Droopys Catapult, trained at Newcastle by Stuart Tighe, lacked a look around Nottingham prior to last nights victory in trial stakes 1.
He ran well though after missing the break and being crowded out of the traps, he showed by far the best pace to the bend. With every chance to ease off at the turn – given his lack of experience of the venue – he instead showed bravery by putting his head down and showing a real determination to turn in front.
Catapult was kept honest throughout, initially by Front Edge, and when that rival cried ‘enough’ on the run in’ he stuck on gamely to hold off Jet Stream Jimmy by 2 1/4 lengths in 30.12. Connections will no doubt be pleased with this first look around the Derby venue.
Lynn Cook’s Churchill Holly was sent off a warm order 4/6 favourite upon her open race debut in trial stakes 2. Coming into the event unbeaten having won her first five graded races at the track, she looked ideally drawn against the rail. Holly had to play second fiddle to another greyhound having their first look around though in the shape of Gary Carmichael’s Freedom Mike. Again he was far from fluent at trap rise but showed excellent pace the bend. Cutting across he gave Holly a nudge and from that point on he didn’t ever look in danger, eventually holding off Holly by 2 1/2 lengths in 30.06.
Matt Dartnall’s Mister Brentford has been gaining some very valuable knowledge of the Colwick Park circuit in recent weeks. Already a trial stakes winner on his first such outing here he has since gone down to two third place defeats. Mister Brentford was back in winning action here though, averagely away he roared to the bend and then drove it like he’d been running the track all of his life. It was a race winning manouvre as he cut across Pro Princess before really opening up along the back straight. He came back to that rival a little late on but still stopped the clock in a decent 29.82 with 2 1/2 lengths in hand.
Sylvia Oakes Glenvale Gav is another greyhound who has been gaining excellent experience of the Derby circuit recently. Indeed he’s not just been gaining experience but he’s been racking up the victories, and this here in a competitive race, took his winning tally to three trial stakes wins in six weeks.
Greyhounds are a very consistent animal, highlighted perfectly by Gav’s 5.04 and 297.6 run here. Split and overall time from his victory a couple of weeks ago ? An idential 5.04 and 29.76. Matt Dartnall’s Distant Village again ran well in defeat, showing huge pace along the back straight, he needs to start running the fourth bend a little better than he currently is though is he is to take advantage of the fact that he will more often that not secure his preffered draw during the Derby itself.
Stuart Tighe’s Final Mad went down by half a length last week on his first look at Nottingham to Berties Blake. The experience served him well though as he landed trial stakes 5 by 1 3/4 in 29.68 from Carol Weatherall’s wide margin winner from last week Hather Regal. ‘Mad’s’ split of 5.01 is extremely noteworthy given that he was less than perfect at the traps, his potent early pace will prove a useful tool when he gets to grips with the Nottingham traps.
Last but by no means least Hove’s Richard Rees made the long trip north with his Southwood Jet. A good winner over 500m at his home venue when winning in 29.09 (fastest of the year Antigua Romeo 28.86) he made it two from two when landing a trial stakes here at Nottingham by 7 1/4 lengths a few weeks ago in 30.12 despite a troubled run.
He made it three from three here in the UK and 2/2 over the Derby course and distance. Averagely away he made full use of his rails draw, pacing up well he still left the impression that there was time to come around the first two bends. He really opened up approaching the third turn and stayed on well from there on home and stopped the clock in 29.59.
Just a reminder for entries this Friday by 11am … last set of trial stakes (21st) and last special trial session (23rd).
Entries need to be with in by 3pm on Thursday 24th
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The trial session’s here at Colwick Park are getting more and more interesting with each passing week.
Jimmy Fenwick’s superstar Ice On Fire was tacking the Derby trip of 500m for the first time post comeback. Trapping well he hit the line first time in a more than decent 501, not so many dogs are breaking the 5 second barrier this year so it was a more than fair split, appearing to move more fluently this time around that in recent weeks he really strode out well until appearing to tire, understandably, in the latter stages.
Jimmy told me immediately after the trial “I’m delighted with that, he’s moved alot straighter this week, keeping a much more balanced line throughout. It remains a work in progress but his fitness will come and I’d expect to see him coming home a fair bit stronger next week where I have him booked in for a mixed dog trial. He’ll likely line up with Dilly Dilly and another of my dogs, as yet to be confirmed”.
Ballymac Reece moved well for Stuart Tighe, improving upon last weeks 29.77 to hit the line in 29.71 despite a slight step back on his split from 498 to 500 dead.
Debbie Calvert’s Jumeriah Sprite slipped back a little on time this week but again pleased in 29.79.
John Mullin’s will be delighted with the first look around Nottingham of his Swift Lettuce. A finalist in the Monmore Puppy Derby earlier this year and a recent semi finalist in the Yarmouth Derby, he posted an excellent split of 4.98 with an overall time of 29.68. A super run and he was also fastest to halfway on my unofficial clocks this week, hitting my marker in 14.85.
Droopys Addition and Newinn Jacko both moved well in a very competitive trial from the formidable Gaskin kennel. Addition came out on top by 3/4 length in 29.80 but there was little more between the pair from trap rise all the way to the pick up.
Julie Bateson’s recent Monmore Gold Cup winner Gonzo did nothing but improve with each sighting of the Wolverhampton venue. Therefore despite running the track poorly on his first sighter last week, there was plenty of room to think that he would improve hugely over the coming weeks.
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Despite yet again leaving time around the opening turn, he was much better this week than last and took his time to a second fastest of the trial session 29.59 off the back of a superb 4.94 split. A greyhound who should receive his draw more often than not during the Derby, young, possesses huge early pace and without doubt will improve for each look currently, he possesses the profile of a greyhound that could go a long way.
Kevin Boon has a habit of unearthing unpolished gems from Ireland. It’s no coincidence that he regularly does so and in Darbys Ranger he looks to have done it again. Rangers form in Ireland is decent for a youngster, a best of 28.45 around Shelbourne’s Derby trip is a more than decent run for a young dog on just his eighth start. That victory in his last Irish start in A3 took his winning record to 4 from 8, so he’s far from a mug.
It wouldn’t be quite the profile that one would be expecting a greyhound that was to set last night’s fastest of both the trial session and trial stakes races to be carrying however that’s excatly what Darby did when stopping the clock in 29.54 off the back of a 4.96 split. He moved well throughout and at 14.86 was just 1 spot off halfway clock of 14.85 set by Swift Lettuce.
Tommys Panther for Tony Collett. ran well in 29.78 but isn’t quite reproducing his sensational pace shown at home track Central Park.
Geelo Josh (ex Laughill Josh) is an interesting recruit for Carl Perry and Nic Brereton. Josh was having his first sighter of Nottingham after recording 16.27 in a sprint trial at home venue Sheffield last week. Josh ran out a 2 length winner of his trial in 29.65 over Romeo Rumble with Antigua Billy a further 3 1/2 lengths back.
It was an excellent first look from a dog who reached the Easter Cup Final at Shelbourne earlier this year and Carl told me “Josh wasn’t really a dog on our radar, in fact we didn’t really anticipate having a runner in the Derby this year. I got a call from Pat Guilfoyle after his last run though to say that the dog would be available and that he’d give us a bit of fun in the Derby.
“We did a deal and that were we are now, it’s been a bit of a rush really and if we could go a few rounds we’d be delighted. He does seem to lack a bit of consistency and doesn’t seem the type of dog that would be running on from impossible positions to qualify but on his day and when timing his break right he without doubt has pace. Beyond the Derby I’m sure he’ll go on to win a fair few opens”
Carl also confimed the retirement of his superstar bitch Geelo Blissful telling me “We’d hoped to get her back and give her one more pop at the Derby but she’s just not quite sparkling after having a few sprint trials at Sheffield and we’ve made the tough but in many ways easy decision to call it a day. The girl owes us absolutely nothing and we’re not going to keep pushing her if it’s just not there”.
Bockos Boss who run so well when just picked up late by Gonzo in the final of the Monmore Gold Cup was trialling here at Nottingham for the first time. The 500m trip is no doubt at the upper end of his stamina limitations but he does possess wicked early and middle pace and as proven in many Derby’s over the years they are tools well worth having in your amoury. Bockos recorded 29.76 off the back of a 5.03 split and hit my unofficial halfway marker in 1489.
Lynn Cooks Plaza Lep has a knowledge of Nottingham that few dogs can match at this open race level. A winner of 17 of his 40 career races and a finalist in the 2019 Eclipse he would appear to be getting better with age and recorded arguably the best run of the night when clocking 2827 over the 480m course.