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William Hill Northern Puppy Derby - Newcastle 480m - £8,000


DROOPYS TRAWLER heads to the Greyhound Media Group Puppy Classic at Nottingham on Monday as winner of the William Hill Northern Puppy Derby after a brilliant success at Newcastle on Thursday.


The 8-1 chance, trained at Shawfield by Andrew Wood, finished best to take the £8,000 prize and land the Airdrie-based handler the biggest win of his career - as a trainer at least - in what was the October 2016 son of Laughil Blake and Droopys Sylvia’s fifth race.


Wood owned former GBGB Sprinter of the Year Walshes Hill, so is well used to handling silverware, but Thursday’s success for Droopys Trawler, who races in the name of John Wood, Andrew’s father, was extra special given he trains the youngster also.


“I’m not one for travelling really, and because we had dogs with Jimmy (Wright) over the years as a family we sent him Walshes Hill - and the rest is history,” added Wood, who always felt the red-jacket draw in the Newcastle final could help. 


“He always wanted the rails, and this was the first time he got the red,” he said. “We looked at the Puppy Plate but ended up keeping him back for Newcastle. We just felt this track would suit him more and we’re all made up. It’s Nottingham on Monday now.”


The proximity of the Newcastle and Nottingham competitions has meant no time for a trial, but connections are confident that Droopys Trawler’s style of running and the Colwick Park track itself will play to his strengths.


“He lacks some early, but does plenty afterwards, and has generally run tracks well first time,” he added. “He did 29.30sec at Shawfield which meant he was too good for the handicaps there, and then did 27.20sec first look in a trial at Sunderland.”


Bought from John Linehan, Droopys Trawler is a litter brother of the Angela Harrison-trained Droopys Trapper, who started favourite for Thursday’s final looking to defend his unbeaten record but did not enjoy the clearest of runs at the bend before finishing third.


Harrison-trained runners therefore finished second and third in the puppy feature with longtime leader Droopys Heron caught by the eventual winner on the run for home over the 480m trip. The winning time was 28.76sec.


“It’s great to win and is certainly our biggest success training,” added Wood. “We’ve had a few finalists, one in the St Mungo Cup and also in the Northern Puppy Derby with Stole My Baby, but this tops the lot.”


Ian Walton, Newcastle general manager, congratulated the Wood family, commenting: “Droopys Trawler showed that not always the highest-profile trainers win the big competitions, so well done to them, it was a great run.


“Overall the William Hill Northern Puppy Derby has been a great success. The event was well supported in terms of entries and the competition really has proved it deserves a stand-alone night. It’s been a great night’s racing here.”