It's a big day for greyhound fans with the Golden Jacket semi-finals at Crayford this morning followed by Hove's Winter Derby final tonight (live on RPGTV Sky 175). Darrell Williams pinpoints the best bets...
"Antigua Fire runner-up in the Golden Jacket final last year, made known his intentions of going one better this time around with a fastest heat win last week and looks a good bet to add victory in the first semi-final (11:21)"
Antigua Fire, runner-up in the Golden Jacket final last year, made known his intentions of going one better this time around with a fastest heat win last week and looks a good bet to add victory in the first semi-final (11:21).
Mark Wallis' charge who won the Kent St Leger over this trip last autumn before finishing runner-up in the Leger itself kept out of trouble early on in the first round before delivering his winning blow to make it four wins from five races over the Crayford 714m distance.
Sheldan has forecast claims
Fellow heat winner Sheldan will have to tread carefully early on with pacey Sizzling Diva and Swift Tarquin also looking for the inside route but can continue her own excellent local record to claim the other qualifying spot at the expense of Sparta Master who has twice been turned over at short-odds over the CD following her runners-up spot in the Coronation Cup.
Take a swig of Rum in tight semi
Four heat winners clash in the third semi-final (12:54) but it's the two outside runners Antigua Rum and Roxholme Poppy that will draw most attention. Neither did little wrong in the heats with Hayley Keightley's last-named taking her local tally to five from eight but while it is conceivable she can improve again - that was only her two start after a four absence - I narrowly prefer Antigua Rum, himself open to further improvement having recently stepped up to the distance. But with the pair extremely closely matched a covering forecast looks a must.
The second semi-final (12:06) appears up for grabs but I expect it to primarily concern Beechgrove Bell and Skiful Sandie. The former's card is littered with excellent efforts over this somewhat specialist trip but Skilful Sandie remains a staying bitch of great interest and is worthy of another chance after enjoying little luck last week. But again with little to split the pair inclusion of both in the forecast should also be included.
Bob rates a Cheeky Busey wager
The Peter Bussey heats are also up for consideration and I see no reason not to give Cheeky Bob a chance to confirm his impressive victory over the CD from last weekend with victory in heat three (12:36). Belinda Green's improving type appears to have taken a shine to this circuit and with re-opposing Slippy Colm set to take care of Rockmount Ozzy by edging out at the corner the selection can be away and gone.
Whats Olive Upto has also fared well in the draw and can claim a supporting sprint (11:36) for local handler Katie O'Flaherty.
No Apology for tipping Sheeran
Over at Hove it is hard to oppose King Sheeran in the Winter Derby final (21:08) with Liz McNair's charge expected to add to his post- Christmas Olympic success at the same venue. One of two unbeaten finalists it the other one, Make No Apologie that can chase him home with Heather Dimmock's speed favouring type expected to dominate early on. Pacey Sidaz Jet should clear King Lennon on his inside but is more effective when drawn red and may not be in a position to challenge early on. His trainer Matt Dartnall however can be on the mark with Killeacle Gus in a supporting invitation event (20:38).