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

 

FOREST CHUNK (above) defeated red-hot favourite Bubbly Bluebird on his way to setting the fastest time in the quarter-finals of the Sunbets 71st East Anglian Greyhound Derby at Yarmouth on Monday night.

 

Trained by Kevin Hutton, the July 15 son of Tullymurry Act and Forest May - a half-brother of Oaks champion Forest Twilight - broke well and set the pace down the middle in heat two and was never headed as he stopped the clock in 27.44sec (+10), winning by three and three-quarter lengths.

 

Roxholme Will Iam finished second here, edging Bubbly Bluebird (4-6F), who was moderately away before closing down the back. They join Forest Chunk in Saturday’s semis of the £15,000 annual, the final of which takes place on Thursday, September 21, live on Sky Sports.

 

Murrys Act (EvsF) was fastest in the first round, but Kevin Boon’s Derby finalist had to show all his battling qualities just to make the last-12 stage as he rallied up the home straight after crowding at the first and fourth bends to finish third in a blanket finish to the first heat.

 

Ironically it was a kennelmate at Boon’s, Scottish Derby finalist Knockard Spring (7-2), who landed the spoils here, the two-year-old staying on best up the straight to edge out longtime leader and last year’s runner-up Bubbly Turbo by three-quarters of a length and a short-head in 27.84sec.

 

It meant Do It For Twiggy, champion two years ago, missed out - beaten just a short-head for third place by Murrys Act. Minglers Toure was another short-head behind local star Do It For Twiggy, which meant just a length covered the first five home in the 462m contest.

 

Peterborough Derby champion Hiya Butt continued his fantastic run of form with another impressive front-running success in heat three as Hayley Keightley’s dog kept his sights set firmly on another piece of major silverware when winning in 27.52sec.

 

He led home Newinn Shadow and Thomas Golden here, with the former giving Charlie Lister OBE a Yarmouth Derby semi-finalist for the umpteenth time. Lister has trained a record 11 Yarmouth Derby winners and the competition at the seaside venue is a firm favourite.

 

Hazel Kemp’s You Little Jimbo will line up as the young semi-finalist after the August 15 whelp landed a 12-1 surprise in the fourth quarter-final as he hit the front on the dash to the bend and kept Barricane Jack at bay by a half a length in 27.85sec. Russelena Planet was third here.

 

Looking ahead to the semi-finals at the weekend, Kevin Boon has two runners through with Knockard Spring and Murrys Act representing the King’s Lynn handler at his local venue. He summed up the quarter-finals as follows:

 

“I thought Murrys ran a great race to qualify. He must have been stopped in his tracks at least four or five times, and had to battle just to get up. I thought he was going to be alright, but then Minglers Toure rallied off the last bend and the pressure was on to get round him.

 

“Murrys always gives you a chance. He goes off the front and clocks 27.27sec, then gets stopped five times and still goes under 28 seconds. Knockard Spring is even younger than Murrys, and he again pulled it out to win his quarter-final.

 

“I thought he’d lead, and couldn’t win if he didn’t, but he’s also battled back to win. This dog has tremendous early pace and, if he could only trap like Mark and Hayley’s dog (Hiya Butt) week in, week out, then he’d be a champion like him I’m sure. 

 

“Ours is seven out of ten at the start, theirs is ten out of ten! It’s a shame my two have been drawn in the same semi, but we’ll give it a real go. It’s a tough draw for Knockard between Hiya Butt and Kevin’s dog (Forest Chunk) but he can give a good account of himself..

 

“Murrys Act will do his best, and we’ll likely go and see Ron Mills this week with the dogs. It’s great for us and the greyhound world that Ron is back up and raring to go again - he’s been a bit under-par of late. But we’re delighted he's back and getting his hands on our dogs again!”