ROMEO MAGICO heads into Saturday’s 2022 Star Sports & TRC English Greyhound Derby Final as the fastest semi-final winner after a hugely impressive victory at Towcester.

The British-bred star, an August 2019 son of Magical Bale and Fabulous Artist, trapped with his field in the first semi before unleashing a superb burst of pace into the turn to seal the lead – and ultimately the victory – as Graham Holland’s dog drew clear to win by three and a quarter lengths in an impressive 29.06sec (normal) for the 500m trip.

In behind, Mickys Barrett (Jason Gray) was always handy outside and, roared on by his huge band of owners, chased the winner home in second with Savana Beau (Diane Henry) securing his place in the Classic final back in third by edging out Signet Goofy (John Mullins), much to the delight of his owner, Towcester promoter Kevin Boothby.

Dave Firmager, Romeo Magico’s breeder and owner, said: “He seems to be getting better and better. He didn’t break that well tonight but his pace took him to the front. He’s handling everything really well and Graham and Nicky (Holland) are doing a great job. The form of the Easter Cup is working out pretty well and fingers crossed for the final.”

Kildare then made it a second Irish-trained semi-final winner on the night as Peter Cronin’s youngster was quickly away in the second semi and dominated matters. Racing to a 4.12sec sectional, the July 2020 son of Droopys Sydney and Palermo was soon on his way to a superb trap-to-line victory.

However, track record holder Priceless Jet (Paul Hennessy) closed on the leader all the way up the run-in to get within half a length of the winner, who clocked 30.16sec, with the runner-up’s kennelmate Hello Hammond proving too strong for Lautaro (Patrick Janssens) to claim third and give Ireland a fourth finalist.

Winning trainer Peter Cronin said of Kildare: “I always felt we had a good team coming over and it’s great to be in another English Derby final. He can trap better than he did tonight but has raw pace to the bend – hopefully there’s an even bigger run in him given the chance. We threw him into the Kirby but that form has worked out really well.

“It’s been a long haul, as it always is. All the Irish trainers have put the miles in, but we’re there with a chance on Saturday. There’s been a great atmosphere here throughout the Derby – I’m particularly pleased for the Micky Barrett Syndicate – and no doubt it’ll be another big night here on Saturday and we’re looking forward to it.”




Saturday, June 25


1 Savana Beau – Diane Henry, Towcester

2 Kildare – Peter Cronin, Ireland

3 Hello Hammond – Paul Hennessy, Ireland
4 Romeo Magico – Graham Holland, Ireland
5 Mickys Barrett (m) – Jason Gray, Nottingham

6 Priceless Jet (w) – Paul Hennessy, Ireland