JONATHAN HOBBS SUNDAY: Towcester stages another huge afternoon of GBGB Category One greyhound racing action today with the final of the Matchbook Maiden Derby.
The £10,000-to-the-winner showpiece is live-on SportyStuff TV/RPGTV and is the last major competition at the Northamptonshire venue before the Star Sports/TRC English Greyhound Derby kicks off. Remember, last year’s winner Thorn Falcon went on to win the main event!
There is huge Irish interest today as well – appropriate and topical given Katie Taylor’s heroics overnight in New York – with the Brendan Matthews-trained Wide Open the only girl going against the boys over 500m, plus the likes of Graham Holland and Peter Cronin sending over likely contenders for the Derby in supporting races.
The final aside, it’s a fantastic card. Let’s look at the pick of the races.
1.57: Peter Cronin’s All About Ted failed to shine from the boxes last week but this switch to the striped jacket looks a real positive and can see him get first run. He’s a top Irish tracker who ran well in the Derby last year and is ready to lay down a challenge again.
Play: All About Ted
2.12: This is a fantastic clash between Ireland’s Romeo Magico and last year’s Derby hero Thorn Falcon. The latter is building up nicely to another serious challenge for the title but BresBet Easter Cup finalist Romeo Magico likely gets first run for Graham Holland.
Play: Romeo Magico
3.28: Mark Wallis will be a happy man today after winning the Arc/Entain Trainers’ Judgement Night at Monmore last night. His strong-running Balterio can bounce back today. He made late gains after a slow start seven days ago but turns closer here.
3.58: Part Blake had to give best to Singalong Sally at Limerick last week but Graham Holland’s dog lost nothing in defeat and, if handling Towcester which he should, this top-class Irish tracker could be away to get first run on powerful Callmesteve.
Play: Part Blake
4.08: Brendan Matthews’s Irish raider Wide Open has won all three rounds of the Maiden Derby, has clocked the fastest times, and really is impossible to oppose in the final. The inside draw should be handled and her speed and stamina can do the business.
Play: Wide Open
4.28: Swift Iconic showed electric early gears in the Maiden Derby and can make the transition to sprinting successfully in this puppy sprint. The inside pitch needs handling but his all-round pace can see the John Mullins-trained youngster star.
Play: Swift Iconic
5.08: A superb bitches’ race. Produce winner Pocket Lola ran well over two bends last week and handles the step up to 500m, while Whats Up Eva won the Brighton Belle recently. However Liz McNair’s Havana Bale Out has trialled back well and has huge pace.
Play: Havana Bale Out
5.28: A cracking sprint now and plenty of chances. The break is crucial, of course, but in-form Seamus Cahill’s Blastoff Mason has a ping-start in his locker, is strong-running thereafter, and could reverse form with Knocknaseed Gem on their recent clash.
Play: Blastoff Mason
5.44: Space Jet is a champion of the track and makes her return over 712m here. Matt Dartnall’s St Leger and TV Trophy champion trialled back well at Perry Barr and her form at Towcester is top-class. Savana Spartacus and Burgess Elite could make a race of it.
Play: Space Jet
Good luck all.