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William Hill Derby - Wimbledon 480m (£250,000)

Ward to go one better?

 

Normally with these previews we look at all the amazing winners but for the Derby thought I'd use this section to look at the runners-up. Everyone remembers the winners but nobody seems to remember the gallant runners-up. Everyone knows that Entry Badge won the very first Derby all the way back in 1927 but did you know Ever Bright came second? In the modern era we have seen some greyhounds go mighty close to immortality but just came up short. Harry Crapper has come so close to winning it but he's finished runner-up twice in 1983 with On Spec who was narrowly beaten by Im Slippy and 1999 with Frisby Full. Belle Vue trainer Nigel Saunders came close in 1993 with the brilliant Sullane Castle. Seamus Cahill will be looking at going one better this year than he did in 2002 with Call Me Baby. Paul Young has finished the runner-up in the last two Derbies with Airlie Impact and Droopys Ward. The last trainer to do that was the late Seamus Graham who finished runner-up in 2006 (Mineola Farloe) and 2007 (Loyal Honcho) but came out and won it in 2008 with Loyal Honcho. Is that an omen for Paul Young and Droopys Ward? The greatest runner-up for me came in 1987 when Bob Young's brilliant Tapwatcher was denied by the shortest of margins and his legion of fans were left disappointed. Fear Zafonic in 2009 for the great Charlie Lister OBE was another who went so close but was denied in the shadow of the winning line by Kinda Ready. Which runner-up do you think was the unluckiest? 

 

A Record Number Chase Derby Dream

 

255 amazing greyhounds from the UK and Ireland are set to do battle over six-rounds in a bid to land the biggest prize in greyhound racing and the whopping £250,000 first-prize. The Derby prize-money captures the attention of sports fans around the world and gives greyhound racing an amazing platform to showcase the sport. Last year it unfolded like a story from Hans Christian Anderson when Salad Dodger was crowned the King Of The Greyhound World. This year someones dream will be realised and they can count on it changing their lives forever. 

 

Round-one is going to be more exciting than ever with just two qualifiers from the 48 heats spread across four amazing nights of action. 33 of the heats have 5 runners while the remaining 15 will have 6 runners. It means right from the off there is absolutely no room for error. The first greyhounds will go to the traps at 19.39 on Wednesday and will be the start of a four day bonanza which will definitely have a festival feel to it.

 

One trainer who is yet to land the Derby is Pat Rosney, he was very unlucky in 2009 when Windy Millar looked set to go very close but Stop The Show jumped on his back around the second-bend when he looked all over a qualifier for the semi-final. This year he is fresh from landing the Scottish Derby with Swift Hoffman but his team is strong; Newinn Yolo (2014 standard greyhound of the year and best newcomer), Burgess Oscar (impressive Irish card), Ascot Woodie (fast and genuine) and Aero Inferno (huge potential). I thought he was the best man to catch up before the opening-round.

 

Pat Rosney on Newinn Yolo, Burgess Oscar, Ascot Woodie, Swift Hoffman and Aero Inferno

 

'It is incredible there is no hiding place, it's the Derby and the draws been very unkind. It could have been easier, I will take five second places now. The prize-money on offer means your taking on super dogs right from the off.

 

Wednesday we have Newinn Yolo, he is more suited to Wimbledon than Shawfield. I'm hopeful he will get through, he is in great form, I'm very happy, fingers crossed. I really could not be happier but the draw is tricky. If I had to choose one of our team most likely to win it I would probably choose this fella. He can do it from the front or behind and is a great competition greyhound.

 

Friday we have a few starting with Burgess Oscar. He beat Hoffman in a trial, he blasted the lids recording a 4.75 sectional but Hoffman turned that around in a trial on Saturday. He ran poor but we can't find no reason for it. He's got good form in Ireland including a 28.08, he ran Droopys Nidge to photo at Limerick. No doubt he's got big ability but he just needs to be consistent but that is the issue. 

 

Ascot Woodie - smashing dog, delight to have in the kennel he's never stopped improving since he walked through the gates. Can do it both ways and I've a lot of time for him he's so genuine and that counts for so much. 

 

Swift Hoffman - He's now had three trials around Wimbledon his last trial was his best one. I was getting concerned about the curve boxes but he put in a top-class trial performance, if he was to get in the final and repeat that level it would be good enough to win the final. Id have him in trap-six all the time but I'm not naive he won't get it all the time, he needs to do it away from trap-six but the pressure is off after winning the Scottish Derby. I'd love him to win this though he is a high class dog from the front or from behind and really genuine.

 

I'm back down to Wimbledon on Saturday with Aero Inferno - He is owned by Staurt Forsdike, un-raced when he came in and we found a problem. He won a maiden final at Nottingham and because he was still a maiden heading to final I entered him for another maiden at Perry Barr, he won them both in style. This dogs a fantastic bend runner and looks like a greyhound with a very bright future and is worth following. The draw for the first-round is terrible I'm just hoping we survive'.