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Racing Post Greyhound TV Scottish Derby Semi Final Review/Final Preview - Shawfield 480M - £20,000

NORMALLY a greyhound who breaks the track record in both the heats and semi-finals of a competition starts hot favourite for the decider. But Droopys Buick, who has set new figures in both preliminary rounds of the RPGTV Scottish Derby, will almost certainly go to the traps at odds against, and he isn’t even favourite with some bookmakers who are betting on Saturday’s final of the £20,000-to-the-winner competition.

Such is the depth of quality in the Category One annual that Angela Harrison’s GBGB Greyhound of the Year for 2016 may well start second favourite to Dorotas Woo Hoo in the 480-metre contest that will decide the destiny of one of the most coveted titles in greyhound racing.

The Scottish Derby has a proud history of producing fantastic finals and exceptional winners, and whoever is successful on Saturday will join a roll of honour that includes the likes of Swift Hoffman (2015), Fear Me (2006), Chart King (1999), Some Picture (1997) and Special Account (1982) to name but a handful. Only Chart King amongst those was trained in Ireland but a further eight winners of the event were trained in the Emerald Isle.

Charlie Lister has been easily the most success trainer in the event of those that have finalist this weekend. The man who was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen for his services to greyhound racing is bidding for his sixth success and in the shape of Dorotas Woo Hoo he has a greyhound fully equipped to do the job.

The May 2015 youngster is a member of the dominant Ballymac Vic – Droopys Daneel litter. He has been exceptional both in defeat behind Droopys Buick and in victory over the brilliant Good News at the semi-final stage when only one hundredth of a second outside Droopys Buick. Dorotas Woo Hoo is the only seeded runner in the final and as such starts from a favourable trap six.

Droopys Buick, fifth in the Scottish Derby last year, has pretty much dominated the competition since the start and he bettered his own track record in both rounds. He is clearly in fabulous form but connections are not the type to get carried away and they will be mindful of the fabulous performance put up by Dorotas Woo Hoo – 18 months younger – against their charge at the first round stage.

Ireland is represented by Coolavanny Mason and Good News, both of whom have good prospects of making their presence felt. The former is trained by Pat Buckley who won the Scottish Derby in 2009. Good News is an extremely talented runner trained by Pat Guilfoyle. He was beaten on merit by Dorotas Woo Hoo at the semi-final stage but gives the impression he has more to deliver.

I’ve enjoyed watching the Kevin Boon-trained Knockard Spring, the least race in the line-up, during the competition. He has shown an enthusiasm for his racing and looks the type to come on, particularly with an impressive burst of pace along the far side. He will have to pull something big out of the bag to score, as will Azzurri Genesis, who defeated Knockard Spring at the semi-final stage.

Azzurri Genesis has caught the eye with some cracking performances and is no forlorn hope. Pat Rosney, his trainer, knows what it takes to win this competition having been successful with Swift Hoffman a couple of years ago.

The Final Line-Up

1 Coolavanny Mason

2 Knockard Spring

3 Azzurri Genesis

4 Good News

5 Droopys Buick

6 Dorotas Woo Hoo (w)

 

WHAT CONNECTIONS HAD TO SAY

Jimmy Wright (Assistant to Angela Harrison, the trainer of Droopys Buick): “We’ve been delighted with his performances and are looking forward to the final. I wouldn’t say he is a faster dog than last year just a more experienced one, which brings its own benefits. He has been coming out of his races really well and that is probably down to the fact that he had the winter off. As for the draw, it is what it is. There is no good or bad draw, until the dogs come out of the boxes. Only then will the draw be either favourable or a handicap. Assuming all goes well on Saturday, he will be going to Towcester afterwards. We have not decided whether or not he will trial or race before the Derby starts.”

 

HOW THE SEMI-FINALS UNFOLDED

First Semi-Final

You must go back to before the Second World War to find the only dog to successfully defend the Scottish Derby. Olives Best was the name of the greyhound and he was steered to victory in 1934-35 by Wembley trainer Arthur ‘Doc’ Callanan. The chances therefore of Hot Pipe becoming second dog to do it were slim before this event and non-existent afterwards as he failed to qualify in sixth place. It was the easiest of the semi-finals but that ought not be allowed to detract from what was an impressive performance from Azzuri Genesis as the Pat Rosney-trained runner saw off both Stay Loose and latterly Knockard Spring to earn a place in the final by half a length in 29.30sec (0.40sec fast). It is worth noting that the youngest runner in this contest led home the second youngest and there was plenty to like about the effort from Knockard Spring who showed plenty of foot along the far side to challenge Azzuri Genesis at the third bend.

Second Semi-Final

This was an absolute thriller between two extremely classy greyhounds in Dorotas Woo Hoo and Good News. The latter, trained in Ireland by Pat Guilfoyle, will probably be forever known as the dog for whom a bid of €43,000 was declined at Shelbourne Park’s Unraced Sales last year. But he is more than that. He is a top class dog who will, one day, land a big competition. Whether it will be Saturday’s final remains to be seen. Certainly, Good News will have to turn the table on Dorotas Woo Hoo. The May’ 15 youngster could have been more impressive than he was giving a dog of the calibre of Good News a start and a beating but that is what happened in this thrilling contest. Once an order was established from a level start, Good News took up the running at the first turn on the inside. Dorotas Woo Hoo also showed good early pace on the outside and it was clear off the second turn that the winner would come from one of these two. As it transpired Dorotas Woo Hoo had the legs of Good News from the third turn and went on to score by a shade under three lengths in 28.61sec (0.40sec fast) – one hundredth of a second outside the track record.

Third Semi-Final

No sooner had the excitement died down after the sizzling run in the second semi-final from not only Dorotas Woo Hoo but also Good News then Droopys Buick took the stage. The dog trained by Angela Harrison has been a star in Glasgow going back to last year when he reached the Scottish Derby final unbeaten only to fail at the last hurdle. Punters at Shawfield have really taken him to their hearts and they roared their approval as he blasted clear from trap two. Pat Buckley’s Coolavanny Mason gave chase throughout and appeared to be closing ever so slightly on the leader approaching the third turn. However, perhaps sensing the danger, Droopys Buick found another gear and went on to score by two and three quarters of a length from Coolavanny Mason in 28.55sec (0.40sec fast) an improvement of five spots on his previous best by the GBGB Greyhound of the Year for 2016.