THE GREYHOUND WEEK BLOG: Julie Collier with all the latest news from the world of greyhound racing and the build-up to this weekend’s action ….

➡️ The Gold Cup semi-finals are due off on Saturday night at Monmore with two mouth-watering races in store. King Sheeran is the ante post favourite at 5/1 heading into the semis after he impressed last week behind Droopy’s Lisbon. Sheeran goes in the first semi-final whilst kennel mate King Turbo looks like just shading favouritism over Forest Jason in the second semi, though both are 6/1 outright. King Turbo is of course looking to retain the title he won in 2018 and he started as he means to go on in the heats, shrugging off crowding on the run to the turn eventually beating Seaglass Tiger by two lengths in 28.29sec. Only 10 spots separated all six heat winners, a reflection of the competitiveness and quality of this years Gold Cup. The third semi-final looks like it could be a real battle between the three outside traps with Velvet Juliet in trap 4, Grays Cup Winner in 5 and King Cash in trap 6. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ The Summer Stayers also looks a seriously competitive renewal this year with Antigua Fire heading the betting at the moment at 5/1. He battled to win his heat in 37.82sec, despite missing his break. The trip looks on the short side for him and there is plenty of early around so he may have to do it the hard way! Mark Wallis has a decent hand in the Summer Stayers, as well as Antigua Sands in the Gold Cup. Have a listen to this week’s trainer interview where Wallis talks about his new potential kennel star, the strength and depth of the staying division at the moment and his thoughts on this years trainers championship, currently headed by his good friend and former assistant trainer, Patrick Janssens. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ On Saturday night we also have the Kent National Hurdle final at Crayford, live on RPGTV with £2,500 going to the winner. There were shocks aplenty in the heats last week, most notably when champion hurdler Lenson Wilson was eliminated. That heat was won by Katie O’Flaherty’s Dirt Bird Rosie in 23.39sec. Jim Daly’s Droopys Knack also beat odds-on Caislean Fifi in 23.76sec in heat two, the result decided when the favourite was crowded as he challenged at the final hurdle. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ The Irish Derby is just around the corner and word coming out of Ireland this week is that Ballyann Sim is back in the frame after making a quicker than expected recovery from injury. It was thought the reigning champion would miss the chance to defend his crown after picking up a wrist injury in the Dundalk International last month. But Eamon Cleary’s dog trialled at Shelbourne at the weekend clocking 18.72sec over 350 yards and trainer Mark Robinson was happy with that and said ‘he came out of it fine.’ The plan now is for him to have a 525 trial today (Friday). Entries also close today. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ It’s been a mixed week for Star Sports Derby winner Priceless Blake (pictured above). He received the trophy for being RPGTV/GWA dog of the month in June after his heroic efforts at Nottingham. However his trainer Paul Hennessey has also confirmed the dog will miss the Irish Derby due to a slight strain he picked up at Dundalk. The aim now will be the Irish St Leger, Night Of Stars and then all being well, defence of his English Derby title next year. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Select Stakes winner Trickys Dumbo was all set to travel to Ireland on Thursday for a look round Shelbourne ahead of a possible challenge for the Irish Derby but that trial was unfortunately cancelled by the GBGB. Rule 84 states that the governing body must be given notice if a GBGB registered dog is travelling to Ireland. There has obviously been some confusion and the notice given wasn’t to their satisfaction, so Dumbo stayed in his kennel. Trainer Robert Holt had told me this week that the trip was more to see how the dog travelled than what time he did. When I met the two year old on Monday, he was as cool as they come, so hopefully Robert will still give it a go. I’d love to see what he can do out there! JUST IN: Dumbo will trial at Shelbourne Park on Saturday ! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ I was thrilled to read this week that the Irish Greyhound Board have planned a ‘care fund’ following June’s RTE Investigates expose. The fund will be dedicated to a variety of welfare initiatives including rehoming, injury recovery, care centres and traceability systems. In the first year, £1 million will be dedicated to the fund. I’m glad some good has come out of something that was frankly, very bad. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Happily the ‘Towcester reopening’ rumours rumble on and frankly seem to be far more than just rumours. I am told that the track is going to be leased and reopened perhaps around November with changes to the track already taking place! Yippee!! Watch this space… LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Finally, some BREAKING NEWS!! The 2018 Star Sports Derby champion, who has a little place in all our hearts, is enjoying life at home with trainer Kevin Hutton and Donna Witchells…who now own him outright! The duo absolutely love Catmandoo and want him to stay with them, so have bought out former part-owner David Usher. The Cat will have straws taken both here and in Ireland…but he has his paws right where they belong. Firmly next to the woman he loves on her bed! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS