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John Smiths Kent Derby - Central Park 480M -£7,000

BUBBLY BLUEBIRD bids for his 10th consecutive victory in the John Smith’s Kent Derby (480m) at Central Park on Tuesday but faces easily his toughest task so far in the £7,000 Category One contest.

This line-up for this is one of the best for a middle distance final I can remember this year. Bubbly Bluebird, who is the ante-post favourite with some firms for the Greyhound Derby next year, heads the betting, and deserves to do so, but he will have to be at his very best from trap three.

Paul Young, his trainer, says the September ’14 son of Droopys Sydney is the best he has trained. There was a general raising of eyebrows when he made that statement but Bubbly Bluebird’s performances since would seem to vindicate that view.

Bubbly Bluebird has won the William Hill Puppy Plate, the Coral Puppy Trophy and the Nottingham Puppy Classic in his short career. This is the first time he has stepped into all-aged company and thus far he has made an excellent transition. He will need one of his best breaks to win here – but we know he is more than capable.

Droopys Who looks the chief danger to Bubbly Bluebird. The September ’14 son of Tullymurry Act was having only his third race for trainer Richard Rees, following a switch from Pat Buckley’s kennels in Ireland, when recording the fastest time at the semi-final stage.

I was impressed with his early pace and determination in the semi-finals when he ran from trap four. He starts from trap five here and has the talented Jaytee Spartacus, a kennelmate of Bubbly Bluebird on his left, which could prove a hindrance.

However, Droopys Who has winning form from trap six in Ireland; he will continue to improve as he settles into his new surroundings and shapes as the biggest danger to Bubbly Bluebird.

Barricane Tiger lost nothing when defeated by Droopys Who at the semi-final stage. He kept tabs on the Hove dog from the start and was only a length behind when the pair crossed the line well clear of a good quality field.

Patrick Janssen’s Sussex Cup winner has done it at the top level in the past and on that basis alone, and the fact that he is trained by a man who knows the time of day, merits the ultimate respect in this competitive final.

Jaytee Spartacus should never be ruled out. On his day the son of Scolari Me Daddy is a match for any middle distance performer in the UK and Ireland. He has won only one of his four races since landing the Ladbrokes Gold Cup at Monmore in August but has been slightly unlucky and it would be dangerous to dismiss him given his undoubted class

Kranky Damo has won two of his seven starts since joining Seamus Cahill in the summer. He arrived with a good reputation from Ireland following two wins from three starts. He tracked cleverly to lead off the second bend to win at the semi-final stage and might just be coming to hand at the right time for his talented trainer.

Makeit Bigtime, trained locally by Frank Gray, ran a cracker when beaten three lengths by Bubbly Bluebird in the semi-finals. He is the only wide seed and as such gets trap six. That is an advantage and it would come as no surprise if he was up with the pace around the first and second turns.

The John Smith’s Kent Derby Final Draw

1 Kranky Damo

2 Barricane Tiger

3 Bubbly Bluebird

4 Jaytee Spartacus

5 Droopys Who

6 Makeit Bigtime (w)

The John Smith’s Kent Derby Semi-Finals – September 25

First Semi-Final

Bubbly Bluebird (trap two) recorded his ninth straight success. Paul Young’s broke pretty much with the pack but quickly accelerated to join leader Makeit Bigtime (trap six) around the first and second turns. His trademark pace along the far side then became a factor as he edged ahead approaching the third turn. Clubber Lang (trap four) also made eye-catching progress to the penultimate bend but he was forced to check approaching the turn when Bubbly Bluebird took his ground. At this point Bubbly Bluebird went on to register a three-length win over Makeit Bigtime in 28.79sec. (normal)


Second Semi-Final

Jaytee Spartacus (trap three) and Peregrine Falcon (trap one) broke clear of the field. The latter moved off at the first bend and, in doing so, held up Jaytee Spartacus. That manoeuvre, however, created space against the inside rail which My Mate Max (trap four) was keen to exploit. Glencroft Rumble (trap five) and Golovkin (trap six) were both very badly hampered at the first bend. My Mate Max led briefly between the first and second turns but Kranky Damo (trap two), who had been slowly away, delivered a devastating turn of speed to take it up on the outside off the second bend. The Seamus Cahill-trained runner quickly went on. A battle for the remaining qualifying place was won by Jaytee Spartacus. But he was five lengths shy of Kranky Damo at the line. The Hove dog posted 28.95sec (normal).

Third Semi-Final

Only five runners started following the withdrawal of Ascot Woodie (lame) which left trap six vacant. To my eye this was the best of the round. Certainly on the clock the 28.60sec (normal) posted by Droopys Who was superior to the other two semi-finals but visually this was also very good. The Richard Rees-trained Droopys Who (trap four) had a sense of urgency from the start and quickly went ahead. Barricane Tiger (trap three) was squeezed for room on the run-up when Droopys Acrobat (trap two), also trained by Rees, moved to the middle, but Barricane Tiger rode the trouble well and went into second before the first bend. Both Droopys Acrobat, Teejays Apache (trap five) and to a lesser extent Starring Storm (trap one) were involved in trouble at the first bend, as Droopys Who went on followed by Barricane Tiger. The pair drew clear of the field and were separated by just a length at the wire.