The Greyhound Derby hits town this weekend with a new host track as 192 hopefuls get set to take their chance. Darrell Williams has four ante-post selections...
"The fact he also happened to clock the fastest time for the 525 yard trip at Shelbourne last year before launching himself into the Derby picture with the quickest Nottingham prep of them all last week means he is hardly lacking in the speed department either."
No greyhound has ever won the Derby at two different venues but Dorotas Wildcat holds strong claims of making history with Kev Hutton's charge heading the market at 12/1 as the defending champion.
His confirmation of the Derby form in again beating 2018 runner-up Droopys Verve in a thrilling Eclipse final at Nottingham last autumn sees Angela Harrison's charge considered the biggest threat in the outright odds.
Strong Irish challenge led by Skywalker
But it is the domination of Irish based greyhounds just below them that offers firm evidence that this is the strongest raiding party ever seen on an English Greyhound Derby and one which suggests that Ireland's meagre return of just one win in the last 10 renewals might be about to be put right.
Pat Guilfoyle has already tasted Derby success with Good News claiming the 2017 Irish version and in Skywalker Logan he has a greyhound with the perfect blend of speed and stamina for a potential Derby winner.
Nottingham is a track with few hiding places and the need to stay the 500m trip cannot be over-emphasised, a consideration that holds no fears for the recent 600 yard Cesarewitch winner whose winning form stretches to much further.
The fact he also happened to clock the fastest time for the 525 yard trip at Shelbourne last year before launching himself into the Derby picture with the quickest Nottingham prep of them all last week means he is hardly lacking in the speed department either and at 28/1 with Sportsbook he heads the list of ante post picks. Remember to back all selections each way at 1/4 odds to make the final (to finish in the first six).
Buckley charge can land the Bucks
Fellow Irish handler Pat Buckley has a typically strong team including recent Scottish Derby winner Braveheart Bobby but it is lightly raced Burgess Bucks that I want on side.
Already talked of in the highest terms by his shrewd trainer the youngster who won't turn two until next month was unlucky not to go close when falling late on in the Juvenile Classic at Tralee and a very pleasing effort in his only Nottingham trial augurs well for an excellent campaign. Take 25/1 with the Sportsbook.
Lenson can run a Blinder
Numerically speaking it's another Irish handler Graham Holland that boasts the strongest team and it's his Lenson Blinder that I also want to include.
While early trial indications suggested he wasn't ideally by Nottingham, his trainer's assumption that he would need a few looks has proved spot on following an excellent run, albeit narrowly in defeat, in a recent Trial Stakes and the Irish Leger and more recently Easter Cup finalist at 20/1 with Sportsbook is another for the portfolio.
If there's an entrant that's been under-estimated in the market it could be another of the Harrison team in Droopys Expert. Despite being well into his fourth year he has relatively little mileage and with a Steel City Cup runners-up spot on his 2019 record this course specialist makes plenty of appeal with Sportsbook at 40/1.