Net to face his nemesis
Aero Nemesis and Mind The Net are due to clash in the semi-finals of the William Hill Greyhound Derby on Saturday.
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Currently battling for favouritism in the outright market for the Wimbledon classic, the pair have drawn boxes four and six in the second of the semi-finals (21.05 BST) with the early-paced Farloe Trent sandwiched tantalisingly between the pair.
Aero Nemesis hasn’t put a paw wrong so far and is the only dog in the competition to progress with an unbeaten record in the Derby, yet Pat Buckley’s ace posted the fastest time of the quarter-finals and his trainer believes that there is more to come.
Crokers Champ is set to be a red favourite in the other semi-final (20.45) and though his assignment appears easier on paper, Peter Cronin’s dog will have to work his way towards his favoured rail position from an unhelpful draw of five.
Nevertheless, a win on Saturday night will be the icing on the cake for any of the remaining connections as qualification is what the evening is all about, and the first three finishers in each race will earn a place in the £200 000-to-the-winner Final.
Saturday’s undercard also includes heats of the Derby Plate and the Champion Hurdle.
The former, which is open to greyhounds that were eliminated in the earlier rounds of the Derby, has one of its highest quality entries for some time.
Among its participants are 2013 Derby finalists, Airlie Impact and Bittles Bar, while All About Ya (who wowed the crowds during Swindon’s Arc) is a very interesting participant for the Irish.
At the current prices, one couldn’t rule out Mileheight Alba from having a big say in the competition. Pat Rosney’s brindle saw his Derby campaign come to premature end in the second round but he is a very speedy individual when he gets things right and he showed plenty of zest in an impressive trial at the track last weekend.
The Champion Hurdle will see the first four from last year’s competition all engaged and reigning champion, Soviet Military enjoyed a fine warm-up with a convincing success over six bends at Crayford.
Ricky Holloway has an embarrassment of riches in this division and Westmead Meteor is sure to have his supporters.
He was turned over at a shade of odds-on at Sittingbourne recently, but it would be folly to dismiss him on the basis of one modest run as he’d been on a winning streak of ten prior to that reverse.
With both dogs heading toward the autumn of their careers, they face strong challenges from a plethora of relative newcomers.
Cornamaddy Jumbo knows how to win around Plough Lane having landed the Springbok earlier in the year, and useful Flat performer, Razldazl Butch, appears open to more improvement than most.
The fact that the bookmakers are chalking up at around 5/1 the field suggests more than any preview ever could.
Eight races will be shown live on Sky Sports 3 (and SIS in the betting offices) with the first race due off at 19.10.