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Sunbets 71st East Anglian Derby - Yarmouth 462m - £15,000


MURRYS ACT (above) raced to the joint third fastest ever time for Yarmouth’s 462m at the seaside venue on Wednesday as the Sunbets 71st East Anglian Greyhound Derby got off to a sensational start - Kevin Boon’s Champion Stakes winner continuing his fantastic year as he raced to a 27.27sec (+10) success in heat three, just ten spots off Fear Zafonic’s clock.


Breaking well from trap five, and pacing up into the turn, the Juvenile champion was slightly bumped as he cut across fast-starting Barricane Jack but was soon in full flow and drew clear to lead home 2015 champion Do It For Twiggy by eight and a quarter lengths to set the standard in the 48-runner annual, worth £15,000 to the winner.


The in-form Boon was to later land a Yarmouth Derby double as the King’s Lynn handler struck in heat five with Knockard Spring who, like Murrys Act, was a Towcester Derby entry earlier this year. Leading into the turn, the son of Kinloch Brae stopped the clock in 27.52sec as he led home fellow qualifiers Marians Dream and You Little Jimbo.


Heat of the night on paper looked to be heat eight and it was Bubbly Bluebird, ante-post favourite for the competition, who came through it to strike for Paul Young. Breaking well and moving middle into the turn, he bumped the fast-starting Autumn Fluent aside before going on to beat Burgess Sugarray and the staying-on Newinn Shadow by four and a three-quarter lengths in 27.63sec.


The eight heats kicked off with dual Derby finalist Hiya Butt making no mistake as he drew alongside fast-starting kennelmate Roxholme Will Iam at the bend and went on to register yet another success in a distinguished career as he stopped the clock in 27.51sec, landing a one-two for trainer Hayley Keightley. Droopys Who finished third here.


The other heats were won by Sean Davy’s Theos Rocket (27.77sec), Kevin Hutton’s pair of Forest Chunk (27.50sec) and Velvet Blaze (27.87sec), while Bubbly Turbo (28.03sec) helped his trainer Paul Young match the heat doubles notched by the Boon and Hutton camps when always on the premises in a narrow verdict over Russelena Planet in heat seven.


Ben Mannall, part of the racing office team at Yarmouth, described the action on Wednesday as “fantastic” and rates the year’s East Anglian Derby the best he has been involved in during his ten years-plus at the Franklin family-owned venue. Speaking during yesterday’s trials session there, he said the Derby plus the supporting competitions there are shaping up well.


“We had a great response to the Derby this year. It was oversubscribed, and the quality is second to none,” he said. “When you’ve got two Derby finalists in there - Murrys Act and Hiya Butt - you know you’re talking high quality and the entry thereafter was very strong. It was superb to have Erica Samuels’ Do It For Twiggy in there - and for him to qualify for the second round.


“I think Murrys Act was brilliant - he blew us all away. I’m sure he’ll face tough opposition in time, especially in terms of some of the faster starters we have in the Derby, but he could improve still more. He ran a great sprint trial here, but even so it was a great effort to record the fastest time here this year - and the third best overall.


“Hiya Butt is a class act, we all know that. He was actually led by his kennel mate Roxholme Will Iam, but just ran the track beautifully - and again there’s more to come you’d think as he gets even more used to it here. Overall, I thought the racing was terrific, the track ran well, and we’re looking forward to a really busy but exciting period here.”


The second round of the Sunbets 71st East Anglian Greyhound Derby takes place at Yarmouth on Monday, while Tuesday sees the closing date for both supporting competitions - the Greene King IPA Sprint and the Derby Purse. The finals of those events, plus the Derby itself, takes place live on Sky Sports on Thursday. September 21.



Quarter-final form draw: