SIX heats of the KAB Maiden Derby supported the Time Greyhound Nutrition Juvenile Championship at Towcester on Sunday.

An event which will forever be associated with Thorn Falcon’s 2021 success, which preceded his famous victory in the Star Sports English Greyhound Derby itself for Patrick Janssens, fastest of Sunday’s heats was the Tom Heilbron-trained The Other Donny on his UK debut in heat two.

Initiating a double for the Newcastle trainer, the January 2022 whelp raced away from his rivals to score by five lengths in 29.11sec (normal), finishing ahead of Irish entries Jaytee Crazy (Paul Hennessy), who kept on well after early crowding, and Garfiney Blake (Graham Holland).

The Heilbron double was completed in heat five by Unanimous Leon, also on UK debut, who raced to a fast 4.01sec sectional on his way to a decent lead before before the son of Droopys Sydney held the keeping-on Barefoot Awesome (Paul Hennessy) by a short-head in 29.44sec (normal).

Fastest sectional of the session was the 4.00sec set by the Kevin Boon-trained Ivy Hill Thunder who blasted from traps to lead his rivals in heat three and score by two and a quarter lengths from Hove raider Joes Sagar (Belinda Green) in 29.17sec (normal) for the 500m trip.

Graham Holland would later win the Time Greyhound Nutrition Juvenile Championship with Faypoint Harvey but was also on the mark for Ireland in the KAB Maiden Derby heats with Romeo Steel in heat four, the British-bred edging out Coss Tokyo (Maxine Locke) by a short-head in a driving finish to heat four.

The other heats were won by Nathan Hunt’s Junctionfourteen in a blanket finish to heat one, edging Hawkfield Abbie (John McGee snr) and Zoo Luru (Katie O’Flaherty), and the Paul Young-trained Miami Bullet who won heat six impressively off the front to score by over five lengths in 29.20sec (normal).

Towcester racing manager Andy Lisemore said: “As ever, the Maiden Derby looks a real puzzle with a good mix of home-trained and Irish-trained dogs and, while the Irish runners are sure to be improve for their looks on Sunday, it’s the same for most of the UK entry given they’re also pretty unexposed types.

“I suppose the question everyone will ask if whether there’s a Thorn Falcon in there. Most of these entries will be back for the Derby itself, but Thorn Falcon actually went and won it.

“Then there’s last year’s winner Drive On Lad. He was almost at the other end of the spectrum given lots of experience but never quite got his head in front until Towcester did the trick for him. Once he won a race here he didn’t look back!

“It’s all set fair for Sunday and, once again, they’ll be big clues as to not just who wins this year’s Maiden Derby, but also pointers to the (Star Sports & TRC) English Greyhound Derby – and, as you can see with six Irish-trained semi-finalists, Ireland is setting out its stall for another powerful crack at it this year.”

Trap draw for Sunday’s KAB Maiden Derby semi-finals:-

First semi: 1 Garfiney Blake, 2 Joes Sagar, 3 Junctionfourteen, 4 Barefoot Awesome, 5 Zoo Luru, 6 Ivy Hill Thunder.

Second semi: 1 Jaytee Crazy, 2 The Other Donny, 3 Coss Tokyo, 4 Miami Bullet, 5 Ranchers Wolf, 6 Fatboyz Harvey (m).

Third semi: 1 Glorious Tom, 2 Jaytee Etienne, 3 Hawkfield Abbie, 4 Untold Euro, 5 Romeo Steel, 6 Unanimous Leon (m).