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William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon 480M

EDEN THE KID can come off best in what should be a thrilling encounter with Droopys Roddick in the seventh third round heat of the William Hill Derby (480m) at Wimbledon on Saturday.

With the exception of Derby final night, the third round is traditionally the best-attended and most exciting of the whole competition. It means the final 48 from an entry of more than 200 runners are in action on the same night.

The draw has thrown up some cracking heats and the clash between Eden The Kid and Droopys Roddick at 8.51pm is right up there amongst the best.

Eden The Kid has drawn trap four for the third time in the competition and continues to go from strength to strength. You get the impression connections expect Droopys Roddick to continue to improve and the RFS Puppy Derby winner will appreciate a draw closer to the fence, and lest not forget You Never Listen, a most tenacious battler, drawn in trap one.

With a couple of runs in or around the 28.20sec mark already under his belt there is no real reason to oppose Eden The Kid and it should pay to side with the ante-post favourite over Droopys Roddick.

All eight heats are on Sky Sports 3 Red Button. Here’s how we expect them to be won.

Heat One (7.11pm): Ballymac Brogan clocked 28.28sec last week and still got beaten. It is worth noting that it was Eden The Kid who caught Seamus Cahill’s Arc winner, so no disgrace there then. This is a fantastic race to get the round under way. There is plenty of early-foot with, in addition to Ballymac Brogan, Blue Cafu and Old Joe Golden in the line-up. Ballymac Brogan’s draw in trap five, though, could be crucial, and on that basis preference is for him.

Heat Two (7.26pm): Jaytee Dutch performed heroics to get up and win last time. A place in the first three looked a touch optimistic at one stage, so to win was incredible. Droopys Latina caught the eye with a sizzling run behind Ballymac Matt at the second round stage. He has huge speed between the second and third bends and is a big contender. California goes up well on the outside. All things considered it looks like Jaytee Dutch from Droopys Latina but it could be really tight.

Heat Three (7.43pm): Ballymac Matt sent a message of intent to those unconvinced by his first run in the competition with a red-hot 28.05sec at the second round stage – the fastest so far in the competition. The Irish Derby winner is well drawn in trap one and can go round in front to score. Lenson Sanchez won the Puppy Derby over course and distance in 2014. He’s getting better and better with every run and looks the forecast link over Calzaghe Billy.

Heat Four (7.59pm): Southfield Jock has a better than 50 per cent strike rate and is unbeaten in the event thus far. That record ought to stay intact in what is arguably the least competitive contest of the round. There is so much to like about Southfield Jock who has the pace-up to lead before the first bend, and he should score at the main expense of Olympic winner Holdem Chico.

Heat Five (8.16pm): This is a fabulous contest. Domino Storm defends her eight-race unbeaten record against the powerhouse that is Jaytee Jet and the progressive talent of Cloran Paddy. Those three are the likely principal players. Domino Storm is freakish in her consistency but she may have met her match in Jaytee Jet who can scoot round the outside to score. Cloran Paddy is open to huge improvement and is trained by Charlie Lister, who only happens to have won seven Derbies!

Heat Six (8.33pm): Hiya Butt has really impressed me up to now, and is there a tighter railer left in the competition? He really does need trap one and should prove quick enough from trap rise to carry the red jacket to an all-the-way success. Crossfield Molly has a huge heart and talent to go with it. She gets my vote for the forecast with the likelihood of a clear run as the only wide seed. Irish Derby finalist Peregrine Falcon might be best of the rest.

Heat Seven (8.51pm): Has already been discussed at the start. It should be a great buckle with Eden The Kid who is fancied to prevail.

Heat Eight (9.08pm): I was completely taken by the pace and power of Lenson Rocky at the second round stage and fancy Pat Buckley’s raider here, although I’m not 100 per cent certain about the draw in trap one. The dog who loses his puppy status next month looks a middle runner to me but is classy enough for it not to be too big an issue here. Boyneside Fun has been quietly going about his business and has won both preliminary rounds. He must come into the reckoning. Clondotty Alex could also play a part.

TRAINER QUOTES

Rab McNair (whose wife Liz trains Eden The Kid): “It’s a really good heat and at this stage it’s all about qualifying. I always say you don’t have to win every battle to win a war. I’m delighted with the way he is running and he is deriving the benefit of reaching the Derby final last year. He’s by Westmead Hawk - and like all Westmeads he is improving with age. He’s an absolute pleasure to train – in fact he trains himself.”