Timeform’s Joe Nordoff provides his best bets for the first round of the Greyhound Derby, which takes place across Friday and Saturday at Nottingham.
The Star Sports & Arc Greyhound Derby features in a slight different format this year, with just 96 competitors vying for greyhound racing’s greatest prize. Yet, given the relative uncertainty earlier in the year, it’s refreshing to have our showpiece event in any guise under the circumstances.
There were memorable scenes at Nottingham’s Colwick Park last year, with Irish raider Priceless Blake emerging victorious and the quest to succeed her begins on Friday - which is where we'll begin our look at the heats.
Our first selection on a cracking two nights of action comes in heat 3 at 7.58 and we’re anticipating a bold showing from GLENGAR BALE (Trap 5) in what rates a superb line-up.
On form, Glengar Bale could hardly be discredited in finishing five and a quarter lengths fourth behind the remarkable Pestana in the semi-final of the Irish Derby three weeks ago. However, on closer inspection, he was arguably deserving of having his effort marked up, his chance of making the final compromised by a first-bend bump, which put him on the back foot.
Whilst his first sectional over C&D can be improved upon, he was still motoring to record 29.79 in a C&D solo eight days ago. Expected to improve all round, he will find Swift Lettuce (Trap 4) to deal with early but is expected to be on the coat-tails of that rival quickly and can put it up to the Yarmouth raider from halfway. Kilara Lion (Trap 1) an excellent winner of the recent East Anglian Derby, may also be on the premises from the three-quarter point but could well need some luck in running.
DARBYS RANGER (Trap 5, TF 121) only competed in graded company in Ireland but delving deeper, he was most progressive, registering a hard-fought and slick 28.45 Shelbourne Park success in A3 company during August. The son of Superior Product has made a switch to Kevin Boon, impressing with his exploits in C&D trials, those matching the majority of the lead protagonists in the competition.
On Timeform sectional ratings (116) he’s expected to be in the front two on the approach to the opening corner and with further progress in the offing, he’s fancied to land heat 6 on Friday evening at 8.46.
DROOPYS ADDITION (Trap 2, TF 131) had little go right in the Monmore Gold Cup late in August and whilst beaten at short odds on his first competitive C&D start 17 days ago, he is certainly best not judged too harshly on that effort. Finding one who has been operating at the top of his game at Nottingham, his effort on the clock (posted a Timeform figure of 125) was still an improvement on his previous trial.
The move to the blue jacket will hold no fears for the son of Droopys Jet and he can book his place in round two. Doolin Duke (Trap 5) was a facile winner on his latest start in Ireland, showing fine determination in posting 28.25 over Shelbourne’s 480-metre distance and he’s yet another who should come forward from a 29.99 C&D blowout eight days ago.
Heat 15 takes place at 9.11 and while his very wide running on occasions leaves little margin for error, DISTANT VILLAGE (Trap 6, TF125) is fancied to pass this opening test with flying colours. Matt Dartnall’s charge isn’t always the quickest away but he makes up for that with a tremendous burst of acceleration, as he showed when posting a career-best C&D victory last time, recording a Timeform figure of 131 in the process.
It’s probably fair to say he’s escaped the toughest of the heats and he’s running the track extremely well at present. Well-housed as the sole wide seed, it would come as no surprise to see him front rank on the approach to the corner and pass this test. Irish raider Ballydoyle Valor (Trap 1, TF130) was rather unfortunate to take an early exit from the competition last year but remains a force to be reckoned with and he improve on his C&D trial 8 days ago and emerge as the chief danger.
Glengar Bale (Trap 5, 7.58)
Darbys Ranger (Trap 5, 8.46)
Droopys Addition (Trap 2, 7.34)
Distant Village (Trap 6, 9.11)
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