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




YARMOUTH on Thursday stages one of the classiest East Anglian Derby Finals - the 71st running of the famous competition at the seaside venue - after Saturday's semi-finals of the 462m event, backed this year by Sunbets, produced the goods when it comes to stories ahead of the big race. 


Not only is Charlie Lister OBE eyeing a 12th Yarmouth Derby win with Newinn Shadow, but Bubbly Turbo is looking to go one better than last year's second behind Clondoty Alex. Throw in two Derby finalists and big-race winners aplenty in Bubbly Bluebird, Hiya Butt and Murrys Act, plus his improving kennelmate Knockard Spring, and you have an East Anglian Derby Final to match most others. 


The first semi-final went to recent Peterborough Derby champion Hiya Butt (pictured above), who showed his customary early dash to lead off the first bend and scorch clear of his field to win comfortably in 27.74sec (+10) to complete a fantastic 48 hours for trainer Hayley Keightley, who had the previous night sent out Roxholme Nidge to break the track record at Romford in a heat of the Puppy Cup.


Hiya Butt, a Derby finalist for the past two years, was maintaining an unbeaten record in the competition. However, all the drama here was unfolding in behind with an incredible race for the qualifying spots. Knockard Spring, trained by Kevin Boon, was always on the premises but the kennel’s Murrys Act, who was fastest in the first round with a flying 27.27sec, looked in real trouble after taking a knock from Forest Chunk at the first bend.


“He looked out of the competition, for sure,” said Ben Mannall of the Yarmouth racing office. “To then qualify as he did was amazing, he produced an incredible run from off the back to finish third - social media has gone mad for his run! Hiya Butt was again brilliant and is just proving a superstar for the Keightleys. He’s a senior now, but is running as well as ever. So to have him, a Derby finalist, with another Derby finalist in Murrys Act in our final is great.”


The second semi-final produced a one-two for the Paul Young camp as last year’s second Bubbly Turbo (27.76sec) paced up well and was always holding sway as he scored a three-and-a-half lengths win for kennelmate Bubbly Bluebird. The latter, the ante-post favourite, stayed on well after crowding to chase home the winner with Newinn Shadow also finishing fast up the home straight to cross the line in third place - and thus making the line-up for the £15,000 decider.


“It’s a great final and will the highlight of a busy week for us,” added Mannall. “It’s a festival here in Yarmouth and there will be plenty of visitors to the town taking in both the horse and greyhound racing meetings. We are racing Wednesday and Thursday nights, and the open-racing we have here on Thursday especially is top notch. The Sunbets East Anglian Derby final will be supported by the Derby Purse and Greene King IPA Sprint.”


Draw and form for Thursday’s finals: