JONATHAN HOBBS: It’s the quarter-finals of the Star Sports/TRC Events & Leisure English Greyhound Derby 2021 at Towcester tonight – with three places up for grabs in each of four fantastic contests for a spot in next week’s semis.
Defending champion Deerjet Sydney is still in amongst it, with Pat Buckley’s dog bidding to create history as potentially the fifth greyhound to win two Derbys – and the first to win at two different venues.
So eyes down for tonight’s quarter-finals, which are preceded by four heats of the RPGTV Derby Plate for those greyhounds knocked out in the early rounds of the Classic.
7.17: The first of the Derby Plate heats – and a competitive one at that. Magical Silas gets a narrow vote after his strong-running effort in the second round. A middle move from Shelone Milo could clear the way, although the likes of Duke De Janerio and Bombardier could raise their games. But preference is for Kevin Hutton’s strong runner.
Play: Magical Silas
7.35: Heat two of the Derby Plate and Bubbly Bollinger’s switch to the blue jacket from the red action could work the oracle. Paul Young’s dog failed to handle the inside in the first round of the Derby but he’s a strong-running sort who goes well if clearing Fatboyz Exile early doors. Jacks Solution won an A1 well here last week and deserves respect.
Play: Bubbly Bollinger
7.54: Plenty of Irish interest in this third Derby Plate heat. Pat Buckley’s Glengar Bale could be well drawn outside. He’s a middle seed but starts quicker than Bandicoot Sammy and should soon be handy outside – once in front he’s unlikely to be headed. Angry Dad remains an improving youngster who could ping-start for glory towards the inside.
Play: Glengar Bale
8.14: Frankies Jet showed excellent early pace in the Derby and could be the one to catch in this fourth and final Derby Plate heat. Slower breakers inside and out suggest Gary Ferguson’s runner will be tough to hold if trapping level and a 29.23sec best in the second round is the quickest time on show here. Swift Cope’s draw inside aids his cause.
Play: Frankies Jet
8.34: First quarter-final of the Derby and Robert Gleeson’s Toolmaker Sydney is fancied to give the unbeaten and brilliant Deerjet Sydney a race. The blue-boxed runner showed good pace last week and a sharper exit and clearer run might soon see him competitive, although respect to Forest Gold inside. Pacemaker Ted will soon be handy outside.
Play: Toolmaker Sydney
8.51: A five-runner second quarter-final of the Derby and Bockos Belly could get back on track. His brilliant track record effort in the second round has been one of the event’s highlights and a better exit from an ideal midfield pitch could pave the way tonight for Patrick Janssens’ dog against kennelmate Aussie Captain. Unlock Unlock finishes fast.
Play: Bockos Belly
9.09: The penultimate quarter-final and a cracking early paced battle looks on the cards involving Bubbly Magnum, Ballymac Fairone and Thorn Falcon. Preference is for Paul Young’s black-jacketed runner to boss proceedings as he did in both the first and second rounds. He ran well last week when never able to dominate. He might here.
Play: Bubbly Magnum
9.27: The fourth quarter-final is probably a case of saving the best for last – it’s a cracker. Signet Ace is unbeaten and, if handling the inside box, likely wins again, as might Adeles Duke with a flyer. Ballymac Wild is never far away, while Knocknaboul Syd is another Irish champion respected if coming away. But De Machine’s power could win the day – at decent odds. Brendan Matthews’ dog is due a top, top run and it could be tonight.
Play: De Machine
Good luck all.