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

 

AFFANE PARTY (pictured) proved the star of the show at Yarmouth on Thursday as the John Lambe-trained runner produced an electrifying turn of early pace to run his rivals ragged in the RPGTV 72nd East Anglian Greyhound Derby Grand Final.

 

Landing his Perry Barr-based handler a biggest success, Affane Party also earned the rare distinction of running unbeaten through the 462m competition to grab the £15,000 first prize for owner Dougie Butler.

 

Breaking smartly and racing to a 5.18sec, last year’s Fengate Collar winner and champion sprinter was soon in charge and raced away to win the Category One annual by three and a half lengths from Seaglass Phantom (Patrick Janssens), the youngster running on gallantly behind the 27.32 victor.

 

“That was fantastic - when he breaks like that there’s not a dog who can live with him,” said winning owner Butler afterwards. “My thanks to John (Lambe, trainer) and also to Eamon Uniacke from Cappoquin, who bred the dog. He’s a star!”

 

A crack at the All England Cup at Newcastle is now the preferred option for connections with a week off before a trial at the Byker venue ahead of the event. A return to sprinting has not been completely ruled out, but it will be four bends for the foreseeable future.

 

A winner of 22 races from 28 starts in the UK, Affane Party is the best greyhound trainer Lambe has trained and helped continue a decent run of form which included fielding Queen Adele in the recent Lowther Stakes final at Nottingham.

 

“Things didn’t go well for her on the night, and you need that luck sometimes,” Lambe said. “Affane Party wasn't lucky tonight of course, but we were lucky with the draw. I really didn't want trap one there and fortunately we got trap three. That was perfect at this track.

 

“He’s a great dog to train, although we did have to rush things coming into Yarmouth,” he added. “We’d been to Dundalk, but he didn't really handle things there, although that doesn’t rule out another trip to Ireland. We’re looking at a race at the Night of Stars.

 

“We’re thinking about a 525yd race at Shelbourne. I know he was generally a sprinter, but we always thought he’d stay. I remember him holding a good dog in Kooga Klammer into the pick-up at Peterborough last year - that was enough to prove he stays okay enough.

 

“It’s great to win the Yarmouth Derby,” he added. “We were given a great welcome there, and the hospitality on the night was top notch. It’s a great competition and feels quite special to follow trainers such as Charlie Lister - he’s a legend.

 

“So to win the Yarmouth Derby, which he’s dominated and in the week he announced he’s retiring, is just very special. We’ll enjoy this. Affane Party will have a few days off, and then we’ll begin to prepare him for Newcastle.”

 

Yarmouth traditionally stages two finals alongside the Grand Final and both saw local successes.

 

The John Mullins-trained Minnies Highway (40.41sec) lifted the Derek Burridge Derby Purse in all-the-way fashion, while Maurice Rice landed a one-two in the Greene King IPA Sprint with Toems Lily (16.52sec) edging kennelmate Jura Go Willow.

 

Yarmouth director Simon Franklin congratulated all the night’s winners, especially John Lambe and Affane Party.

 

He said: “What a great night. We had a good crowd producing an awesome atmosphere. Thanks to all the trainers and owners for their support and to RPGTV for their sponsorship of this year’s EAD. Roll on next year!”