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 Irish Derby draw took place on Monday with the first round due off on Friday night at Shelbourne Park. There is only one UK entry in the shape of Trickys Dumbo who finally made his way over to the Dublin track for a look round on Saturday night. He clocked 29.84 but was reported to have lost his footing at the second bend, so we can expect plenty of improvement as far as the clock is concerned. Well done to trainer Robert Holt for being the only man brave enough to take on the Irish on their own patch! Dumbo, incidentally, is priced up at 40/1 for next years English Derby…just saying…. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ 156 entries went into the hat for the Irish Derby draw on Monday and Graham Holland, for one, as per usual will send out a strong team. Wolfe, Lenson Blinder, Clonbrien Prince, Lenson Bocko and Clona Blaze have all impressed in trials, Wolfe being the fastest clocking a very fast 28.03sec. Star Sports Derby finalist Clonbrien Prince also trialled over 550 yards posting 29.46sec. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ There will be 26 heats run across Friday and Saturday nights with the first three qualifying plus the fastest 18 fourth place finishers. Five of the six of last years finalists are back for a stab at the Derby including defending champion Ballyanne Sim who will begin his defence on Friday. Last years runner-up and beaten Star Sports Derby favourite, Magical Bale will go in heat 20 and drawn on the fence, should get his campaign off to a winning start. The hottest favourite of the heats is Ballymac Arminta. The Christmas Oaks champion loves Shelbourne and trap 3 should suit her. Plenty of thrills and spills to come I think! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ The Irish Derby Plate is being renamed the Michael Fortune Memorial Plate after the much loved journalist and commentator who sadly passed away last month. Lovely touch. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ I reported last week how the Monmore Gold Cup and Summer Stayers semi-finals were ultra competitive and bursting with class. We have now been dealt two hot finals for Saturday night! In the Gold Cup first semi final, favourite King Sheeran cut into trouble at the first bend leaving Seaglass Tiger clear, chased home by Newinn Missile in 28.04sec. There was an 8/1 surprise in the first semi with Droopys Aussie obliging for local handler Sandra Ralph ahead of defending champion, King Turbo who just snatched the second qualifying spot from Forest Jason who pecked at the start. Winners time 28.11sec. In the last semi-final, it was Velvet Juliet who got away to a flying start, making all in the fastest semi time of 27.97sec beating track mate Bramble Reggie by five lengths. Velvet Juliet is now 13/8 favourite with Star Sports, King Turbo is 7/4. What a final! For King Turbo, quite incredibly, it’s his ninth category one final. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ In the Summer Stayers it was perhaps Droopys Live who impressed the most when picking up leader Seaglass Celine on the run for home after getting crowded at the last couple of turns yet still clocking the fastest heat time of 37.54sec. Favourite, Affleck Bolt ran on well to grab the second qualifying place by a short head. Sheldon took full advantage of the vacant trap on his inside in semi-final two winning in 37.64sec beating Antigua Fire and in the third semi Sparta Master showed a nice tune of early, leading by the first bend beating Ridgedale Max in 37.58sec. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ The Nottingham Puppy Classic got underway on Monday night. From the moment the draw was made, the fifth heat was the one that caught the eye featuring three of the top four in the ante post betting. Few would have predicted Headford Ranger at 25/1 would win, clocking the fastest time of the night to boot! Favourite, Bockos Doomie strolled out of the boxes, whilst Ice On Fire set the fastest sectional, eventually getting picked up near the line by Ranger! Roxholme Dolly was the nights shortest price pup but was second to Kirby Memorial finalist Antigua Rum after looking to be in a handy position. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ In the Kent National Hurdle final on Saturday night at Crayford, it was Droopys Knack that blasted from the traps to make all for trainer Jim Daly with the favourite, Droopys Trawler running on for second, beaten a length, after a slow start. Jim tweeted afterwards to congratulate owners Stephen Harvey and Phil Hawkes saying ‘well done Droopys Knack aka knick knack paddy whack!’ Quite a mouth full for a pet name but I love it! LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Romford has switched! Following its extensive refurbishment, Romford held a double trial session on Monday for dogs to have a look at the track, now that the first bend is the old third bend. There have been more trial sessions throughout the week with racing due to resume tonight (Friday). LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Bookos Doomie has been voted as the RPGTV/GWA greyhound of the month for July after he won all four of his starts in the month including winning the Henlow Puppy Derby in style. Trainer Patrick Janssens is expecting big things from the dog, who unfortunately got knocked out of the Nottingham Puppy Classic heats on Monday night (see above). He will now take the route of Kent Derby at his home track, Central Park before heading back to Hove for the Olympic later in the year. Janssens said that he believes the dog is ‘exceptional’ and a ‘real derby dog for next year’. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Pond Natalya was the fastest of the British Bred Oaks heat winners for trainer Harry Williams at Doncaster on Monday evening clocking a time of 29.71. Queen Cher and Queen Franklin were also on the score sheet for Liz Mcnair as was Bang On Annie for Phil Simmonds whose kennel seems to be firing on all cylinders just now. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ There was controversy at Yarmouth on Monday night when the starters flag fell in front of the traps right before they opened for the 8.29 (see main picture). Seemingly, there is a slot to slide the flag into. It was missed, the flag hit the top of the traps before falling right in front of traps 5 and 6. The two wide runners had to run over the flag and both clocked poor sectionals by their usual standards. Yet the race stood. The game is all about opinions right? But mine is this – that race should have been void! We had Pelaw Grange racing manager Dave Gray in the studio the following night on RPGTV, he said he would have voided it. Anyway, what’s done is done BUT I’m not a fan of all this flag business. I don’t particularly like it when they slap it on top of the traps after it’s been waved either. Once those dogs are in the boxes, they’re on high alert. Anything that could prove to be the slightest distraction, should be the same for all of them, or not at all. So maybe hold onto your flags, just till the boxes open. Bit of a no brainer to me… LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS

➡️ Finally, I was sad to hear this week of the death of ‘Mr Sheffield’, John Carter. He was a larger than life character who always made sure the Sky Sports team had a great night post-racing up at Owlerton Stadium. My thoughts are also with Stuart Buckland whose Dad, Maurice, also passed away this week. I never met Maurice myself but he was responsible for the renovation of Perry Barr to the top class facility it is today. LATEST STARSPORTS.BET GREYHOUND MARKETS