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LADBROKES PUPPY DERBY - MONMORE 480M (£12,500)

First run back in 1943 this competition always fills me with excitement - it throws up future champion after champion. The 2009 final was won by Bandicoot Tipoki in a then track-record time of 27.76 he would be crowned the Derby champion a year later. The runner-up Kinda Ready would take the greyhound world by storm winning the Derby two months after coming second at Monmore. The pup that is crowned the 2015 champion will be a live contender for Derby glory make no mistake about that.

 

Last year Farloe Nutter was brilliant with his away and gone tactics but 2011 champion Droopys Greg will live long in the memory for his sensational last to first victory. The most exciting young greyhounds in the land are all set with battle commencing on Monday afternoon. What running style will reign triumphant this year early-pace or stamina? 

 

Reputations will be made and broken at Monmore during the Puppy Derby. Southfield Jock at the time of writing is 3 from 3 but runs Thursday night. Without doubt he is one of the hottest young properties in the sport. Back in December he was breathtaking in winning the Lawrence Jones Memorial worth £5,000 to-the-winner. He can boast a 28.08 over course and distance which just about sets the standard. Seamus Cahill is yet to win this race but he will be hoping that is about to change this year. Seamus is also represented by Ballymac Manix a son of Ballymac Vic. The UK racing public really took to Vic and if Manix has inherited his pace and brilliant balance then he will be worth watching. He's only had the one UK race at Wimbledon but made it a winning debut. Like Southfield Jock he runs Thursday night at Monmore.

 

One greyhound that must not be forgotten about is Vatican Ballotelli who was sent off the 9/4F to win the final won by Southfield Jock after a brilliant performance in the heats beating the highly rated Ballymac Mossjoe. Pat Rosney gave him a break and he seems to be improving with every trial, he knows Monmore well and when he gets it right at the boxes possesses excellent early-pace. Pat Rosney looks to have two smart recruits to go with Balotelli in El Lema and Clonkeen Stanley both of which look to be exciting prospects. 

 

Paul Young heads here with a strong team probably headed by Patchys Kerry, she has shown a liking for Monmore winning impressively in a calculated 28.27. One word of caution though if she wins it she will be the first bitch since 2004 when Dairylands Sue was triumphant. Bubbly King is making his debut for Paul Young in the first-round. He arrives in the UK with a perfect Irish card and looks to have serious early-pace which could be formidable in this competition.

 

Dave Firmager is flying the flag for British Breeding and looks to have a strong team headed by Romeo Big Time who won the Sussex Puppy Trophy at Hove in a calculated 29.79. 

 

Steve Fluin on Bubbly King (Head Of Champagne Club)

 

'We have Bubbly King making his UK debut in this competition and his trainer Paul Young is represented with eight runners. He's put on a bus for all the owners, we are all meeting for bacon sandwiches in the morning then heading to Monmore to cheer them on. Bubbly King won an un-raced competition in Ireland he's got terrific early-pace the only concern is he can he maintain that at top speed over 480m. He is still settling in but we are pleased with him and are really excited about the year ahead. He will hopefully be a Derby runner but perhaps his number-one target will be the Classic at Sunderland over 450m. There is no better preparation for the Derby than this competition, Ladbrokes and Monmore do a fantastic job and after we had the runner-up here in 2012 with Bubbly Phoenix it would be brilliant to go one better this time around'.

 

Pat Rosney (Trainer of Vatican Balotelli, El Lema and Clonkeen Stanley)

 

'This is a hot competition and it takes some winning, we won it in 2004 with Dairylands Sue and 2012 with Newinn Rocket. I'm pleased with all three and to tell you the truth there is not a lot in them. Vatican Balotelli is more experienced for us and we've trained him for this competition. El Lema and Clonkeen Stanley both won on debut for us clocking 28.22 and 

 

Puppy Derby Blast From The Past - 1995 Winner Staplers Jo 

 

1995 - Staplers Jo, This son of Dempsey Duke thrilled the patrons at Monmore winning the Puppy Derby by 3.25L in 29.72 over Pams Spririt. (The runner-up came out and won the Oxfordshire Trophy). (The 5th placed greyhound Chairman came out a year later and won the Midlands Gold Cup).

This race was a platform for Staplers Jo and he would go on to superstar status. A month after his victory at Monmore he was busy winning the Gymcrack at Hackney by a whopping 7.5L at 1/8F in 26.59.

Jo's following and trophy collection was swelling and in the October he added the Produce Stakes winning by 3.25L at 1/5F in 28.49.

He capped off a marvellous year by taking the Guineas at Hackney in November by 3L at 2/9F in 28.98. 

One of the greatest performances I've ever seen came in the first-round of the Gunieas competition when Staplers Jo broke the track-record. Few could match this brilliant greyhounds rush of early-pace and he was a great champion. It all started at Monmore in the Puppy Derby and he must rank up one of the best winners of this great competition.

Staplers Jo was rightly crowned 1995 British Greyhound Of The Year but the story was set to run, just like on the track Jo took the breeding world by storm winning the 2000 and 2001 Irish Stud Dog Of Year titles.

 

Will the 2015 running of The Ladbrokes Puppy Derby unearth a new superstar? 

 

First-Round - Monday 2nd March

Semi-Finals - Monday 9th March 

Final - Friday 13th March