The Star Sports & Arc Greyhound Derby 2020 – Nottingham 500m – £50,000
DEERJET SYDNEY completed the set for Pat Buckley as he became only the third trainer to win a Scottish, Irish and English Derby in the sport’s long history as the June 18 son of Droopys Sydney and Madgies Wish scored a brilliant all-the-way victory in the Star Sports & Arc Greyhound Derby Final at Nottingham on Saturday.
Trapping smartly and soon clear of leading home-trained finalist – and favourite – Southwood Jet (Richard Rees), who had missed the break, Deerjet Sydney posted a fast 4.91sec sectional on his way to establishing a rock-solid advantage by halfway from Smurfs Machine (Seamus Cahill), who led the chase off the second bend.
However, Ballydoyle Valor (Graham Holland) and Coolavanny Chick (Noel Hehir) picked up well down the back straight and the former ran a stormer as he stayed on strongly to get within three-quarters of a length of the Kenny Glen-owned champion Deerjet Sydney at the line in 29.38sec, with Coolavanny Chick a further three lengths back in third.
It meant another Irish-trained 1-2-3 in an English Greyhound Derby Final after Priceless Blake led home Ballymac Tas and Skywalker Logan last year.
Smurfs Machine was fourth, ahead of Southwood Jet, with Graham Holland’s second finalist Wolfe failing to finish after picking up an injury off the second bend. He was reported by the Hollands to have suffered ligament damage in a hock and the near four-year-old Easter Cup champion will be retired.
For winning trainer Buckley, Deerjet Sydney’s success in the £50,000-to-the-winner Classic realised an ambition for the Cappawhite, Co. Tipperary-based handler who had gone close in previous English Derbys at Wimbledon with 2016 runner-up Droopys Roddick and finalists Lenson Rocky and Mind The Net.
He joins compatriot Paul Hennessy and Nick Savva as the only trainers to have won Scottish, Irish and English Derbys.
Buckley said: “To bring this famous trophy back to mum and dad, the rest of family – and our local village at Doon in Tipperary – means everything. After Doolin Duke in the Plate, winning the Derby with Sydney made it the best half an hour of our lives! We’ve dreamt of this for many years and it really means the world to have won it.
“Him turning left from the boxes at Shelbourne and Nottingham has been a problem and it’s just been a case of trying to get him to keep a straight line – the draw tonight certainly helped,” added Buckley, who watched and cheered Deerjet Sydney home from the paddock area with daughter Emma parading the champion.
“I’ve got to thank all the family, plus also Craig (Dawson) who bought him for the kennel, and to my kennelhand Paul Woodburn. Plus a huge thank-you to June and Tony Harvey, who once again have been fantastic hosts and we own them a great deal. We’ve been here for a good few weeks now and it wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
Derby-winning owner Kenny Glen enjoyed an incredible treble on the night with Doolin Duke winning the RPGTV Derby Plate and Gonzo landing the supporting Arc Trophy for trainer Julie Bateson, but for Edinburgh-based Glen victory in the Star Sports & Arc Greyhound Derby was a dream realised also.
“‘It’s fantastic to win the Derby,” he told RPGTV. “I’ve been involved in greyhound racing for a very long time, starting on the flaps, and I really can’t believe I’ve won the Derby. It’s fantastic. I knew Pat had Sydney in great form and without doubt I knew he could lead from what was finally, for him, a decent enough draw.
“You can also see how much of a railer he is – he had bad draws at Shelbourne in the Irish Derby and even here at Nottingham. Pat got him right, as he did with Doolin Duke who’s a fantastic dog himself. Gonzo ran really well, too, and Julie (Bateson) has done a great job with him also. They’re probably all rest now.”