Greyhound Derby preview - second round heats 1-8
William Hill's odds compiler Ian Magor gives us his views on Friday's second-round heats of the williamhill.com Derby. Every single heat of the Derby can be watched, for free, live on William Hill TV.
If you followed all my selections last week with a £10 win at SP you would have probably given up after the first disappointing night, but if you kept the faith the 35 heats would have yielded a profit of £144.20. This could be taken as a moral for the event itself as the early stages of the competition can be very misleading and we need to be keeping our eyes open for those dogs that look likely to keep improving over the next month.
Moveit Jamie has a classy Irish card including running third in their Leger. That level of form is a cut above that of his rivals but the negative is a draw outside Astral Bound who showed plenty of pace to the ¾ mark behind Bandicoot Tipoki last week and drives a wide course. However, Romeo On Air also moves off from the red box so no dog looks ideally drawn and Jamie should be able to assert off the last bend if not before.
Westmead Scolari showed good trackcraft last week whilst still showing extreme wide running tendencies. It still took him a long time to take control and he only beat Glynscross Mal ½ a length. The likely favourite has to be opposed and I can see Head Iton Ellis being better suited to a rails draw here than he was last week from 3. With Beaming Dilemma moving middle he should have plenty of room and can continue his good record at the track with victory.
I didn't expect much from Broadstrand Bill last week but I was really taken by his run. He showed excellent speed to the third bend and although he only just held off the strong-finishing Fear The Blue, he has a make-up here where he can be fancied to go clear again if holding off Judicial Pause early, and although Romeo Surfer and Raving Black will be making serious inroads up the home straight I think he will have enough in hand to hold on.
The competition 10/1 joint favourite, Fear Zafonic, couldn't have hoped for a better draw. He has far too much pace to be bothered by the dogs around him and his supporters should be able to enjoy the magnificent sight of him opening up down the back straight. Krug Ninety Five was a really good winner in his first race at the track but quite rightly most people were concentrating on the sad exit of Eye Onthe Storm in his heat. If he can engineer a path around Droopys Flo Jo, a few more people may take note of him, but that won't be easy and Charlie Lister's black has to be the selection.
This looks the most difficult heat of the second round to me. Whatever leads must have a good chance. Eye Eye Pickle would have been a confident selection if he were clad in his familiar red vest but he has ran wearing stripes only once in his career, and that was in 2008. Loyal Rebel may just have enough pace to go round in front and then only Tyrur Speedy could be seen as a significant threat to run him down. Rebel held off the strong-running Faypoint Man last week with relative comfort and is just the preference to do so again here.
Barefoot Bullet was stunning last week and on a night when times were generally slower than on the previous two evenings, his 28.39 looks very good. Although the competition here is tougher the draw looks perfect and he should go well clear down the back. Glenard Sunrise showed that he is beginning to come back to last season's form last time and will be doing his utmost to reel in the leader but I fear that it will be a fruitless pursuit.
Mesedo Blue's first round run was one of the more difficult performances to come to a conclusion about. A sloppy exit from the lids was a definite worry but the devastating pace he then unleashed around the first two bends had the race very quickly tied up. From there though I would have wanted to see a Derby winning prospect put more distance between himself and moderate pursuers. That said, apparently the dog has taken time to settle in his new temporary surroundings and should improve. It would be no surprise to see him win impressively but on value grounds I'm going to chance Freedom Emma. She has become less reliable at the lids of late but she won the Oaks around here in December and can definitely win if finding that level of form again.
Bandicoot Tipoki is a confident selection. He didn't trap well last week but once hitting full stride he looked like the dog connections have always said he is i.e. a potential champion. Even if slightly fluffing his lines here, he should still have too much pace for Swift Planet. Outside him, Westmead Bond showed uncharacteristic zip from the boxes in the first round but even if he repeats that here, he will be moving towards the hare and Tipoki will have all the room in the world inside him to put the race to bed around the first two bends. If Westmead Bond comes out in his more usual manner, Slick Robert has a very nice make-up to chase home the jolly in second.