Greyhound Derby preview - first round heats 12-23
William Hill's odds compiler Ian Magor gives us his views on Friday's first-round heats of the williamhill.com Derby. Every single heat of the Derby can be watched, for free, live on William Hill TV.
Mesedo Blue comes here touted by many as Ireland's best chance of victory but in truth that is probably based more on potential and the high regard that the trainer's entries are always held in, than the dog's actual performance on the track to date. Most of Jester's Nap's best moments have come around the Plough Lane circuit, particularly when victorious in the 2008 Puppy Derby, and if a recent change of scenery under Diane Henry's care has been beneficial, the still lightly raced 3 year old could be the value.
Buzz Doc has been well backed ante-post and should certainly figure here. November Weather has been generally disappointing in his English races and Arc winner Farloe Titan would be fancied but for the lack of a recent run. Slick Saxon has shown glimpses of decent pace at Hove and could be chanced at the odds.
There has been sustained support all week for Forest Boss and he comes here looking for a fifth victory on the bounce. However, he comes up against Fear Zafonic and when this dog hits his stride he is one of the most awesome sights in the game. The draw could have worked out better for last year's runner-up but he can overcome it and start this year's campaign in style.
Not the warmest welcome back for John McGee with two of his three representatives drawn together in the same heat. King Edward has early pace to go with the best around here and he represents the value to scoot clear and hold on.
Ministry Magic looked an absolute tool when making Millies Hawk look paceless down the Henlow back straight in March but even his most ardent fan would have to have been disappointed with his Wimbledon trials. Ballymac Rumble looks badly drawn and Eye Onthe Tempo can take advantage from a nice pitch.
Rally Town looked right back to his best after persistent injury problems over the last year when blitzing top grade opposition in a track record time last week. Directors Spur is the class act but lacks a touch of early foot and Norah McEllistrim's popular local black can make the most of getting first run.
Droopys Sastre won free entry to the competition by virtue of an impressive defeat of Barefoot Bullet in Cork but only posted a moderate trial last Wednesday on his first look at the track and may have to play second fiddle to Jordansoilutions who went out of the Scottish Derby in the first round as a result of having to run on atrocious ground - the only race completed prior to abandonment. John Mullins has always held Give Mesome Luck in the highest regard and the brindle looks well placed to qualify as an absolute minimum.
With the unfortunate withdrawal of Droopys Bogart this race suddenly becomes wide open. Coolavanny Rock at least has the benefit of showing up well in two rounds of the Blue Riband and as the outsider of the field he has to be the play.
Ten Large Down is not just the apple of Diane Henry's eye; he is the whole bowl of fruit. She probably wouldn't have chosen the red box for her charge as his first move is usually right but Tyrur Speedy will also be likely to make a similar move and the winner of this year's Racing Post Juvenile should put the race to bed around the first two bends.
The Hayley Keightley owned Roxholme Sue took plenty of money out of the satchels on a recent Hall Green Sky evening and it could be a similar story here. Farloe Razl looks a shadow of his former self and Westmead Grant has a hazardous draw outside the star of Sittingbourne, Capel Benjamin. The white-jacketed runner has a good enough level of form in Ireland to take advantage.
Droopys Kentucky is a fast dog but Jimmy Wright's heavyweight does seem to make a bee-line for the troublespots in his races and from this berth it is not difficult to envisage the two market leaders getting tangled up. The Hungarian entry, Lyreen Mover, has a series of good Oxford trials on his card and was noted as running well in his first look at the circuit last week. With improvement to come he looks one of the better value wagers of the round.
Romeo Surfer ran a really eye-catching race behind Charlie Lister's useful prospect, Farloe Vader, at Nottingham recently and looks to have a big future ahead of him. This amounts to a baptism of fire though for the June ‘08 pup, with the equally promising Matt Dartnall pup, Farloe Skywalker in stripes, the Blue Riband runner-up, Ballymac Ace, on his immediate outside and most imposing of all, the impressive, progressive winner of the Scottish Derby, Nambisco wearing the white jacket. Nambisco should lead and should win, thus sending his growing band of supporters home smiling and looking forward to the next round.