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William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon 480M

If consistency gets its reward then Southfield Jock must be right up there in the front line to pick up the William Hill Derby winner’s cheque for £150,000 on June 4.

By winning heat 24 of the 480-metre Category One in a slick 28.27sec – the second fastest of the session – Seamus Cahill’s dog was registering his 21st victory from 39 career starts. He has been second seven times, and third four times. Southfield Jock has only ever raced in open class.

A fantastic record by anyone’s standards, and one that ought to make him a serious player in a William Hill Derby that, with two thirds of the first round now completed, is shaping up as one of the most competitive in recent years.

Another with a smashing record – albeit from a smaller number of runs – is Bramble Magpie. Steve Anderson’s dog has won half of his 10 races to date and he saved his most impressive success for Friday evening when posting a fastest-of-the-night 28.32sec in heat 22.

It was Bramble Magpie’s first run since he was knocked over in the final of the Midland Puppy Derby at Monmore on March 17 but he clearly hasn’t suffered any adverse effects on the evidence of this near five-length victory over highly regarded Irish raider Double Oh Seven.

Ireland had three winners on a night to compliment the four trainers from there achieved on Thursday.

The first of those on Friday was Droopys Latina, for Robert Gleeson, who is one of the younger generation of trainers, but one who has already tasted Derby success following the victory of Slippery Robert in the Irish Derby in 2013.

Droopys Latina left it late but got up in the closing stages to deny Queen Asia and early leader Black Adler by a lengths and three quarters and a short-head in 28.49sec.

Lenson Sanchez, the RFS Puppy Derby winner over track and trip in 2014, provided the other Irish success for Pat Buckley in heat 25. The Len Ponder-owned dog stayed on best close home to prevail by three parts of a length from Ajlo Legalbeagle in 28.55sec.

And the night ended on a high for Ireland when the Pat Curtin-trained Peregrine Falcon took it up soon after the start to defeat the respected Teds Last by three lengths, also in 28.55sec.

The winner might be something of a “dark horse”. He has taken some notable scalps in his career and was narrowly beaten in the Irish Derby final last year.

I don’t think there is a closer railer in the Derby than Hiya Butt. The Hayley Keightley-trained dog can also lay claim to being one of the quickest to the first corner – certainly if his 04.63sec split is anything to go by. He made all to beat Monty Don by four lengths in a smart 28.42sec to confirm 10-11 favouritism.

It was an okay night for favourite backers but one who let them down was Ballymac Brogan, who at 4-11 you would have thought would have been the cornerstone of any number of accumulators.

Ballymac Brogan had to accept second behind Viking Jack. The winner was a semi-finalist last year for Kinsley trainer Jim Hayton and still has plenty in the locker despite approaching his fourth birthday in June.

Viking Jack made all to win by two and a half lengths in 28.52sec, a time that was just one hundredth of a second slower than Irish Derby winner Ballymac Matt who got his campaign off to a winning start by beating You Never Listen, amongst others, by two and a half lengths in 28.52sec.

Heat 20 cut up badly. It started as a five dog heat but was reduced to four runners by the withdrawal of Droopys Buick, who is off colour. The race then produced the shock result of the night when 20-1 chance Torphin Bluesky made all in 28.64sec. Cloran Paddy was an eye-catching runner-up, but Gyp Rosetti and Diego Flight, a semi-finalist last year, were eliminated as only two went through.

Torphin Bluesky, incidentally, is part-owned by Ray White. The Kent-based currency dealer has a tremendous record in the Derby having won it three times – twice with Rapid Ranger (2000 and 2001) and on the other occasion with Bandicoot Tipoki (2010).

 

TRAINER QUOTES

 

Robert Gleeson (Droopys Latina): “He is not breaking as well and he can – but these are not the same traps as he is used to – and is not really running the track as smoothly as I would have hoped – which is strange because he went round well in his very first trial – but both of those things can get better. I was pleased with him tonight because he had to work hard to win and got there eventually. I think he will continue to improve as he hadn’t done a great deal in the months leading up to coming over and I’m looking forward to what the draw throws up on Sunday. I will be happy if he gets either trap two or three because that is where he wants to run.”