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RPGTV 72nd East Anglian Derby - Yarmouth 462m - £15,000



AFFANE PARTY and Seaglass Phantom (pictured) roared into the final of the RPGTV 72nd East Anglian Greyhound Derby with victory in their respective semi-finals of the 462m annual at Yarmouth on Saturday.


The John Lambe-trained Affane Party was quickest on the clock as he made all in the second semi-final of the £15,000-to-the-winner annual at the seaside track, trapping smartly to get first run on favourite King Elvis which proved crucial.


“Finally, he’s trapped!” said a delighted and relieved Perry Barr trainer Lambe. “I really don't think the red-box at Yarmouth suits the faster starters, and I think coming off the fence in the two-box has helped him. Therefore, I’m also happy with three in the final.”


Affane Party, a top-class sprinter, has already landed the Fengate Collar over four bends and, win or lose on Thursday, the trainer is likely to keep the June 2015 son of Sparta Maestro and Affane Katie to the longer distances.


“I’m even thinking about the All England Cup at Newcastle, or a 525 yards race at Shelbourne on their Night of Stars evening. He’s staying well enough and we know he has great pace. I’m not sure we’ll go back now!”


Leading early, Affane Party came home two and three-quarter lengths clear of Liz McNair’s King Elvis to clock 27.36sec (+10), although the runner-up, the Greyhound of the Year, challenged the leader hard down the far side, with Doc Mac Arthure (David Pruhs) edging Holdem Zidane for third in a close-run battle for the qualifying places.


“It was a great run, and I’m delighted to be lining up in what will be our third Category One final. We had a finalist in the St Leger a few years back and Queen Adele reached the Lowther Stakes final last week - and I thought was unlucky.


“Hopefully the luck will be with us on Thursday. He’s fine and bouncing this morning and we’ll look forward to Thursday now. It’s a cracking final - and been a great event right from the start. It’s superb to be a part of it.”


Patrick Janssens duly won the first semi-final - but it was the younger Seaglass Phantom who powered home to win, with kennelmate and odds-on favourite Kilmore Lemon finishing third to give the now Central Park trainer two chances in the final.


Whiteys Rocket and Bubbly Turbo broke first, but in a crowded race at the first bend as Kilmore Lemon roared up to challenge, it was Seaglass Phantom, a November 2016 son of Droopys Jet and Beanfield Parke, who slipped to the front down the far side.


Thereafter, he raced away to win by five and three-quarter lengths in 27.49sec (+10) from Bubbly Bluebird (Paul Young), a Yarmouth Derby finalist last year, who lines up in another major final in the twilight of an illustrious career.


However, of his two runners in Thursday’s final, a proud Janssens said: “It’s great to have two in the final - and what a future Seaglass Phantom has in front of him. He’s getting better with each run.


“He actually ran into the back of the three-dog (Whiteys Rocket) at the second bend, then switched wide and produced proper middle pace to hit the front and came home strongly. The further they went, the further he went clear. It was very impressive for a pup.


“Kilmore Lemon did everything wrong at the start this time, but his pace to the first bend is still unreal and his determination to get to the front is amazing - he’s fearless and done very well to qualify. Both have come out the race fine.


“It’s a great final and we’re going to enjoy Thursday night. Bring it on!”


*Yarmouth reminds trainers that supporting opens for the RPGTV 72nd East Anglian Greyhound Derby Final night on Thursday, September 20, close on Monday. The racing office can be contacted on 01493 378168.


Draw and form for Thursday’s Yarmouth finals: