ROXHOLME NIDGE tightened his grip on the RPGTV 73rd East Anglian Greyhound Derby with another fastest-of-the-night effort in Monday’s second round – the three-time Category One winner delighting connections as he made all in 27.61sec in heat two.

Mark Keightley, speaking after the dual Steel City Cup and Romford Puppy Cup champion had led home Perrys Choice (Michelle Brown) and Rockburst Dutch (Eric Cantillon) to initiate a double for his wife and trainer Hayley, said:

“They were two more great runs from (Roxholme) Nidge and Glory – and we’re delighted. Nidge needs continual servicing during the week, but came off well, as did Glory. Again, the work we were doing prior to his run will continue through until Saturday for the semis.”

Hopes of a third qualifier for the Keightleys had been dashed in heat one when kennelmate Roxholme Jim finished fourth behind Piemans Asprilla (David Mullins). The Romford raider made all as he posted 28.81sec for the 462m trip, finishing ahead of trackmate Dower Product (Philip Simmonds) and Tree Top Danny (Eric Cantillon).

The aforementioned Roxholme Glory struck in heat three, leading off the second bend before finishing clear of fast-starting Argentina (Kevin Hutton) and Antigua Romeo (Mark Wallis). The winning time was 27.87sec.

The fourth heat went to Steve Anderson’s Bramble Reggie as his early pace took him clear, although Seaglass Tiger (Patrick Janssens) ran on well to finish a close-up second with Mary Goodnight (Sandra Clayton) in third. The winning time was 27.93sec.

Marcus Westgate, Yarmouth racing manager, said: “Monday’s action was superb and has left us with two absolute quality semi-finals. The diversity of great trainers is just fantastic – it’s something you hope for and I’ve certainly not been let down.

“Piemans Asprilla certainly didn’t know his 20-1 SP when he popped out and never stopped for an impressive performance – and then it was great to see Roxholme Nidge take to the stage again so brilliantly.

“He’s amazing to watch and to win by ten lengths summed up his dominance – so well done to the Keightleys for their double which came next after a coming together between Lenson Whelan and Scotch Mist saw Roxholme Glory strike.

“Then Bramble Reggie won for Newcastle’s Steve Anderson, which has left us with a fairly decent mix of seeds in the semis and two second-round heat winners in each race.

“I reckon the first semi is the more open and both Roxholme Glory and Bramble Reggie will have their supporters. In the second semi Nidge’s two sub-5.30sec splits could serve him well if he breaks again.

“However, Piemans Asprilla showed great pace on Monday, so it could be a fantastic contest to the first bend. Certainly, right now, Roxholme Nidge is the dog to beat, but as has been proven countless times before, in greyhound racing anything can happen.

“In addition to our Derby semis, we have a strong entry for the Derby Purse and Greene King IPA Sprint. Both competitions look good this year and the heats of both support the Derby action on Saturday.”

Saturday’s RPGTV 73rd East Anglian Greyhound Derby semi-finals:-

First semi:1 Roxholme Glory, 2 Perrys Choice, 3 Bramble Reggie, 4 Rockburst Dutch, 5 Tree Top Danny (w), 6 Mary Goodnight (w).

Second semi: 1 Seaglass Tiger, 2 Roxholme Nidge, 3 Piemans Asprilla, 4 Dower Product, 5 Antigua Romeo (m), 6 Argentina (w).