JONATHAN HOBBS: Yarmouth’s biggest night of the year takes place at the seaside venue tonight with the 75th running of the now BresBet-backed 75th East Anglian Derby Grand Final.
The £15,000 decider is supported by two others finals – the Greene King IPA Sprint and the Derby Purse – and other opens. Sky Sports Racing are due to cover the 12-race card.
Kilara Lion, last year’s Yarmouth Derby champion, runs on the undercard and victory for Patrick Janssens’ runner would be a popular one. But let’s have a look at the best contests tonight in front of a bumper crowd on the east coast.
6.59: Knocknaseed Gem was always playing catch-up in the Greene King IPA Sprint heats last week after a moderate exit. However John Mullins’ dog would be different class to these at best in what looks a drop in grade here. Mullins used to be based at the seaside track so will be looking to make a splash with his team of dogs tonight.
Play: Knocknaseed Gem
7.16: Another Mullins runner Deadly Tornado could shine in this 462m one-off. He was knocked out of the East Anglian Derby at the semi-final stage but this looks a drop in class, too, and improvement after just two starts in the UK looks on the cards. He boasted a pretty decent Irish card against some good sorts and looks a play on that.
Play: Deadly Tornado
7.34: More sprint action now and Icaals Rocco gives Team Mullins yet another major chance. He ran behind the classy Shrewd Call the previous week and, while failing to strike a blow, certainly has a better exit in his locker. A 16.36 trial in August stands out big-time against these although two-bend contests give no margin for error.
Play: Icaals Rocco
7.51: Last year’s East Anglian Derby champion Kilara Lion would be a popular winner on the undercard – and a recent trial shows the Janssens runner to still have plenty about him. However Russian Blake can ping-start, so too Adamant Taurus, and the latter rates the value to shine for the local handler Jane Craske after a decent effort last week.
Play: Adamant Taurus
8.36: The first of the night’s finals, a sprint, sees Shrewd Call go to traps a warm order to repeat his victory in the event last year. A repeat of his heat effort does the trick, but anything like a level break might see Ballymac Slapup take advantage inside him. John Mullins’ runner flew home at Romford recently and will improve on his heat run.
Play: Ballymac Slapup
8.52: The main event of the evening is the BresBet 75th East Anglian Derby Grand Final in which both Mark Wallis and the man who succeeded him as champion trainer last year Patrick Janssens both have two finalists – and they might have it between them. Antigua Storm (Wallis) posted the fastest time in the semis and must be respected as drawn but Bockos Jon Jo (Janssens) has more early dash and is taken to get the all-important first run in this £15,000 decider. Thereafter it might be a question of keeping his rivals at bay, with neither kennelmate Aussie Captain and Antigua Storm stopping in behind. King Bruno pounces if there’s trouble inside, although clearing Billis Tudor is his first port of call. Lylas Boy boasts smart sprint form but is yet to break and needs a flier to get busy here.
Play: Bockos Jon Jo
9.11: The Yarmouth finale is another final with the Derby Purse and this could be match between Warzone Tom and Bettys Book. The latter won fully on merit in the heats last week, but Liz McNair’s runner can trap better and might get first run himself on this occasion. Burgess Puma must be respected after cheating a tough draw last week.
Play: Warzone Tom
Good luck all.