The world's greatest greyhound competition, the English Derby, launches into action at Towcester on Thursday evening and Darrell Williams, who found two finalists including a 150/1 stunner from his ante post portfolio last year, is back with four of the best for the 2018 renewal...
"If there is one greyhound amongst the elite group in this year’s Derby that remains over-priced it is surely Scottish Derby champion The Other Reg who is building a reputation as the ideal competition dog"
Betting ante-post on the Greyhound Derby is akin to wagering at the Cheltenham Festival: a chance to back the best in their field at prices you can usually only dream about.
Admittedly to 'cop the lot' you've got to beat 150 odd rivals but with each-way betting offering ¼ odds the first six on Sportsbook the odds are stacked firmly in the backers' favour.
And if you can find a big-price one - as this column did with 150/1 finalist Murrys Act last year - the place element is well worth having.
Previous Derby form is a big plus
Greyhounds that have run well in a Derby previously often do well again and after the agony of a semi-final exit last year it is Bruisers Bullet that tops our list of selections this time. His exhilarating performance in the fastest calculated time ever for the trip in the consolation race on Derby final night clearly showed what might have been. But even more taking has been the way he returned from a mid-summer injury, narrowly missing out on the Eclipse before an Olympic victory over Christmas and just the other week another near clock record calculated performance in a Derby trial stakes.
There are few better trainers to have on side than perennial champion Mark Wallis who would clearly love to add a Towcester crown to his two previous Derby successes and in course specialist Bruisers Bullet he has a greyhound that affords him every chance of doing just that. Back him with Sportsbook at 16/1.
Scottish Derby champion over-priced?
If there is one greyhound amongst the elite group in this year's Derby that remains over-priced it is surely Scottish Derby champion The Other Reg who is building a reputation as the ideal competition dog. His success in Shawfield, while no surprise, should have put Pat Rosney's charge to the forefront of backers' minds for the double Derby bid and yet he remains 33/1 with Sportsbook and slightly bigger on the win-only Exchange at [38.0].
A third-round elimination in last year's competition, he has been beaten only once in his last six starts including an unbeaten sweep through the Laurels and is clearly a much better dog than he was at this time last year and he is a must for any Derby portfolio.
Bale and Davy also worth backing
The first dog I backed for this year's Derby and one I'm still just as keen on is Kevin Hutton's Magical Bale, whose incredible exploits of track craft through the Puppy Derby at Towcester last November remain fresh in the mind. Unraced after that victory until winning on Trainers Championship night the other weekend, he has had only six races in his life and offers massive potential for further improvement. Take the 33/1 with Sportsbook.
Talking of potential, step forward Droopys Davy, whose performances in the Kirby Memorial suggest this could finally be Pat Buckley's year. The master Irish handler is surely a Derby winning trainer in waiting and with a rapidly improving profile the big race Limerick winner might provide the ammunition. His wide-tag status is not to be under-estimated given the paucity of outside runners in the event and this stunningly bred youngster is certainly one to keep on side. Back him at 25/1 with Sportsbook.