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GREYHOUND DERBY PREVIEWS: After the two-night split first and second rounds, the last-48 stage (47 this year, for the eagle-eyed!) is THE night when you have definitely seen the Derby winner – and Friday at Nottingham in the Greyhound Derby will thrill fans – either at the track or watching the action live on RPGTV.

So where do we stand now?

Dorotas Wildcat, the reigning champion, is still in there and incredibly vying for favouritism again. Irish powerhouse Skywalker Logan is the new track-record holder after a scintillating first round win. Last year’s runner-up, Droopys Verve, is yet to flex his muscles but is due a run, and Irish Derby champion Ballyanne Sim still eyes a famous double.

Add in the performances of littermates Queen Beyonce and King Sheeran, the former being the clear favourite now to be ‘Top Bitch’ in the competition. Plus a strong Irish contingent spearheaded by the likes of Clonbrien Prince and Jaytee Taylor, not to mention a powerful team of Roxholmes and the class act that is Magical Bale, and we are set fair!

Time then for some plays and lays in the third round heats at Nottingham on Friday.

Heat one (7.26):

Play: Roxholme Glory

Lay: Dorotas Wildcat

Why: Dorotas Wildcat’s searing burst of pace should take him to the front, but the price is wrong. A step left from Bockos Doomie one side and the class of Droopys Expert the other makes this tricky – but please still qualify champ!

Heat two (7.42):

Play: Droopys Verve

Why: The layers will be out to ‘get’ Droopys Verve. He looked out of the Derby last week after a poor start and stumble – but this is an ace draw with no great early pace against him here. Meanwhile in-form Desperado Dan faces a tougher, wider draw now.

Heat three (7.57):

Play: Seaglass Phantom

Lay: Clonbrien Prince

Why: Seaglass Phantom has not been disgraced in each of his races here behind two good sorts. He paces up well and can hold the rails from Clonbrien Prince. The Irish dog also has a move next door from Roxholme Jim to contend with.

Heat four (8.13):

Play: Headford Maurice

Lay: Skywalker Logan

Why: Skywalker Logan lorded it in the first round, but was forced to pull out the stops last week. Could Volcanic Reef hold up the Irish superstar here, perhaps even leading? Liberty Hawk is also a terrific early-paced performer inside. The pressure could be on again.

Heat five (8.29):

Play: Priceless Blake

Lay: Jaytee Taylor

Why: Ireland’s Paul Hennessy has the strongest hand here, with the make-up giving Priceless Blake every chance given a vacant trap inside. Jaytee Taylor again comes late and fast, but might the deficit be too much? Worsethewear is flying next door to him, too.

Heat six (8.44):

Play: Queen Beyonce

Why: Queen Beyonce has been faultless to date. Pace and power have been the order of the day for the McNair home-bred. She looks best placed inside chief rival Lemon Shane and, if holding that rival early, might be away again.

Heat seven (8.59):

Play: Ballymac Tas

Lay: King Sheeran

Why: Under the radar until now, Liam Dowling’s team can strike a blow courtesy of Ballymac Tas. Halted in her tracks as she headed towards the middle – and the front – last week, a lead is on now on the cards. Does Antigua Sands hold up King Sheeran too?

Heat eight (9.14):-

Play: Magical Bale

Why: Confidence will be high in Magical Bale. As talented a ‘second string’ as Dorotas Wildcat’s trainer Kevin Hutton could wish for, last year’s Irish Derby second has an ace draw and powers to the front ahead of stronger, less potent types early.

Jonathan Hobbs

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