Greyhound Tips: A trap-by-trap guide to Saturday's Derby final (2024)

Opportunity knocks for Bob‌‌

The Star Sports and TRC English Greyhound Derby reaches its eagerly anticipated conclusion on Saturday night as the remaining six greyhounds vie for the £175,000 first prize.

As with the semi-finals, there is an even split of British and Irish-trained dogs left in the competition, and the bookmakers believe that King Memphis is the most likely to stand on the winner’s podium.‌

Liz McNair’s dog will need to do so having been the last dog to surrender a flawless run in the Derby when a game second to Churchfield Syd in the semi-finals. The latter’s performance was all the more remarkable as he appeared to stumble on the way out of the boxes but could still reach the front by the opening bend.

De Lahdedah was victorious in the other semi-final and a number of the layers rated him as a joint-favourite for honours off the back of that success. However, the subsequent trap draw has seen him return to the four-box and drawn to the immediate outside of his market rival.

As ever, there are several high-quality affairs on a stellar undercard.

Queen Joni has looked like the class act in the Derby Plate (20:22) and she’ll be odds on to take that consolation. Last year’s Derby runner-up Romeo Command put in a serious performance in the Champion Stakes (21:39) last weekend and is another favourite that appears hard to oppose.

Coonough Crow and Queen Georgia are two of the best stayers in Britain at the moment and the pair will face off in the Mark Siddall Prime Beef Challenge Trophy (20:40) with the former bidding to gain revenge for a surprise defeat two weeks ago.

Droopys Clue (18:01) missed the Derby due to injury but we’ll see potentially what could have been when Seamus Cahill’s star makes a much-awaited comeback in the Maurice Newman Trophy.‌

Let’s take a closer look at the Derby finalists…

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21:15 Star Sports and TRC English Greyhound Derby Final (500 metres)

1 WHYAYE MAN‌

Best recent time: 28.98 (8 June)

Trainer: Mark Wallis

Owners: MWD Partnership

Bought out of Robert Gleeson’s kennels in Ireland – the 2023 Derby was arguably the aim but that campaign was to falter in the second round before redemption was achieved in the Derby Plate.‌

Dorotas Wildcat (2017) won that prize before returning a year later to scoop the big one so some of the ante-post prices available about him graduating were perhaps a little insulting on reflection.

Mark Wallis is one of the most decorated handlers in the sport with 14 championships and two previous winners of the competition, and his son of Droopys Jet has supped regularly at the top table. Reaching the finals of four Category 1 competitions over the last calendar year, he was fifth in the Blue Riband over course and distance.

A winner of one round and runner-up in a further three, the punters haven’t necessarily bought into him for win purposes. Although early pace isn’t his forte, he’s trapped out diligently and tracked wisely and has no questions to answer regarding stamina. Wallis famously sent out rank outsider Kinda Ready to win the 2009 final at chunky odds and this dog rates a much better formbook prospect.

2 BALLYMAC GIZMO

Best recent time: 28.90 (1 June)

Trainer: Liam Dowling (Ire)

Owner: Liam Dowling

It wouldn’t be a Derby final without the Ballymac prefix being in the mix and though Ballymac Gizmo is yet to get his head in front in this series, tonight is the night when the big cheque is cashed.

A son of the redoubtable Ballymac Cooper and a litter sibling of the highly touted Ballymac Danica, the puppy burst onto the scene with a wide-margin win at Enniscorthy on debut and was to reach the finals of that competition and latterly, the Shelbourne Open 600, a couple of months later.

Astute Missile (2017) and Salad Dodger (2014) proved that it is possible to win a Derby without striking in any of the earlier heats and the youngster will bid to become the youngest winner since Sidaz Jack obliged at the age of 23 months in 2014.‌

The market anticipated a big run from him in the semi-finals (backed from 25/1 into 7/1). While never looking like landing that punt, he belied inexperience to keep on powerfully into the qualification slots. The clock suggests he has it to do but if he can cope with the hullabaloo associated with the occasion, stranger things have happened.

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3 KING MEMPHIS‌

Best recent time: 28.65 (15 June)

Trainer: Liz McNair

Owners: K.S.S. Syndicate

Twelve months ago the market suggested that the K.S.S. Syndicate held all the aces with Frompostopillar. But nothing is ever certain and their dog was sensationally eliminated in the very first round.

History thankfully hasn’t repeated itself, and the 2023 RPGtv Puppy Derby winner and long-term ante-post favourite heads into the boxes on Saturday with an impressive record of victories across the first four rounds and a runners-up berth in the semi-finals.‌

It’s been a monumental year for connections as they’ve been cleaning up the big prizes in England and this will be the McNair’s fourth finalist in the Derby. King Memphis’s mother is Queen Shakira – a daughter of Eden The Kid – the dog that reached the 2015 final for connections.‌

Troubling the track record in the opening round isn’t normally a recipe for success on Finals night though this dog is far from a one-trick pony. Unable to dominate proceedings with his trademark early pace from the boxes in the semi-finals, he showed plenty of resolution to pick his way through from a location that wasn’t ideal.‌

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4 DE LAHDEDAH‌

Best recent time: 28.64 (8 June)‌

Trainer: Liam Dowling (Ire)‌

Owners: The Garsuns Syndicate

The name “De Lahdedah” is a nickname for a small glass of whisky and the Garsuns Syndicate will hope to upgrade to something a little more substantial on Saturday evening.

One of the leading puppies in Ireland during 2023, he reached the semi-final of the Irish Derby. But confirmed himself as a dog of immense potential when realising the fastest clock of the year at Shelbourne Park during the Juvenile Derby a couple of weeks later.

That his form tapered off at the end of the year was perhaps a concern but having been found to have suffered a small ‘niggle’, the dog has been brought back to the boil this term by Liam Dowling and holds a realistic chance of securing a first English Derby for the Ballymac Kennels.

A winner of three races in the series, slow trapping in the opener and a melee in the quarter-finals could have seen him eliminated, but he has also produced two very fine efforts in the competition. An almighty buckle with Crafty Shivoo in the third round setting the Derby alight before he was to make full use of a red jacket draw in the semi-final to earn his shot at the jackpot. The question is whether he can reproduce that superiority from a wider location.

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5 CHURCHTOWN SYD (w)‌

Best recent time: 28.96 (31 May)

Trainer: Richard Rees

Owners: Billy Evans, Steve Evans and Daryl Bear‌

If early pace wins the race, Churchfield Syd has the sectionals to do that and his second-round sectional of 3.99 is the fastest of tonight’s participants.

An emerging talent in 2023, he looked to have the Monmore Puppy Derby at his mercy before he sadly broke down during the semi-finals. That injury required a five-month layoff but the patience of connections has been rewarded with success in the PGR Kent Derby at Central Park, and he was first past the post in the Winter Derby before subsequent disqualification.

Another son of the breeding colossus, Droopys Sydney, he’s trained by Richard Rees – who was responsible for last year’s third Cochise and 2020 Finals night favourite, Southwood Jet. Rees will bid to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who took the 1976 renewal with Mutts Silver, and his father, who repeated the feat some nine years later with Pagan Swallow‌

Twice behind De Lahdedah in the earlier rounds, “Syd” has won his last three rounds on the spin and his early pace is a potent weapon of choice. That he won on Saturday despite stumbling badly out of the boxes was remarkable enough, but he dug deep throughout and wasn’t stopping when many believed him a sitting duck for the favourite to pass by.

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6 BOYLESPORTS BOB (w)

Best recent time: 28.68 (15 June)‌

Trainer: Paul Hennessy (Ire)

Owners: John Boyle and Ned Murphy‌

The Easter Cup has traditionally proved a good signpost for the Irish participants in the English Derby. While yours truly picked out the wrong one for ante-post purposes, it’s Paul Hennessy’s charge representing the form line in the denouement.

Described as “a bit of an enigma” by part-owner Ned Murphy, Boylesports Bob started his racing career as Forest Paddy and was an inauspicious fourth of six on his debut at Kilkenny. A switch to Paul Hennessey and racing around Shelbourne Park was to reveal his abilities and almost a year to the day, Ireland’s leading experts were already suggesting he had the potential to be anything,

In terms of training, there are few to match Hennessy among his peers and the handler aims to register a third winner of the competition having marshalled Jaytee Jet (2016) and Priceless Jet (2019) to the sport’s blue riband and that’s before we mention a Cheltenham Festival winner along the way!

Two wins from five may appear ordinary on paper but the dog’s way of working is anything but. That third-round sectional of 4.36 should have been enough to send him home yet he unleashed some mind-boggling speed figures in the second half of the contest to progress. Seven days later and away on terms – he comfortably saw off the black jacket to produce one of the most dominant displays ever seen at Towcester.

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Verdict:

King Memphishas been well found in the market and though he’d have been bombproof from a low draw, connections will be grateful that they drew insideDe Lahdedah.Churchfield Syd has lost the stripes and much hinges upon his actions from the boxes. Were he to ping out quickly, he could move inward and cause the pack to squeeze tightly. That would benefit BOYLESPORTS BOB. The Irish raider has seen his reputation grow throughout the competition and if he avoids surrendering valuable ground from the boxes, it will be race on. Ballymac Gizmoneeds to cope with the pressures of a big night soWhyaye Man can bring his competition experience to bear and he’s no mug if positioning himself for a run from red.

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Greyhound Tips: A trap-by-trap guide to Saturday's Derby final (2024)

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