The jewel in the crown of greyhound racing comes to its magnificent conclusion on this evening [Saturday] as six dogs fight it out in the finale of the £100,000 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 started with 96 entries. After four pulsating rounds of action, we are down to the final six dogs aiming to etch their name into Derby folklore.
My sensational run of form continues with 68 of my last 90 selections doing the business. In my last column, we fired in seven winners from 12 winning tips at odds of 4/5, 5/4, 6/4, 2/1, 11/4, 3/1 and 7/2 and will hopefully pick out the winner of the sport’s greatest prize for The Bet readers tonight.
Dogs to watch in the semi-final includes Southwood Jet who is the only dog in the competition who is still unbeaten.
The winning connections will pocket a cool £100,000 on Saturday evening in a final which pits the English against the Irish. Just two of the six runners are trained in England (Southwood Jet and Smurfs Machine). The other four contenders are all Irish raiders (Deerjet Sydney, Ballydoyle Valor, Wolfe and Coolavanny Chick) as they attempt to emulate Priceless Blake, the 2019 winner who was also trained in Ireland.
You can follow all the action on Sky Channel 175 and through a betting app of your choice. For all the best content on the night, take a look on Twitter at the hashtag #GreyhoundDerby2020 and follow @greyhoundboard for behind-the-scenes footage from what promises to be a fantastic final.
Below is our runner-by-runner guide to the final which also takes place on Halloween. The question is will it be trick or treat for punters.
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Greyhound Derby Final – 9.11pmNottingham
Trap One – Southwood Jet 15/8 favourite – Trainer: Richard Rees (Hove)
The only dog in the competition who is still unbeaten. He produced a sparkling display in the semi-final, showing plenty of early pace to the boxes to win easily. Drawn in the red jacket once again, he is the dog to beat given how well this draw suits and he can ensure the trophy stays in England.
Trap Two – Deerjet Sydney 11/4 – Trainer: Pat Buckley (Ireland)
The main threat to Southwood Jet. He met trouble in running last week when only second in his semi-final and was perhaps not well-drawn in trap four. Breaking from the blue jacket in the final, this draw will suit and he remains the dog who has posted the fastest time in the competition so far. One of the main players.
Trap Three – Ballydoyle Valor 16/1 – Trainer: Graham Holland (Ireland)
The outsider of the field who chased home Southwood Jet in last week’s semi-final. That was a good performance given he met trouble in the early stages of the contest, but he needs to take another step forward to win the final.
Trap Four – Wolfe 3/1 – Trainer: Graham Holland (Ireland)
Another dog with live claims. He won his quarter and semi-final heats with aplomb and was particularly impressive last week showing good track-craft to win comfortably. The draw should not prove a massive inconvenience and he is a live player if breaking sharply.
Trap Five – Smurfs Machine 8/1 – Trainer: Seamus Cahill (Hove)
A dog who has done well to make the final. He was only third to Wolfe last time out despite making the first bend in front. Given that effort, he needs to step up again and he looks booked for the places at best.
Trap Six – Coolavanny Chick 10/1 – Trainer: Noel Hehir (Ireland)
A talented bitch who is the only wide-runner in the field and will therefore enjoy the draw. She was however only third to Southwood Jet in her semi-final and she has been slow away on her last two starts. Those last two runs make her opposable.
Verdict – Jet to deliver in the final
A fabulous final. Southwood Jet bids to go through the competition unbeaten and was quite simply electric in his semi-final. He looks perfectly drawn once again in trap one and is the dog to beat. Deerjet Sydney is a clear danger from trap two. This draw should suit and if he breaks smartly, he looks the main threat. However, Wolfe is another major talent and if he can avoid trouble from a middle draw in trap form he could also play a leading role. However, Southwood Jet looks so comfortable in the red jacket and if he breaks well, this is his Greyhound Derby for the taking.