JONATHAN HOBBS: Just a week after a top-class Winter Derby gala at Monmore, the Wolverhampton venue is back with another quality card as the Premier Greyhound Racing Puppy Derby kicks off with six heats over 480m, live on RPGTV.
Formerly the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby, the event has always produced quality winners and this year’s crop look a really good batch.
They are headed by Freedom Alibi and Innfield Trojan, the Northern Puppy Derby champion and runner-up, both trained by Tom Heilbron, plus Newcastle third Havana Bale Out for Liz McNair, who dipped under the magical 28 seconds barrier in a first look at the track – and who tops the ante-post market.
Places in the semi-finals of the £20,000-to-the-winner event will be keenly contest given the prize-money on offer – with all the action on RPGTV.
Next week’s semi-finals will share the stage with the BresBet Easter Cup Final at Shelbourne Park, also broadcast live on the show. The semi-finals take place at the Dublin venue tonight
Let’s have a look at the pick of the races.
6.17: Northern Puppy Derby winner Freedom Alibi begins his campaign to land another major title for Tom Heilbron in heat one of the Puppy Derby and improvement on his trial is likely. Getting first run on Cochise is key, however, after the latter won well last week.
Play: Freedom Alibi
6.33: Front Mali looks another likely improver. Not disgraced in last week’s UK debut, the Kevin Proctor-trained runner can step up in heat two of the Puppy Derby. He paces up well judged on trials and a lead is not beyond the realms of possibilities here.
Play: Front Mali
6.48: Andrew Wood’s Snake Root ran with promise seven days ago and could make all in heat three. He was only reeled in approaching the winning line, but a similar lead might be held, although mistakes can be ill-afforded with the impressive Tiffield Trajan in here.
Play: Snake Root
7.07: The Patrick Janssens-trained Deelish Frankie has the all-round speed to win heat four. He was stopped in his tracks any amount of times in a trial stakes last week but still came through strongly to win – and with just a handful of starts there is scope for better.
Play: Deelish Frankie
7.24 Havana Bale Out stands out here. She’s clearly incredibly fast – probably the fastest in the event – and if able to dominate from the get-go will not be reeled in. Key is therefore breaking smartly to get first run on the likes of Blackhouse Harry and Droopys Biggy.
Play: Havana Bale Out
7.44: The final Premier Greyhound Racing Puppy Derby and chances are that Innfield Trojan could be away. Runner-up in the recent Newcastle version, Tom Heilbron’s runner has superb early speed and might always be bossing proceedings after a 28.11sec trial.
Play: Innfield Trojan
8.03: A one-off 480m contest now where Antigua Woofwoof catches the eye. Mark Wallis’s runner was not disgraced behind a good winner last week in Optic Jimmy and could revenge that defeat by a Newcastle-based runner by getting first run on Anynamewilldo.
Play: Antigua Woofwoof
9.02: Surprising has scope for better after last week’s six-bend return. Seamus Cahill’s dog had no chance behind the top-class Coolavanny Aunty last week but ran well and improvement is more likely than not after a recent long spell off. The draw looks perfect.
Good luck all.