Twelve races, six wins including two Cat One finals.

Anyone who viewed the result of the Ladbrokes Kent Derby Final without watching the race, might assume that 7-1 chance Kilara Lion was a lucky winner.

So was he?

Before the race, much was made of Tenpin’s horrendous draw in five and the price of the Romford Puppy Cup winner duly weakened from 8-13 earlier in the week to 5-6 on the night.

While it is true that David Mullins’ ultra consistent performer made a rare mistake at the boxes, that would be underplaying the effort of the winner. Tenpin went into the decider with previous sectionals of 3.16, 3.20 and 3.17, compared to Lion’s heat and semi runs of 3.27 and 3.23. In the decider, Lion popped in a 3.16. His winning time of 28.90 was assessed to be a track record equaling 28.50. Tenpin’s three previous calculated times were 28.56, 28.41 and a semi final time of 28.52.

Kennelmate Lenson Whelan completed the forecast for the kennel who have now won the event twice (Bockos Alfie) and finished runner-up three times. Trainer Patrick Janssens was far from surprised by Lion’s performance.

He said: “I am delighted for Craig and Alex (Hopkins) and all the connections. He is a proper competition dog; his first race at Central Park was in the heat of a small competition which he won. We brought him back for the final and did a couple of things with him and he did a 3.15 sectional, so I knew it was always in there for a fast break. We will now be going to Hove for the Olympic. There won’t be time for a trial, but he can run a track well first time.”

Earlier in the day, four of the kennel’s young stars had been in action at Towcester in Star Sports English Puppy Derby trialstakes. Though most attention was on the trialist Bockos Belly who clocked 16.08 for the sprint. The brindle had clocked a calculated 28.47 on debut at Central Park but dived under the inside rail after the line and was withdrawn from the final of the maiden competition.

Patrick said: “There was no problem with him and he went very well in his solo. I didn’t want to give him a four-bender because he hadn’t run for a fortnight and the run to the drop would be around 700 metres.

“I was pleased with all the dogs, but you have to say, Belly looks head and shoulders better than the rest. I think that 500 metres at Towcester looks made for him. I expect to enter at least six for the competition though they are all very inexperienced, mainly April and May pups, and in most cases we are looking more towards Monmore, than winning this.”

KILARA LION (t2) leads early on his way to Ladbrokes Kent Derby victory from kennelmate Lenson Whelan (t4) as favourite Tenpin (t5) tries to deal with an adverse draw in trap 5. Central Park 29th November 2020 Photo: © Steve Nash

Dan Homewood presents the Ladbrokes Kent Derby trophy to Ria Tillett after Kilara Lion’s win at Central Park. Central Park 29th November 2020 Photo: © Steve Nash