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Star Sports Derby - Towcester 500m - £175,000


Whoops Jack (T5) getting up to catch Dorotas Widlcat on the line in the second semi-final


THE stage is set for the world’s greatest greyhound race - the £175,000-to-the-winner Star Sports English Greyhound Derby Final.


Owners are trainers representing five of the finalists gathered at the traditional Greyhound Derby luncheon in London on Wednesday - connections of Droopys Verve sent their apologies and wished their rivals all the best for Saturday.


Ben Keith of sponsors Star Sports welcomed the staging of the lunch in White City, given the great history of the sport associated with the old stadium, which staged Derbys between 1927 and 1984. He paid tribute to the Towcester management for their efforts.


“Being in White City is certainly a nod to the sport’s heritage, and a great move for the lunch,” he said. “But I welcome Towcester’s new vision for the sport. They had a successful first Derby last year and we hope for the same on Saturday, and I’m sure we’ll get it.


“It’s been a tough one for us as a company - punters have definitely had the best of it, and four of the dogs in the final are losers for us. But we’re still in there with a chance and, on ‘Double Derby’ day we’ll be represented at both Epsom and Towcester!”



Saturday’s Star Sports English Greyhound Derby Final line-up:



Trap 1 Bombers Bullet


bk d Droopys Cain-Headford Hoe, April 2015


Owners: The Bruiser Boyz


Trainer: Mark Wallis, Towcester


Breeder: Brendan Kenny, Knockanevin, Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary



Trainer says: “It’s great to have two finalists and to win our third Derby would be special of course. I probably didn't realise how good this dog was until he trialled at Towcester before the Derby - after running in the Henlow Maiden Gold Cup. He wasn't that far off the time Bruisers clocked, and he’s really improved throughout. Am not sure I’d have placed them together, but we know their strengths and perhaps one of them can get away to a flier - maybe both!”




Trap 2 Bruisers Bullet 


bk d Droopys Cain-Clover Bride, May 2015


Owners: The Bruiser Boyz


Trainer: Mark Wallis, Towcester


Breeder: Michael Walsh, Knocknagoshel, Co. Kerry



Trainer says: “I’m delighted for the owners to have got a second runner through and I’m sure the lads - Billy Boyle, Stephen Potter, Alan Mills, Greg Hatcher and Brian Donnelly - will have a great night. Actually, I think they’ve had a great week! We know this dog has great class and made the semis last year, then came out on final night and was outstanding. He’s been in most of the top events and won the Olympic at Hove. It’s a big night, and he's a a big player. Fingers crossed.





Trap 3 Dorotas Wildcat 


bk d Ballymac Vic-Droopys Danneel, May 2015


Owners: Kevin Hutton and Dave Usher


Trainer: Kevin Hutton, Towcester


Breeder: Jim Gurney, Gloucester 



Trainer says: “It’s been a really difficult two weeks for us since the break-in, and we are still missing Monkey (Jovial Monk). That has overshadowed everything we do, but the Wildcat has kept our spirits up. He’s been fantastic and I really do feel he’s better equipped this year than last. We’ve worked on trying to help with his trapping and it’d be great if he came away on the night - because we all known what incredible pace this dog has. He’s a real star for us.”





Trap 4 Droopys Verve (m)


bk d Loughteen Blanco-Droopys Cyclone, June 2016


Owner: The Conlon Family


Trainer: Angela Harrison, Newcastle


Breeder: Sean Dunphy, Portlaw, Co. Waterford



Trainer says: “This is a dream come true for us. We’ve been lucky to be involved with some top-quality greyhounds like Droopys Buick and Walshes Hill and won some big races - but nothing compares to this. This is the English Derby Final - it’s what we all aim for. It’s special for us and the owners, but special for this dog too. He’s been a pup throughout the Derby, and only turned two the day before the final. He’s got class and pace. We couldn't have asked for more.”






Trap 5 Dorotas Vic (w)


bk d Ballymac Vic-Droopys Danneel, May 2015


Owners: Paul Brown, Alan Clarke, Jamie Naylor and Luke Thornley


Trainer: Charlie Lister OBE, Doncaster


Breeder: Jim Gurney, Gloucester


Trainer says: “It’s always great to have a Derby finalist - and it’d be nice to make it eight wins. He’s the outsider, but don't rule him out - who knows, he might come away! They’re a great litter and his brother Woo Hoo won a Scottish Derby for the same lads who own Vic who are a good bunch - they enjoyed the lunch! It’s a good final and we’ve given ourselves a chance by getting this far. The lads backed him each-way, so that part of the job is done!





Trap 6 Whoops Jack (w)


bk d Jacksagem-Whoopsadaisy, January 2015


Owner: Larry O’Shea


Trainer: Peter Cronin, Ireland


Breeder: Margaret Walsh, Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny




Trainer says: “We’ve had him since five weeks old - my wife bred the litter - so Jack is very much part of the team. We stayed the duration with Paul Foster in Swindon and him and his wife Mandy have been fantastic - it’s always a commitment for Irish trainers to compete in the English Derby.