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William Hill Greyhound Derby - Wimbledon 480M

IT doesn’t pay to write off Charlie Lister, particularly where the William Hill Derby is concerned. And, as if to prove the point, the man who has won the sport’s biggest race more times than any other, coaxed a performance right out of the top drawer from Cloran Paddy in Tuesday’s quarter-finals.

I wasn’t the biggest surprise that Cloran Paddy won. He has been steadily improving through the competition. It was more about the fact he came from behind Lenson Rocky, one of the most progressive talents in the sport, to win by a short-head and in doing so he clocked a rapid 28.02sec.

With the talented Jaytee Dutch a couple of lengths back in third, after leading, it was without doubt the best run on a night when home-trained runners won all four quarter-finals but six Irish-trained greyhounds made it through to the semi-finals by dominating the minor places.

Hiya Butt was the next best on the clock when posting 28.22sec in the third quarter-final. There is something engaging about this honest greyhound who just keeps breaking well and making all. They say he is vulnerable to a fast-finisher but I reckon it would take a herculean effort to wrest a jealously guarded lead from Hayley Keightley’s dog in full flight.

Certainly Jaytee Jet couldn’t do it on Tuesday. Many will point to the numerous lengths made up by Jaytee Jet after another shoddy start but a quick break is an important part of a greyhound’s weaponry – a point Hiya Butt understands well.

Jaytee Jet finished second and ultimately became the only wide seed to make the frame. The judge was called into action to decide third with Peregrine Falcon, trained in Ireland by Pat Curtin, getting the better of his compatriot Droopys Latina, whose promise was never fulfilled during the competition.

Is there a more consistent dog in training than Southfield Jock? It’s doubtful given that the Seamus Cahill-trained early-pacer registered his 22 win from 42 starts when producing another textbook display of front-running to take the second quarter-final by a length and a half from Shaneboy Freddie, with Blue Cafu in third.

Southfield Jock was the only favourite from the four Derby quarter-finals to prevail when holding a Kevin Boon’s persistent son of Oaks Road in the closing stages.

Cahill got his second runner though to the semi-finals when Ballymac Brogan was the runner-up to Bubbly Turbo, who led at the first bend, in the fourth qualifier. With Droopys Roddick coming from an extremely difficult position to take third ahead of kennelmate Lenson Sanchez. The winning time was 28.37sec.

 

WHAT THE CONNECTIONS HAD TO SAY

Mark Keightley, husband of Hayley, trainer of Hiya Butt: “He is progressing through the ranks. He has met some very good greyhounds tonight and has come through the test. He’s very focussed. Hayley and the team are doing a great job. Both Hayley and I are proud to have been given the chance to train a dog of this calibre and so far so good.”

Seamus Cahill, the trainer of Southfield Jock: “The one dog (Blue Cafu) didn’t come away and as a result we got a lovely run to the first bend. Both Jock and Ballymac Brogan are running extremely well but at this stage its’ all about getting a bit of luck. Everything is going well with them and long may it continue.”

Steve Fluin, of the Champagne Club, the owners of Bubbly Turbo: “I cannot believe it. When he got led (by Ballymac Brogan) I thought we were beaten. We’ve been knocked out of the competition at the semi-final stage three times and if we can finish in the first three on Saturday, we will have our first Derby finalist in 13 years as a syndicate. He’s the youngest dog (July 2014) left in the competition.”

WILLIAM HILL DERBY SEMI-FINALS 28/05/2014

The First Semi

1 Lenson Rocky

2 Cloran Paddy

3 Peregrine Falcon

4 Southfield Jock

5 Blue Cafu

6 Bubbly Turbo (m)

 

A fabulous race with no end of possible outcomes. There is plenty of pace on the inside with Lenson Rocky and Cloran Paddy. More pace in the middle with Southfield Jock and Blue Cafu – what will he do from trap five – and Peregrine Falcon and the progressive Bubbly Turbo, possibly best drawn of the sextet. I think it could come down to a fast-finisher and with that in mind I will side with Cloran Paddy to confirm quarter-final form over Lenson Rocky.

 

Second Semi Final

1 Hiya Butt

2 Jaytee Dutch

3 Droopys Roddick

4 Shaneboy Freddie

5 Ballymac Brogan (m)

6 Jaytee Jet (w)

The hugely likeable Hiya Butt looks set for another electric start in the red jacket. Ballymac Brogan will also surely be up with speed also in the early stages, Jaytee Dutch doesn’t seem to be at his best but could turn it on at any stage and those same comments apply to Droopys Roddick. Jaytee Jet, a brother of Dutch and the ante-post favourite, holds the key to the race. If he traps it’s all over, but, if as he has done a couple of times during the competition, he misses it then it’s game on. Shaneboy Freddie is tough and determined.