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Derby Sponsor Looks Forward To The World's Greatest Greyhound Competition

Astute Missile winning last year's Star Sports Greyhound Derby

BEN KEITH, founder of sponsors Star Sports, has wished connections of all the runners in this year’s English Greyhound Derby the very best on the eve of the world’s greatest greyhound competition.

The first round of the £175,000-to-the-winner classic takes place this week across three nights - Thursday to Saturday - and Keith is excited about the prospect of just who will succeed last year’s winner Astute Missile, trained by Seamus Cahill.

“It’s a shame not to see the defending champion back, but that means a new name on the famous trophy - and we can’t wait,” said Keith. “Towcester’s first Derby last year was just fantastic, and I know they have plans to be even better this year.

“Right from the top they have a passion for the sport,” he added. “Lord Hesketh and his son Freddie really enjoy greyhound racing and Towcester is their pride and joy. The facilities are fantastic and final night last year was just a joy to behold.

“The Heskeths are supported by a strong team at Towcester headed by Kevin Ackerman [Towcester CEO] and Mick Livesey [head of greyhound operations], with Chris Page one of the most respected and experienced racing managers in the game at the racing helm

“What impresses me with Towcester is they do not fear trying new things. They look at things differently from most, and that’s something I admire,” added Keith. “They’re almost family now, it’s great doing business with them and long may that continue.”

Keith said his company were looking forward to embracing the Derby once again. “We have produced preview videos for our website and are getting into the Derby spirit with a host of speciality bets - from top trainer to fastest time and best sectionals.”

“Hopefully our Media Tipping competition will also be well received. We expanded it this year to include celebrity fans of the sport including Vinnie Jones, Steve Morison and John McCririck - and the GBGB are also represented. Hopefully they can all keep the greyhound experts on their toes!”

He welcomed the Irish challenge this year which he feels is particularly strong. “We have been getting decent support for a lot of Irish dogs, notably Droopys Biker,” he said. “Pat Buckley has gone close to winning an English Derby before and people feel Biker might be the one to do it.

“Having said that the Derby is hugely competitive,” he added. “Some 150 dogs line up and plenty can and will happen. We’re just hoping greyhound racing’s profile can been raised and improved again throughout the 2018 Star Sports English Greyhound Derby.”

Chris Page, Towcester’s racing manager, said the track was ready for what promises to be a hectic month of the Derby leading to the final on Saturday, June 2, and joined Keith in wishing connections all the best as the competition progress.

“I’m sure we will have our talking points, but that’s what makes the Derby so special. People are travelling from far and wide to see the best greyhounds in action - we’ve entries from across England, Ireland and Scotland - and we are proud to host them here at Towcester.”

Form for first round heats: www.bagsracing.com/2018-derby-schedule.html

 

Star Sports English Greyhound Derby dates:

 

First round: May 3,4,5

 

Second round: May 11,12

 

Third round: Saturday, May 19

 

Quarter-finals: Tuesday, May 22

 

Semi-finals: Saturday, May 26

 

Final: Saturday, June 2