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Star Sports Derby - Towcester 500m - £175,000 - Third round preview

Rising Brandy (T2) runs in heat 4

TOWCESTER chief executive Kevin Ackerman is looking forward to the Northamptonshire track hosting another decent crowd at the weekend as the third round of the Star Sports English Greyhound Derby takes centre-stage there - the last Saturday during the duration of the Derby when entry will be free.

“We’ve got Saturday, and then Tuesday’s quarter-finals when there’ll be no entry charge, but come the semi-finals and final we ARE charging and tickets are selling quite well. People can still pay on the nights of Saturday, May 26, and Saturday, June 2, but there are deals on the website to get both nights for £20.

“It’s a fantastic weekend in many ways with the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup, but the doors will be open early for those football fans wanting to see the game - and, of course, we welcome any racegoers who want to carry on their Royal Wedding street parties here at Towcester! Third-round night is one of the best meetings of the year, so all in all it should be a cracker.

Chris Page, Towcester's racing manager, said Saturday’s third round was arguably better than last year, with a number of top-class clashes in the offing and, in the case of heat four, one of the races of the entire Derby given it again pits Monmore Puppy Derby winner Rising Brandy against this year’s fastest qualifier Bruisers Bullet.

“They produced a great race in the second round, and we expect the same come Saturday. But you’ve also got Irish star Swithins Brae, the cracking early pace of Bubbly Turbo, and those two terrific strong runners, Droopys Bonucci and Calico Ranger. We did the draw in Lord Hesketh’s box late on Saturday - and that’s the heat that drew the most attention.

“King Elvis versus Black Farren looks another cracker in heat five. Elvis ran in the last second round heat on Saturday, and the weather wasn't particularly great, but he came through it well, and Black Farren has the Derby form in the book given he’s been in an Irish and Scottish Derby final already. But you couldn't rule out the others in that heat either.

“In fact Greenwell Jet goes in that heat and, along with Honour Turbo, means we have two Scottish-based runners left in the competition joining the English runners and a typically strong Irish challenge. Mention should also be made of the youngest runner left in the third round which is Jaytee Taylor, who is only a September 16.

“Shaneboy Freddie is the oldest runner left in the last 47 [Bull Run Bandit was withdrawn on Monday] given he turns five years old in July. It’s a tremendous achievement by Kevin’s [Boon] dog, who is competing in his third English Derby now. He’s got a real fan club and hopefully runs another big race for connections at the weekend.”

Martin Chapman of sponsors Star Sports reported business ahead of the Derby to be decent. “The heats are set up nicely, and we are still 7-1 the field, which brings together Dorotas Wildcat and Bruisers Bullet at the top of the market. I think that shows you we have another wide-open Greyhound Derby this year - unlike the horseracing one!”

Derby tickets:

Saturday’s third round of the Star Sports English Greyhound Derby:-

Heat one:

1 Bull Run Button

2 Bubbly Bluebird

3 Calico Brandy

4 Bombers Bullet

5 Black Zack (m)

6 King Eden (w)

Heat 2:

1 Honour Turbo

2 Noelles Phelpso

3 Burgess Brandy

4 Knockard Spring

5 Jelly Flood (m)

6 Dorotas Vic (w)

Heat 3:

1 Karlow Scolar

2 Cooneen Jack

3 Drive On Tipp

4 Crossfield Will

5 Sporting Dave (m)

6 Whoops Jack (w)

Heat 4:

1 Swithins Brae

2 Rising Brandy

3 Bruisers Bullet

4 Bubbly Turbo (m)

5 Droopys Bonucci (w)

6 Calico Ranger (w)

Heat 5:

1 Droopys Dresden

2 King Elvis

3 Black Farren

4 Greenwell Jet (m)

5 Jaytee Taylor (w)

6 Saleen Ash (w)

Heat 6:

1 Welloiledmachine

2 Dorotas Wildcat

3 Vacant

4 Salacres Vincent (m)

5 Boylesports Duke (w) 6 Newinn Shadow (w)

Heat 7:

1 Farloe Hutch

2 Shaneboy Freddie

3 Borna Gin

4 Alfies Prince (m)

5 Innocent Times (w)

6 Droopys Biker (w)

Heat 8:

1 Wildfire Legend

2 Bit View Knight

3 Distant Rain

4 Oioi Upenalty (m)

5 Droopys Verve (m)

6 Night Bomber (w)


Star Sports English Greyhound Derby dates:


Third round: Saturday, May 19


Quarter-finals:Tuesday, May 22


Semi-finals: Saturday. May 26


Final: Saturday, June 2