Greyhounds expert Ian Brindle previews the quarter-finals of the Star Sports Greyhound Derby at Towcester.
20.09 First quarter-final
1 - Wildfire Legend
Sent off at big prices despite fair efforts over shorter trips at Towcester. Suited by the draw and will need a career best to make it to the semi-finals.
2 - Borna Gin
Narrowly avoided elimination in the third round when avoiding major trouble. Proven competition performer and has gone about his business with two solid but unspectacular victories.
3 - Crossfield Will
Went off at 7/1 for his third round heat and made a mockery of those odds from the fastest sectional of the competition so far. Previous winner at Shelbourne Park and Tralee and has demonstrated adaptability in terms of running styles.
4 - Calico Brandy
Runner-up in Gold Cup at Towcester. Gave Rising Brandy a stiff test in a trial stake over this trip and was far closer than his finishing position suggests last Saturday.
5 - Oi Oi Upenalty (m)
Last bitch standing. Useful around Shelbourne Park but well held in four competitive starts at Towcester and difficult to enthuse over.
6 - Newinn Shadow (w)
Hard to crab an East Anglian Derby winner trained by a man who knows all about how to win a Greyhound Derby. A standing dish around Nottingham these days and is yet to show that he can translate that form to Towcester.
The weakest of the four contests and not the easiest for punters to solve. Crossfield Will secured a freak break in the third round and with no guarantee of doing that again, preference is for BORNA GIN. Connections haven’t been totally happy with his handling of Towcester but he can make experience count. Calico Brandy is a banker for the tricast. 2-4-3
20.24 Second quarter-final
1 - Dorotas Wildcat
Behind Bubbly Bluebird when they met in the Eclipse though reversed form when they met in the ‘Shootout’ at Towcester. Running particularly well at present and gets to start from his ideal berth.
2 - King Elvis
2017 Greyhound of the Year and continues to answer his critics regarding his ability to stay the trip. Could ask plenty of questions if making a speedy break from the boxes.
3 - Bubbly Bluebird
Almost four but no back number with two victories in this year’s competition. Showed plenty of guile to hold off Bombers Bullet and needs similar sectionals to overcome a hazardous draw.
4 - Alfies Prince (m)
Eldest runner left and behind King Elvis when they met in the British Bred Derby. Arrives off the back of a trio of second places and should stoically run on from off the pace.
5 - Innocent Times (w)
Will be making the trip back to forth to his kennels in Newry and found himself left clear in a messy third round event. Puppy Derby finalist at Towcester so clearly knows the track. Interesting if he can find time on the clock.
6 - Dorotas Vic (w)
Regular in Northern races and reached the Scottish Derby final. Managed to pick up a doubtful stayer to win his third round heat, and a perusal of his efforts in last year’s competition suggests that he could go faster.
A plethora of early pace. King Elvis does have a tendency to edge to the middle and DOROTAS WILDCAT should be clever enough to exploit any gap. Bubbly Bluebird owes connections nothing and its hoped he doesn’t fall foul of a horror draw. Dorotas Vic is perfectly positioned and looks a feasible forecast option. 1-6-2
20.41 Third quarter-final
1 - Karlow Scolar
Recent recruit to Tony Collett's team and evidently open to further improvement. Sectionals suggest he’ll need a bit of luck in order to get his chance.
2 - Bruisers Bullet
Semi-finalist last year and laid down a big marker when seeing off Rising Brandy in the second round. Enthusiasm somewhat muted by defeat either side of that run though his claims are obvious from tonight’s draw.
3 - Droopys Dresden
Adaptable type that has won in Open company at Romford over 575 metres as well as Nottingham over 500 metres. Failed to justify strong market confidence on Saturday and now has something to prove.
4 - Droopys Verve (m)
Still a puppy and has done little wrong in this competition so far. Delivered a remarkably professional performance to win in the third round, and will prove difficult to peg back if getting on the bunny,
5 - Saleen Ash (w)
Peter Bussey Memorial winner at Crayford and unheralded ahead of his first round defeat of Bruisers Bullet (SP 12/1). Followed up on a slow track but disappointed on a quicker surface last Saturday.
6 - Calico Jack (w)
Regular Open winner in 2017 and just missed out on reaching the Scottish Derby final this year. Made relentless progress from an unpromising position to qualify and will punish any errors upfront.
Bruisers Bullet has polarised opinion in this year’s Derby and the former track record holder could easily get back to winning ways. DROOPYS VERVE has a peach of a draw, and with no pace to his outside, he can secure first run. Calico Jack and Karlow Scolar have finished their races well and preference is with the former. 4-2-6
20.58 Fourth quarter-final
1 - Noelles Phelpso
300/1 ahead of the Derby and showed improved form when failing to scramble home from Dorotas Vic on Saturday. More required on this occasion.
2 - Bombers Bullet
Caught the eye with authoritative victories in the first two rounds. Not at his best on Saturday though stays strongly and will make his presence felt from halfway.
3 - Rising Brandy
Monmore Puppy Derby winner. Lacks the experience of some but confirmed himself a serious contender when seeing off Bruisers Bullet on Saturday. If three tough rounds have not taken the edge off him, he’s hard to oppose.
4 - Jelly Flood (m)
Locally trained and still a maiden in Open company. More readily campaigned over shorter trips and gets this 500 metres in his own time.
5 - Salacres Vincent (m)
Useful as a puppy around Nottingham and progressed through the grades at that track. Sent off at 25/1 on his last two starts and similar prices are anticipated.
6 - Whoops Jack (w)
Class act in Ireland (runner-up in Champion Stakes at Shelbourne Park last year) and showed brute early pace to chalk up impressive wins in the opening rounds. Not convinced on his exits from the traps at Towcester and will get plenty of room for manoeuvre.
RISING BRANDY defied the market vibes to deliver an emphatic success on Saturday. If he clears the blue jacket, he should win this. Noelles Phelpso has taken time to come to hand, and could take a hand if the track runs fast. Bombers Bullet can be anticipated to be running on when others have given way. Whoops Jack has a plot draw and his class can see him through 3-2-6 (NAP)