Towcester stages the Greyhound Derby semi-finals this Saturday night
Towcester stages the Greyhound Derby semi-finals this Saturday night

Greyhound Derby latest betting tips and analysis

Ian Brindle provides the latest on the Star Sports & TRC English Greyhound Derby, as the competition reaches the quarter-finals stage.

The ante-post betting may tell us that the Irish hold the upper hand in the Star Sports and TRC English Greyhound Derby but Romeo Command ensured the raiding party didn't have it all their own way last Saturday night.

Patrick Janssens' dog realised the fastest time of the evening when slamming Signet Otis by just over eight lengths, and the Belgian-born handler is no stranger to Derby glory having won it in 2021 with Thorn Falcon.

Swords Rex remains the favourite for the £175,000 first prize and he is a general 11/4 (from 4/1) with the bookmakers.

His trainer, Graham Holland, managed to get six through to the quarter-final stages including leading ante-post fancy Clona Duke, though he has drawn two of his kennelmates in Romeo Hanzo and Ballyhimikin Leo, and the market momentum appears to be with the former.

Reigning champ, Romeo Magico was sadly eliminated in the last of the eight heats. The race was ironically won by his litter sibling, Fabulous Azurra and her reward for those endeavours is a pitch alongside Swords Rex in the last of this weekend's quarter-finals.

Ballymac Marino continues on unbeaten and Liam Dowling's youngster was unchallenged in one of the less competitive heats. He’s enjoyed a charmed run in the drum so far though could be given much to think about by the resurgent Brinkleys Magic.

The first three home in each contest will progress into next weekend’s semi-finals.

19.10 Quarter-Final 1

  • 1. Aero Arran (Richie Taberner)

Dual Open winner at Monmore; well held in all three rounds and odds don’t lie.

  • 2. Savana Beau (Diane Henry)

Finalist in last year's Derby; impressed in second round victory and sure to be staying on resolutely

  • 3 Boylesports Gift (Paul Hennessy, Ire)

Lightly raced sort; beaten fav last week and a little to prove away from favoured rails draw

  • 4 Hopes Rhino (Jason Heath)

Fair card in Ireland as a juvenile; draw no bother yet needs to seriously up his game tonight

  • 5 Romeo Command (Patrick Janssens)

Impressive so far in competition; coursed middle from this location in the past so reason for optimism despite draw

  • 6 Burj Khalifa (w) (Brendan Matthews, Ire)

Much improved since Puppy Derby; form to reverse with neighbour but stays strongly and is respected


Five railers was always going to make life difficult and the evidence suggests that ROMEO COMMAND has the all round game to cope with the task. Burj Khalifa didn’t lay down last week and keeps on strongly as does Savana Beau. Boylesports Gift will need to secure any sort of run early doors in order to progress onward.


19:30 Quarter-Final 2

  • 1 Signet Otis (Kevin Hutton)

Runner-up in all three Derby starts thus far; won heat of Blue Riband from this location and needs to hold onto inside line

  • 2 Clona Duke (Graham Holland, Ire)

Smashed track record in opening round; short-odds defeats in two subsequent rounds though class act when getting it right

  • 3 Romeo Hanzo (Graham Holland. Ire)

Comfortably had measure of red when last met; running well and needs to avoid clash with kennelmate at all costs

  • 4 Mystical Mario (John Lambe)

Multiple minor Open winner; very quick from the lids but will be racing on fumes close home

  • 5 Cochise (Richard Rees)

Useful over both four and six bends; operating at peak of his powers with victories in two rounds

  • 6 Ballyhimikin Leo (m) (Graham Holland, Ire)

Unexposed; one win in competition so far and has shaped promisingly in mid-section of his races at Towcester


Clona Duke is the big ticket item though he’s one the layers have been happy to oppose and his kennelmate ROMEO HANZO is doing plenty right at present. Mystical Mario will set the fractions upfront and he’ll need some help from bother in behind as Cochise and Ballyhimikin Leo should ultimately outstay him.


Jonathan Hobbs debates who will be named July's Greyhound of the Month

19:48 Quarter-Final 3

  • 1 Jacktavern Bella (Graham Holland, Ire)

Winning stayer over in Ireland; fortuitous to get gaps in round two but proof you can’t win unless you are in

  • 2 Ballymac Marino (Liam Dowling, Ire)

Three from three so far; it’s his second birthday today and connections hope for many happy returns

  • 3 Drive On Lad (Richard Rees)

Maiden Derby winner; not at his best in this competition and has drawn notable pace angles at either side of him

  • 4 Brinkleys Magic (Tom Heilbron)

Mercurial performer; beaten two of the leading fancies in the Derby so far and big player if getting uncontested lead

  • 5 Gaytime Nemo (Graham Holland, Ire)

Behind T3 when raced from this draw at Cork on debut; opening round performance puts him on the premises if reproduced here

  • 6 Ninja Kerry (m) (Belinda Green)

Qualified with three placed efforts so far; more to do tonight but dismiss kennel’s runners at your peril


There’s no such thing as an easy quarter-final though BALLYMAC MARINO looks a very useful prospect on what we’ve seen so far. Brinkleys Magic will be reliant on a fast break and he could cause problems if heading left from the boxes. That scenario bringing Gaytime Nemo and Ninja Kerry into the equation for the qualifying slots. Drive On Lad has track form though hasn’t fired as yet.


20:05 Quarter-Final 4

  • 1 Romeo Top Gun (Patrick Janssens)

Third behind T4 in the Steel City Cup; comfortable winner in opening round but up against it here

  • 2 Ballymac Finn (Liam Dowling, Ire)

Irish Derby second; few fireworks at Towcester yet no forlorn hope if trainer can work his magic

  • 3 Swords Rex (Graham Holland, Ire)

Carried all before him in this year’s Derby; taken well to Towcester and another ping break should suffice

  • 4 Fabulous Azurra (Patrick Janssens)

No fluke about last week’s victory; work to do on the clock but a big say here if favourite fluffs his lines.

  • 5 Distant Podge (m) (Barrie Draper)

Much improved effort to land his third round heat; similar work should see him through to next weekend

  • 6 Untold Zloty (w) (Carol Weatherall)

Heavyweight performer in all senses of word; excuses last week though needs to recapture first round sparkle in order to progress


Hard to get away from SWORDS REX as Graham Holland’s dog hasn’t put a paw wrong as yet. Fabulous Azurra and Distant Podge arrive as fellow heat winners and are coming to hand at the right time while Ballymac Finn and Untold Zloty are capable but need to find something on their more recent endeavours.


  • This year’s Derby will be shown live on (Sky Channel 427, Freeview 264, Freesat 250) and by SIS in the betting shops and online across the majority of UK and Irish bookmakers.

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