Greyhound Derby preview - first round heats 24-35
William Hill's odds compiler Ian Magor gives us his views on Saturday'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.
Klondike Highway is the clear outsider. The other four are incredibly tightly matched. Cabra Exclusive showed some brilliant early pace here in the Oaks and may well dictate early but will soon be hounded by the two dogs outside her. Chris Cronin's Essex Vase champion Boolavogue will finish best of all and can take charge on the run-in.
Another tight affair. Gilbeyhall Jake would ideally have been pitched in the middle but he should have enough boot to turn handy at the very least and his superior back straight pace should then be the deciding factor in the race. Malbay Giovanni makes the long trek from the north-east for Kelly Macari and qualification should at least make the journey back pass that bit quicker.
Westmead Osprey would be right towards the head of the market if the Derby were run at Swindon. He has never looked quite as good around here and a draw in four only further dampens confidence. Glenard Sunrise did really well to reach last year's final and may be just coming back to that level of form. From a fair pitch he is the narrow selection.
Delwood Robbo has taken on and beaten the best at Henlow. Stephen Fletcher is an astute trainer and would not bring him here without a chance. The draw looks ok if he can keep clear of Tyrur Bucko to the bend and he should assert from the second. If he is held up, Windy Millar is well drawn to take advantage.
Romeo Reason has run some excellent races in Ireland without ever managing to put together a good sequence. Now with Liz McNair, he trialed impressively last week and it will be interesting to see how he goes. There has been good ante-post support for Craighall Horse during the week and the son of Horseshoe Ping can begin to fulfill the promise he showed in a run of impressive Romford victories at the start of this year.
Along with the Gymcrack, the Monmore Puppy Derby usually produces the best dogs to follow during their second season. So it may prove for this year's victor, Ballymac William. He is awkwardly drawn here between Tullymurry Act and Jogadusc Ace and the solid British form of Mark Wallis' hugely under-rated 3 year old swings the vote in his favour at the likely odds.
Barefoot Bullet has impressed many in his trials around here. As one of the more likely looking wide seeds, he goes into the competition as the headline ante-post selection of the Racing Post's Richard Birch. He should gain a clear victory here to get the recommendation off to a good start.
There is probably not another dog in the competition in as close to peak form as Magna Flintoff. He shouldn't be inconvenienced by a draw next to the fence and looks the ideal type for a first round victory. Fellow Yorkshireman Harry Crapper brings Blue Riband finalist Frisby Fontenblu and he can make it a Sheffield 1-2.
Seamus Cahill's recent June '07 intake, Longrange Shot, hasn't got too many miles on the clock and was well supported to win a fair Hove open a couple of weeks back. The black and white son of Droopys Kewell got no sort of run at any stage in the race and don't be surprised to see connections re-coup their losses with interest here. Head Iton Ellis ran well in last year's event and provides the biggest obstacle.
Deanridge Rage's young trainer Dean Childs always comes across as a mild-mannered, affable character but the name of his dog perfectly summed up his mood when he saw the first round draw here. By the trainer's own admission the dog inside him, Dalcash Scolari, is a 37k heavyweight possessing great speed but lacking any semblance of a brain and the bitch on his right, Ardbeg Kate, will be moving left from the boxes. Droopys Flo Jo ran well to beat Ballymac William in a trial stakes and is plotted up to take advantage.
After disappointing somewhat when heavily backed to win the Monmore Puppy Derby final and then being comprehensively outpointed by Ministry Magic at Henlow, Millies Hawk was scrubbed off many people's dogs-to-follow lists. An excellent recent trial and positive vibes from the trainer have forced a hasty re-think and he is now an increasingly popular pick to go a long way in the event. He looks good to ensure that the trend continues in an upward vein with a clear victory here. Rio Venturo is strong and Danny Riordan's well-bred youngster can follow him home.
The final heat and one of the better races of the first round. A surprise entry after finishing runner-up to Thurlesbeg Joker in the Easter Cup at Shelbourne recently, the Dolores Ruth trained Toomaline Jack has been the subject of sustained, confident support all week. It's just as well he is race-fit as this will not be easy. Barrie Draper is fancied to win earlier with Magna Flintoff and although he brings Glenroe Ginger here without a trial, the dog has an excellent first-time record at tracks, was desperately unlucky in a Golden Sprint semi-final last time and he can get first run here to seal a red-jacketed double for the trainer.