The Derby semi-finals take place at Nottingham tonight - live on RPGTV Sky 175 - with the pressure on for a place in next week's final. Check out Darrell Williams' verdict...
"No greyhound showed greater improvement in the quarter-finals than Smurfs Machine and I fancy Seamus Cahill's charge can enjoy a clear run to the bend from trap five to claim a small upset"
Two rounds until the champion is crowned and the Irish continue to dominate with five of the top six in the ante-post market.
20:36 Greyhound Derby 1st semi-final
The two remaining unbeaten runners clash in a stirring International showdown. Southwood Jet has been flying the flag stoically for the British contingent and bids for a seventh win in as many starts on these shores while Pat Buckley's Irish raider Knocknaboul Syd also looks to reach the final with his unbeaten record still intact.
The latter could hardly have been more consistent with little variation in his split and final times and his tendency to keep a straight path until clear of any rivals has served him well and I strongly fancy he will oblige again.
Trap one has proved a difficult box to 'ping' from and that could prove a problem for Richard Rees charge. His two slowest breaks have coincided with the inside draw and if he is forced to come from behind his market rival, I can't see him picking him up.
Coolavanny Chick battled on well after a slow start last week and can ensure the presence of a bitch in the final at the expense of Distant Village who has not progressed as well as might have expected and now faces the added issue of being drawn in trap five. Select 4-1-6
20:52 Greyhound Derby 2nd semi-final
Pat Buckley also holds strong claims in this semi-final with Deerjet Sydney the most likely winner. A missed break when drawn in trap one last week cost him any chance of another victory but back in the middle he can trap in front. His desire to get to the rails at the first instance is well documented and he is unlikely to do compatriot Wolfe in the adjacent box any favours.
Churchill Holly could potentially provide a hinderance given that unlike most she usually traps on terms from the inside, but I would rather look further out for the winner. No greyhound showed greater improvement in the quarter-finals than Smurfs Machine and I fancy Seamus Cahill's charge can enjoy a clear run to the bend from trap five to claim a small upset. Troy Firebird has progressed steadily through the event but may not match his rival to the corner which could ultimately scupper his chance and I will take the two Irish raiders to also reach next week's final. Select 5-4-3
Doolin Duke, another Buckley in-mate, looks best in the supporting Derby Plate semi-finals (20:06) and can at worse turn handy behind obvious danger Hopes Bullet. He showed an excellent turn of pace late on in last week's heats and should prove hard to hold. Catunda Logan has the draw to claim the other semi-final (20:21) for Irish handler John McGee with market rival Waikiki Lad likely to be moving right towards in-coming Bower Luke at traps rise which may not do either any favours