambitions are big – Boothby is planning to bid to host the 2021 Greyhound Derby! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Irish trainer Brendan Maunsell is considering a entering his St Leger winner, Redzer Ardfert, for the Golden Jacket at Crayford which starts on February the 8th. The £17,500 prize money makes for an attractive incentive and the dog is reported to be ‘raring to go again.’ LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ The Star Sports Derby is now just three months away and thoughts are turning to preparations for Derby dogs, including Trickys Dumbo. Trainer Robert Holt decided to give his star dog a rest through the winter months as he wasn’t quite happy with him but this week reported him to be ‘coming back to himself.’ The plan is to have a few spins around Sheffield then head straight to Nottingham fit but fresh, rather than take in the Juvenile. Trickys Dumbo is currently 40/1 with Star Sports for the Derby at Nottingham. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS