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

23 greyhounds (Droopys Nidge was sadly withdrawn) with the aim of keeping their Derby dream alive and making it through to the semi-finals on Saturday of the 2015 William Hill Greyhound Derby. What happened was truly amazing and in truth we witnessed 12 heroes that have their owners and trainers dreaming of Derby glory.

 

Farloe Blitz, Eden The Kid and Paradise Maverick all put in terrific performances but it was Geelo Vegas that captured my heart and imagination on a pulsating night of Quarter-Final action. He rocketed out recording a 4.76 sectional and showed blistering pace to half-way, the challengers though where in hot pursuit and it was most definitely race on. Turning for home all six greyhounds had a realistic chance of not only qualifying but winning this quarter-final. It was a blanket finish but Geelo Vegas had done enough to repel the challenges and got the verdict by a head over Viking Jack in 28.51 +10. Roxholme Ted grabbed that all important qualifying spot in 3rd a further head behind but it was heartbreak for Jaytee Jet who was a further short-head back in 4th, Teds Last 5th 0.75L and Gaytime Hawk only 1.25L further back in 6th. 

 

This greyhound is the very first runner in the Derby for his trainer Carl Perry and what a thrill he is giving connections and greyhound fans around the world. Comparisons will always be made is it like watching Tims Crow or Ningbo Jack? For me no it's like watching Geelo Vegas the greyhound who delivered the UK a victory at Shelbourne Park on Irish Derby Final night and the greyhound who scorched around Nottingham to win the National Sprint. Those terrific victories came over two bends but he's got the heart and stamina combined with his ferocious early-pace to mix it with the greatest four-bend greyhounds of this generation. Could this amazing sprinter go all the way in the Derby and stun the greyhound world? If he keeps trapping and showing this incredible pace to the third-bend then you never know.  

 

I decided to catch up with Carl Perry and discuss the heroics of Geelo Vegas

 

'I have to be honest after the first couple of Quarter-Finals I was getting worried, dogs where coming from off the pace and I thought the short runners had a lot on their plate. Our dog is so brave he really is all heart and he always gives you 110%. When the challengers where coming at us I just hoped he would qualify but the way he battled made me so proud. He is getting stronger and stronger, he seems to be thriving on his races and taking them so well. He is better now than a week ago and is absolutely bouncing this morning, you would not know he had a race last night. I can't believe we are in the semi-final of the Derby. I'm not getting much sleep but it's not about me Geelo Vegas is so well and full of energy'. 

 

Farloe Blitz took the first Quarter-Final with a brilliant performance beating Millwards Davy 1L in 28.32 +10 with Diego Flight qualifying a further short-head back in 3rd. 

Next up was the British Bred Eden The Kid and he proved beyond all reasonable doubt his track-record was no fluke. He came out on top by a short-head after an epic battle with Rio Quattro in 28.24 +20. Making Paper kept Diane Henry's dream alive by grabbing 3rd a further 1.25L back.

Paradise Maverick is warming up to the Derby task and the brilliant Irish Cesarewitch Champion wowed the crowd with a magnificent victory for Pat Buckley. He came home like an express train to run down top-class greyhounds in a manner that was a sight to behold. I can't remember a greyhound doing it so impressively since dare I say it the great Westmead Hawk. He went past Tynwald Bish in the blink of an eye late on to score by 1.25L in 28.28 N. It was his kennel companion Lenson Sanchez who qualified only 0.5L back in 3rd. This would have been a great tonic for his owner Lenny Ponder whose been ill of late and I'm sure I speak for everyone in the greyhound world 'get well soon Lenny'.

 

Semi-Final Draw for Saturday

1st Semi-Final 

 

T1 Rio Quattro

T2 Farloe Blitz

T3 Eden The Kid (m)

T4 Geelo Vegas (m)

T5 Diego Flight (w)

T6 Roxholme Ted (w)

 

2nd Semi-Final

 

T1 Paradise Maverick

T2 Making Paper (m)

T3 Millwards Davy (m)

T4 Lenson Sanchez (m)

T5 Tynwald Bish (w)

T6 Viking Jack (w)