Greyhound Derby preview - first round heats 13-25
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.
Local Dee Jay has improved significantly in the course of three trials, with the most recent 28.41 particularly noteworthy. His shrewd handler rates him as the best of her prospects and he is reluctantly passed over on value grounds. Allisons Delight has not progressed quite as well as he might have and Micky Robbie doesn't look to be in as good form as last summer. I will take a chance with Jacks Back, who has good early and was very unlucky at Sittingbourne last week when he looked as if his back-straight pace was going to send him clear before having the door slammed in his face.
Selection: Jacks Back
Tudor Prince was a very exciting puppy but has not had the ideal preparation coming into the event and will need to improve on last week's trial. Razldazl Lord has toiled in the wake of his illustrious kennel-mate Jayfkay in two trials and the make-up of the race suits Westmead Bolt who is very strong and could turn in a handy position.
Selection: Westmead Bolt
Farloe Skywalker did tremendously well last year, reaching the semi-finals of the Derby when only a raw pup. He didn't build on that campaign as well as might have been hoped and has been tried over six bends and hurdles. Bright Starter has a good Irish card but has failed to dip under 29secs in two trials. Legal Rebel has won a trial stakes in a decent time, has a nice draw, and should be a welcome winner for Rab and Liz McNair
Selection: Legal Rebel
Ted Soppitt brings just one challenger for this year's Derby and sees the heavyweight Express Jazz as the ideal type to progress throughout the competition. Droopys Comedian strode out nicely when winning a confidence boosting race at Hove this week but he comes here on the back of an injury. I prefer to take a chance on King Jaffa. A wide draw may enable him to lead and he has ran well enough in three trial stakes to think that he wouldn't give up a winning position.
Selection: King Jaffa
Westmead Maldini was fancied to give Blonde Snapper a good race at Sittingbourne recently but after finding trouble on the run-up he was never able to get involved in the event. This is a much easier assignment and the Northern Puppy Derby winner is difficult to oppose. The locally trained Broadstrand Bill and Proud Patsy will have supporters but class should prevail.
Selection: Westmead Maldini
Droopys Hutton and Modern Man represent top Irish form and the former is particularly well drawn. Lyreen Mover finished second in last year's final and is devilishly difficult to get past if leading. Droopys Oscar made his debut on last year's final night card and was extremely impressive. He was immediately backed for this year's race at 50/1 and has spent all year in the top three or four of the market. His preparation has been injury affected and he was turned over at 2/9 at Nottingham this month. There are just too many doubts to be taking short prices so I will plump for Lyreen Mover to confirm last year's level of form.
Selection: Lyreen Mover
Gymcrack winner Blue Artisan gives Harry Williams realistic hopes of travelling back to the nort-east next month with the Derby trophy. He has already won the Racing Post Juvenile here this year and ran a quick trial last week. I would like to see him get off to a winning campaign but on value grounds I will side with Taylors Sky who has had two encouraging trials and is open to any amount of improvement.
Selection: Taylors Sky
Boher Legend looked a possible Scottish Derby winner after impressing in the first round but then had to be withdrawn through injury. He therefore comes into this possibly short of race-fitness. Although Whitty Guinness needs to improve on a 29.03 trial, this dog broke the Youghal track record last year and that had stood for over six years. He is an interesting prospect and might be worth taking a chance with.
Selection: Whitty Guinness
Barefoot Bullet reached the final of the Irish Derby last year and was a quarter-finalist here but he has been off the track since and has plenty of pace to clear, particularly in the form of top class sprinter, Fifis Rocket. A dog with a much better make-up and also running at the top of his form is Coom Bullet. He has run really well in some of the better trial stakes and is a good value alternative to the favourite.
Selection: Coom Bullet
This is one of the weaker heats and is made up of six railers. Buzz Doc has the advantage of the red jacket and has always mixed it with the best. He is fancied to pull off a quick double for John Mullins.
Selection: Buzz Doc
This is the most open of the first round heats. I think every dog in the race has a reasonable chance. Purely on the grounds that he is open to huge improvement I will side with Jazz Apollo.
Selection: Jazz Apollo
I generally look to take on the short prices but I think Blonde Snapper is by far the most likely winner and is a genuine candidate for top honours. I can't oppose him here.
Selection: Blonde Snapper
Let's go out with a bang. Jordansoilutions is approaching veteran stage and needs to improve on trials; Melodys Royal is very useful and represents a winning team but has had an injury-interrupted preparation; Romeo Reason has not raced since last year. Ballygarron Hawk has a great draw, is running at the top of his game and can go in at a big price.
Selection: Ballygarron Hawk