JONATHAN HOBBS: This is it – the final of the Star Sports/TRC Events & Leisure English Greyhound Derby 2021 at Towcester.
A fantastic card live on SportyStuffTV/RPGTV with 14 top-class races, finals aplenty and the possibility that Irish champion Deerjet Sydney could make history.
Last year’s winner is less than 30 seconds from greyhound immortality as a Double Derby winner and spearheads a powerful Irish challenge on the famous race. Four of the six finalists are based in Ireland – and another 1-2-3 is possible!
However, the home side has champion trainer Patrick Janssens in its corner and his runners have won all three major competitions at Towcester this year.
Punting wise, it’s not just about the £175,000 decider, so let’s have a look at tonight’s card.
6.24: Great Eastern gets the vote to kick of the night in perfect style for Kevin Hutton. The year’s Blue Riband third over C&D has lots of early pace and could give these rivals the slip in the opening veterans’ race. Queen Beyonce is the obvious threat should she handle the inside.
Play: Great Eastern
6.42: One of the major ‘consolation’ races on the night with lots of original Derby entries, preference is for Pat Buckley’s semi-finalist Knocknaboul Syd who just missed the up last week but looks well drawn should Jewel Of Madonna head inwards. Native Maestro is top class at best.
Play: Knocknaboul Syd
7.35: The first of the finals now with Kevin Boon’s Bettys Book fancied to strike in this bitches’ contest. She’s a strong-running sort who might break well from the inside and takes some holding if handy. Droopys Aoife and Queen Dolly are both top-class at best tough to beat with leads.
Play: Bettys Book
7.54: Plenty of class here again over the Derby trip for runners who went deep into the competition. Patrick Janssens’ Bockos Belly looked a touch unlucky in the semis last week but if tracking Angry Dad early might prove too strong. Adeles Duke will also soon be pitching for a position.
Play: Bockos Belly
8.14: A British-bred final now where Liz McNair’s King Louis is fancied to reverse heat form with Posh Nosh. The six-box runner can trap better and will improve given a break coming into the event. Key will be coping with the speed of Pocket Lola next door, but she might just edge inwards so clearing the way.
Play: King Louis
8.51: The big two in the Dorando Marathon are Aayamza Royale and Savana Volcano, with preference for the Greyhound of the Year given Mark Wallis’s bitch is quicker on the first lap. However on overall clocks in the heats Volcano has the edge. Droopys Bird could raise her game with a ping-start at a price,
Play: Aayamza Royale
THE DERBY FINAL
9.09: Derby Final time now and, quite simply, none of these can be ruled out. The break looks crucial, especially inside and an early advantage for Pat Buckley’s defending champion Deerjet Sydney could see history rewritten. Fastest from the semi-finals was Ballymac Fairone and a repeat see him win – which would give Liam Dowling a first English Derby success. He also has the tough and consistent Ballymac Wild in their pitching for glory. Thorn Falcon has the best draw of all and will be Patrick Janssens’ number one hope, although three-time major winner Kilara Lion can smash break. It’s all set up for an intriguing final, with preference – just – for Graham Holland’s Newinn Session on the draw which he handled so well in the semi-finals last week.
Play: Newinn Session
9.27: The sprint final now and Blastoff Mason might take advantage of another tricky draw for Bockos Jon Jon. The latter will head inside early and is certainly fast enough to do so, but Seamus Cahill’s dog beat him in the heats and is again draw inside his chief rival which could be crucial.
Play: Blastoff Mason
9.43: Another final now where Burgess Puma could be drawn for a big run. Jason Bloomfield’s runner needs to hold his pitch early, perhaps even lead with a slick start, but ran well in the heats and will improve after a break coming into the event. Track record holder Kishlawn Shakira rates the obvious danger.
Play: Burgess Puma
9.58: Droopys Addition has the perfect blend of speed and stamina and could be tough to hold if breaking well from the midfield. Gemma Evans’ runner is surrounded by strong runners including Ivy Hill Skyhigh, Drumcrow Brent and Blue Tick George so needs an edge early doors.
Play: Droopys Addition
10.13: Bubbly Angel and Three Ems give Paul Young a mighty hand in the closing marathon and it might be the former who raises the roof for backers. She wasn’t disgraced in the Dorando heats and a smoother run might just give her the edge over her well-drawn kennelmate.
Play: Bubbly Angel
Good luck all.