JONATHAN HOBBS Saturday: Top-class greyhound racing continues with the final of the Ladbrokes Winter Derby at Monmore tonight, just a week after the Premier Greyhound Racing Golden Jacket at Crayford.
There’s £10,000 up for grabs for one of the newer events on the GBGB Calendar with tonight’s decider being just the fourth time the event has been run. It was staged for the first two years at Hove, while Signet Ace won last year’s first running at the Wolverhampton venue – a decent enough winner!
As ever, the big-race final is supported by a strong card with plenty of pups on show given the track is also counting down to its next major event, the former Midland Puppy Derby. A number of trial stakes are being staged for the event and Irish interest is provided by a team of dogs sent over by Jamie McGee, grandson of John ‘Ginger’ McGee.
Let’s have a look at the pick of the races ….
6.33 Deelish Frankie looks potentially above-advantage for Patrick Janssens in this Puppy Derby trial stakes. His wins at Towcester were impressive, caught the eye in defeat latest, and might always be handy inside with a smash break from Dapper Dinnen a threat.
Play: Deelish Frankie
6.48: Another Puppy Derby trial stakes where Front Mali looks a decent sort for Kevin Proctor. This newcomer boasts eye-catching Irish lines and has shown plenty in trials. A battle early with Irish raider Swanley Blue needs handling, however.
Play: Front Mali
7.07: There have been some eye-catching trials from Scottish raider Snake Root and Andrew Wood’s runner could make a winning UK debut. He faces a potential battle for early gains with Clairekeith Remy but is clearly useful in the clear.
Play: Snake Root
7.24: A superb all-aged contest now. Aussie Captan will try and cut loose but might Make Noise always be close enough to strike? Seamus Cahill’s runner produced a strong-running effort to win the Towcester Puppy Derby and is improving post-trials.
Play: Make Noise
7.44: The first of tonight’s two finals is a sprint which can go to George Cunningham’s Narcos The Great. He won the Sunderland Classic over four bends so will run extremely strongly throughout to perhaps edge out Little Emir in a great buckle.
Play: Narcos The Great
8.03: Druids On Song could be the value in the main event. The Mark Wallis-trained youngster definitely has scope for improvement and could lead outside if getting the jump on these. Thereafter he might need catching, with strong runners Burnchurch Mick, Ivy Hill Skyhigh, Bull Run Norris and, especially, Callmesteve all capable. Likewise the classy and well-drawn Jaguar Macie is also still improving after a recent break.
Play: Druids On Song
8.23: Another Wallis star Aayamza Dream is difficult to ignore in this dual distance decider. She came through powerfully in the heats and proved far too strong for Bettys Book so surely the extra metres will help her, although a longer run-up helps the early pacers.
Play: Aayamza Dream
8.43: A brilliant 630m contest now where the up-in-trip Surprising catches the eye, likewise the back-in-form Antigua Princess. However Coolavanny Aunty was top class in winning the Essex Vase for Angela Harrison and the draw and step back up to six bends will help.
Play: Coolavanny Aunty
9.02: Optic Jimmy will have his supporters from a plum pitch inside but the Newcastle raider must come away and preference is for up-and-coming local Freedom Editor. Paul Sallis’s dog is lightly-raced, boasts early speed, and is fastest on the clock.
Play: Freedom Editor
9.18: The Monmore finale now and George Cunningham’s Narcos Tata catches the eye. He made the Winter Derby semis over C&D last week and, also lightly-raced but boasting all-round speed, he is also fastest on the clock and might take some holding.
Play: Narcos Tata
Good luck all.