Yarmouth host their big meeting on Wednesday with one of the highlights of the greyhound year, the Bresbet 75th East Anglian Derby, reaching its climax. Timeform's Joe Nordoff picks out his best bets.
Behind the English Derby itself, the East Anglian Derby sits as one of the most prestigious competitions on the calendar. Retired master trainer Charlie Lister OBE sent out the winner of the event on no less than 12 occasions, the last of them coming in the shape of Newinn Shadow back in 2017, and it's one they all want.
Sponsored by Bresbet this time round, the competition has seen some terrific moments on and off the track over the years, not least when televised on Sky Sports. Do It For Twiggy’s last gasp success back in 2015 is one that sticks firmly in the memory, not least for the celebrations that ensued on the terraces thereafter.
The open race action gets under way with the Bresbet.com E. A Derby Sprint at 6.59 and in a race featuring a whole host of four-bend types, it may well be a good opening for established two-bend operator KNOCKNASEED GEM (Trap 1, TF 111) to capitalise on what rates a return to calmer waters.
Ultra-consistent at home track Towcester in recent months, he wasn’t disgraced behind leading operator Shrewd Call on his first competitive start over C&D last week. The likelihood is he’s capable of going quicker on the clock than he has to date around here and with Deadline Day (Trap 2) expected to be taking a middle course on the approach to the opening corner, John Mullins’ charge should have plenty of racing room to open up on the fence.
Favourite Trick (Trap 6) is next best in on the figures with a Timeform master rating of 109, boasting success in A1/2 company of late and he can come home strong off the second bend to emerge as the chief threat and forecast play.
The second of our selections comes in division two of the Bresbet.com E. A Derby Sprint at 7.34 and having not been seen to best effect on his most recent start around here, ICAALS ROCCO (Trap 2, TF 103) can boss matters from his inside draw and enhance his C&D record to 3-4.
Another John Mullins inmate, he previously impressed when landing the Trainers Judgement Night Competition Sprint over 305 metres at Nottingham nine days ago. A powerful son of Pat C Sabbath, this essentially rates a drop in grade compared to the competition he has faced of late and he can trap handily and stamp his class on proceedings off the second bend.
The Bresbet E.A Derby Standard at 8.21 could hardly be called one of the stronger open-race contests on the card and by our estimations one of the better bets on the evening may emerge in the shape of DOMINANCE (Trap 4), who comes out clear top on Timeform ratings on 127.
The daughter of Ballymac Best has returned from an early summer break an all-round improved model, dipping under the 28-second barrier on her penultimate start and having little go right in her respective semi-final of the East Anglian Derby last week. Despite finishing last, that effort still stands up to the closest scrutiny in this evening’s field and she can put that mishap behind her and capitalise on the return to calmer waters. Roxys Teddy (Trap 2, TF 117) is capable however if keeping the tardy starts at bay and can emerge as the forecast play.
Firmly established as one of the leading sprinters around, SHREWD CALL (Trap 4, TF 123) has had something of a stop-start campaign having equalled Towcester’s 270-metre track record during the spring. However, recent exploits have confirmed the fire still burns bright for David Mullins’ September 18’ whelp, powering clear of Matts Malibu (Trap 6, 116) to land his heat of the Greene King IPA Sprint a week ago.
That effort sets the standard on the clock in this evening’s final at 8.36 and a similar flashy break from the boxes from what rates an ideal draw in trap 4 for this middle seed, he should prove tough to contain. That said Ballymac Slapup (Trap 3, TF 120) has found some improvement for dropping back in trip of late, utilising his early pace on the back of a moderate break to score himself, and he can put it up to the selection.
The East Anglian Derby final takes centre stage at 8.52 with a number of the hopefuls arriving with claims and in our book it may pay to side with ANTIGUA STORM (Trap 1, TF134) having set the standard on the clock in his respective semi-final.
Mark Wallis’ charge is still relatively low-mileage for an April 19’ whelp and negated the wide-running antics of his opening exploits here, when breaking swiftly on the inside to defeat King Bruno (Trap 6, TF 132) by three and a half lengths last time.
It’s anticipated the selection will be forced to afford first run to fellow semi-final scorers Aussie Captain (Trap 3, TF 122) and Bockos Jon Jo (Trap 4, TF 135) both of whom look likely to battle it out for early supremacy on the approach to the opening corner judged on the sectional clock. However, we’re hopeful Antigua Storm with a repeat of last week’s 5.22 split can trap handily in front of Lylas Boy (Trap 2, TF 120) on the rails and be on the coattails of the aforementioned pair by the three-quarter point.
The way Antigua Storm finished off his race last week was impressive (backed up by the clock) and granted racing room, he is fancied to be coming home strongest of all to land this race for his trainer who doubled his tally in this race when classy Clondoty Alex tasted success in 2016.
A characteristic of King Bruno’s exploits around here has been his wide running around the second bend and only one his better breaks and a handy early position at the very least will suffice outside Billis Tudor (Trap 5, TF 123). A kennel-mate of the selection, Billis Tudor strictly has work to do on final time but was deserving of credit in matching his previous best despite an early bump when a half-length second to Bockos Jon Jo in his respective heat last Wednesday and with potential to do better still, not least as he only recently turned two years old, he makes some appeal for each-way purposes at odds as big as 12/1.
We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.
If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.