The jewel in the crown of greyhound racing continues tomorrow evening [Saturday] at Nottingham with the 12 dogs battling it out in the semi-finals of the Star Sports/Arc Greyhound Derby.
The biggest and best competition in the racing calendar, the contest has a rich heritage which dates back to 1927. First held at White City Stadium, the race moved to Wimbledon Stadium in 1985 and then Towcester in 2017, before transferring to Nottingham in 2019.
Only four dogs have won the contest twice, Mick The Miller, Patricias Hope, Rapid Ranger and Westmead Hawk. This year’s event is staged over 500 metres and boasts 96 fantastic entries.
We are now at the semi-final stage of the most iconic competition in the sport. 12 dogs will fight it out in two semi-finals to make the final line-up of six dogs for next Saturday’s final.
Our readers have had a sensational run of form with 66 of our last 80 selections doing the business, that’s over 82% success rate. In my last column, we fired in five winners from eight winning tips at odds of 4/5, 5/4, 7/4, 2/1 and 11/4 and will be hoping to give you the victor in both semi-finals.
My dogs to watch in the two semi-finals include Southwood Jet and Knocknaboul Syd who are both unbeaten in the competition so far. Below is our runner-by-runner guide to both races.
Greyhound Derby 1st Semi-Final – 8.36pm Nottingham
Trap One – Southwood Jet 2/1
One of the stars of this year’s competition. He is unbeaten so far and recorded a smart success from a tricky draw last week. He is back in favoured trap one and if showing his customary early dash, he could prove hard to peg back.
Trap Two – Ballydoyle Valor 11/2
Very capable, the son of Kinloch Brae can certainly make the final with a top three finish, but he was disappointing last week when only third and needs to bounce back.
Trap Three – Deanridge Rapid 25/1
Has done well to make the semi-final having finished third in all three of his heats, but this demands more.
Trap Four – Knocknaboul Syd 13/8 favourite
Irish raider who heads the betting for this event and also the competition outright. He is unbeaten and produced a good performance to see off kennelmate Deerjet Sydney last week. He is well-drawn and is a deserving favourite based on his efforts in the competition so far. If breaking well, he takes all the beating.
Trap Five – Distant Village 12/1
Another dog who has done well to make the semi-finals, but he never really landed a blow last week when only third to Knocknaboul Syd and he can be slow away. Oppose.
Trap Six – Coolavanny Chick 7/2
A fascinating runner. She broke slowly last week which is unusual for this daughter of Droopys Sydney. She therefore did brilliantly to finish second and has to be feared if breaking smartly given the pace she showed in that event.
Verdict – Jet to land a final spot
This is a fantastic semi-final. Knocknaboul Syd is a deserving favourite and his form looks rock-solid. However, he will have to show electric pace to get to the bend in front. Southwood Jet looks to have the perfect draw in trap one and whilst Coolavanny Chick is a danger if breaking smartly, this looks to be all about the Jet and he can land the spoils and earn his ticket to the final.
Greyhound Derby 2nd Semi-Final – 8.52pm Nottingham
Trap One – Churchill Holly 9/2
Local talent who has an excellent record at the track. She has been one of the surprise stars of the competition so far and has to be feared from a plum draw.
Trap Two – Lenson Whelan 33/1
Outsider of the field who needs to take a big step forward to land this having finished a well-beaten third in his quarter-final last week.
Trap Three – Wolfe 9/4
A classy talent who gained a deserved success in his quarter-final last week. He showed excellent early pace to avoid a bad draw and score by two lengths. The draw this week does however look a slight concern, but he is the main danger to Deerjet Sydney.
Trap Four – Deerjet Sydney 15/8
Market leader who got beat last week having made a poor start and meeting trouble early. He boasts winning form from this draw in the competition and given his tendency to move across to the rails, he could ruin the chances of Wolfe. If avoiding trouble with trap three, he should be able to get into a battle with Churchill Holly and come out on top.
Trap Five – Smurfs Machine 5/1
He produced a very smart performance to land his quarter-final last week, seeing off the persistent Churchill Holly. Based on that evidence, he has to be feared if breaking sharply.
Trap Six – Troy Firebird 11/2
Has finished second on all three of his starts in the competition which is no disgrace and he is guaranteed a clear run on the outside. However, he does need to improve again to win this.
Verdict – Sydney to deliver
This race relies on how the main market players break from the traps. Churchill Holly will look to show good early pace on the rails and is dangerous if getting an easy lead. However, she is up against two exciting prospects in Wolfe and Deerjet Sydney. It is crucial that the former breaks smartly otherwise his chance is all but over and with that in mind, Deerjet Sydney gets the vote. He looks to have the perfect draw and could ruin the chances of Wolfe by moving towards the inside. That could leave space for Smurfs Machine, but Deerjet Sydney is the one to beat based on the draw and can land the second semi-final.
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